I’ve always been curious about the contents cowboys carried in their saddlebags. In the movies, it often seemed that they held everything except a kitchen stove. Strange how those men pulled out exactly what they needed. But what did they actually tote along?
- Jerky and hardtack when unable to build a fire
- One or two Tin Plates, forks and knives
- Extra Ammunition
- A Curry Comb and Brush
- Picket Pin to stake your horse at night
- A Horseshoe and nails
- A Change of Clothes
- Other Small Personal Items—maybe a book or something to write on
- Maybe a small amount of grain or oats for your horse
A gunnysack tied to the pommel and hanging off the side would hold things like a small coffeepot and coffee, a small skillet, a jar of lard, or more of the contents listed above.
They either hung a canteen of water off the side or stuck it in the saddlebags if they had room.
Although, they were careful not to load the horse down too much or they couldn’t travel far without stopping to rest. For long distances, the cowboy usually had a packhorse along to carry all this and more. That was ideal.
In my upcoming story, TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER, Sam Legend steals a group of outlaw’s horses. When he, Sierra Hunt and Luke Weston go through their saddlebags, they find dry clothes which they sorely needed, coffee and a coffeepot. Plus, stolen loot in the amount of $650.
Later after Sam and Sierra cross the raging Brazos River, the matches, coffee and coffeepot in their saddlebags get them warm.
The contents of those traveling suitcases often saved not only the cowboy but his horse.
TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER comes out October 4 and is available for preorder online on bookstore sites. You can find an excerpt on my website. Click HERE and it’ll take you.
What do you think about life on the trail and living out of saddlebags? Could you have fit in everything you needed?