Western History & Western Lifestyle in New Mexico

Cowboys shilouette
Cowboys Western culture in New Mexico

Western Culture in New Mexico

Where "Outdoors" is a way of life


When most people think of cowboys, they usually think of Texas or Montana, but the Southwestern cowboy tradition comprises a very large part of New Mexican culture. The New Mexico cowboy attitude is rooted in the colorful history and legendary men and women that settled this frontier state during the 1800s. During that era New Mexico was home to both famous frontiersmen and outlaws including Kit Carson, a rancher, trapper, soldier and all-around outdoorsman, and the notorious Billy the Kid.

When you explore the vast open spaces, tall mountains and red rock desert of New Mexico, it’s easy to be transported to another time when ranchers and homesteaders toiled to eek out a living in this beautiful but harsh land, and buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters, outlaws and soldiers passed through on their way to the next job, crime, or war.

Today New Mexico’s western history is celebrated in food, fashion and festivals throughout New Mexico. Ranching is still a part of everyday life for many New Mexicans, and you will find plenty of modern cowboy culture on display at rodeos and state fairs statewide during the summer months. If you’re a history buff, or a fan of all things cowboy, here’s a list of sites and events not to be missed.

Western Cultural Events in New Mexico: