In recent years, TV has brought back the archetype of the cowboy in many forms – whether it’s a character who’s literally carrying a gun and wearing a cowboy hat, such as Raylan Givens in FX’s Justified, or one that has the cowboy way in their blood, like the Ewings of TNT’s re-launched Dallas. Here are five of the more notable cowboys currently appearing on the small screen, and why they’re worth tipping your hat to.
Timothy Olyphant, Justified, FX
When Raylan Givens arrived on the small screen four seasons ago, everyone sat up and took notice. Created by legendary novelist Elmore Leonard and perfectly played by Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, The Crazies), the hero of FX’s Justified is a bona fide cowboy, and not just because of his trademark Stetson. As he navigates his native eastern Kentucky, Raylan exemplifies the “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach, and has outdrawn many a man over the course of the series. In fact, it’s his quick draw that lands him back home in the first place. Yet Raylan is almost more intimidating when he’s not shooting someone, with his equally quick wit and disaffected swagger. He’s one of television’s most richly drawn characters. In a bit of trivia, Olyphant previously played another cowboy, Seth Bullock, in David Milch’s HBO series Deadwood.
Timothy Olyphant (FX)