According to the new Seth MacFarlane film, there are a million ways to die in the West. While that may be true, we think only 10 of these ways were really worth worrying about and present them now with accompanying movie clips to really help the message hit home. The old West was very dangerous indeed. Be careful, time travelers!
These days, people get hit by cars. Back in the old West they got trampled by horses or huge groups of frightened cattle. We imagine that getting squished by a hundred muddy hoofs rates pretty low on the list of "fun ways to meet your maker." But we haven't actually tried it, either.
Frontier justice was a cruel activity, which often found accused criminals handling at the end of a rope. More often than not, it wasn't one of those nice and gentle neck-snap jobs, either. On the plus side, public hangings provided entertainment for the whole family.
Botched Medical Procedures
With the obvious exception of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, most old West doctors had a pretty rough time keeping people from dying. The medical sciences had a long way to go before doctors could save people from regular ailments we laugh at today. The survival rate for elective cosmetic surgery was particularly shameful.
Most buildings of this era were made of wood. Many of them lacked central heat and therefor relied on fireplaces for warmth. This is a bad combination. Even if you managed to avoid all these other old-West dangers, you still faced a high chance of dying late at night while sleeping in the comfort of your bed. But at least you get to go out in a blaze of glory. Or a blaze at least.
As you can probably guess, life in the old West was not awesome. Along with the casual dangers already listed, people lacked all kinds of great things we take for granted today. There was no Flappy Bird, no Game of Thrones, no Taco Bell breakfast menu. As a result, many decided to take their own life and just hope to get reborn in a time where the Wal-Marts stay open 24 hours a day.
Eating Food/Drinking Water
It just wasn't a good idea. Of course, you have to do a good amount of both to stay alive, but doing so would also likely send you to an early grave. It was a deeply frustrating conundrum for everyone.
Snake bites can still kill you, but it's far less common than our fears would have us believe. Back in the old West, things were different. Closer proximity to Mother Nature, lack of speedy transportation, and a general dearth of doctors who weren't extremely drunk made snakes a true enemy to mankind.
Recreation in the old West was no laughing matter. A friendly game of cards could turn into a full-fledged shoot out with the mere hint of cheating. And thanks to all the whiskey going down at those saloons, basically anything could be interpreted as a sign of cheating. Stick with solitaire.
You've seen the movies. People in the old West carried around guns about as much as we do our iPhones. And they relied on them about as much, too. No argument was started that couldn't be ended with a duel in the street, if you were even lucky enough to get such warning.
Messing with Clint Eastwood
Without a doubt, the number one way to lose your life in the old West was to mess with Clint Eastwood. Not the Marty McFly version, either, but the real deal. He may seem like a good guy in his movies, but if you happened to run into him there's a very high statistical probability that his presence automatically makes you a bad guy in his eyes. And that is not a safe thing to be.
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