Cowboys have long held the imagination of Americans. The romantic image of the lone ranch hand riding herd against a sullen sky has inspired film, literature, art and music, mostly in the twentieth century.
Cowboys typically herd cattle and perform various other ranch-related tasks. A type of cowboy called a wrangler tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos.
The cowboy has deep historic roots tracing back to Spain and the earliest American settlers. Over the centuries, differences in terrain, climate and the influence of cattle-handling traditions from multiple cultures created several distinct styles of equipment, clothing and animal handling. As the ever-practical cowboy adapted to the modern world, the cowboy's equipment and techniques also adapted to some degree, though many classic traditions are still preserved today.