The Code of the West
The Code of the West, like the Pirates Code, was really more of guideline. It wasn't written down anywhere, and it really only applied to the people who understood it, and lived by it. It was accepted behavior among men, similar to the chivalry codes of old England. And like those codes, it only applied to men of honor. But unlike the Knights of Old, honor was something that a man gave himself in the west, and it was all about how he behaved towards other men, towards women, towards children, and even animals.
In the old west, there are a lot of bad guys. And it's still true today - Arizona's prisons are bulging with these people. But, in the old west the vast majority of men were honest and upstanding. They don't need to have the sheriff tell them what to do. They have a code that they lived by. And that's the code of the west. And all of this is just as true today as it was 150 years ago.
Men who live by the code of the west are gentlemen. They may be rough and tumble, they may not have taken a bath for months, but they would never harm a woman, or a child. And they would never be cruel to a horse, or a dog.
Men who live by the code of the west stay away from men who don't. You will see this a lot in old movies. The good guy (who lives by the code) will not have a glass of whiskey with the bad guy. He will turn his back to him.
Men who live by the code of the west recognize each other. We may not tip our hats as we go walking by with our *spurs a'jangling*, but we know who we are.
Posted by Brad Hall