The cowboy has played a central role in the historical myth of the West. In this unit students trace the growth of the cowboy from his birth in the dime novels of the mid-nineteenth century to his maturation in the hands of Buffalo Bill and John Wayne. Students will learn that 19th century cowhands were underpaid and overworked. They will also learn that there were Mexican and Canadian cowboys, African-American and Native American cowboys, and that there are people working as cowboys today. In this unit, students learn to read popular culture critically.