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The spirit of the old west today - Bluewater, New Mexico


If you’re wondering whatever happened to the old west towns that you see in western movies, don't worry, they're still around. You’re probably driving by them all the time on the freeway, no matter where you live in America. The one that I know of is Bluewater, New Mexico. Now, before you grab your camera and start thinking that you will see horses and wagons rolling down the street, please let me explain.

The western towns of the 1800s that you see in movies have many things in common with places like Bluewater, New Mexico today. First of all, they are far away from the big city. The old western towns were not "picturesque" - they were practical. Even though to our modern eyes, old western towns in the movies are scenic, in reality, they weren't. Don't get me wrong, they did look like that. But those dirt streets and wooden sidewalks were there just because it was practical.

The people in old western towns knew each other. They often had lots of relatives living nearby. Most problems they could resolve themselves, so they didn't have much use for "lawmen", whom they usually just saw as being just as bad as the bad guys. Without regular patrols of police, these places can be dangerous, and the people living there know how to defend themselves. The most common alarm system back in the old west was a dog, and still is today. Dogs know who should and who shouldn't be there, and they are on duty all of the time. And like the old west towns, the people of Bluewater are armed. Shotguns are the most common, but you will also find yourself up against any type of firearm if you decide to go where you shouldn't be. And in the old west, most of the men were veterans of the Civil War, even the old guys. Today they are probably Vietnam veterans. Don't mess with them.

In an old western town, people had to make do when things broke down. A piece of leather could hold together the boards on a buckboard wagon. Today, these types of repairs are ridiculed as "White Trash Repairs". People in the old west knew how to hunt, and to fish. And they knew how to prepare these animals for food. People in Bluewater, New Mexico can do this today, too.

The spirit of the old west lives on. You just have to know how to recognize it.