Legendary old west pistol fighter.
James Butler Hickok
lived a fast, violent life. A union scout/spy, frontiersman, buffalo hunter and lawman, Wild Bill was murdered just days after arriving in Deadwood, Dakota Territories in 1876. continued

Old West Hats

The Cowboy Hat defines the wearer. . . .

A 19th century cowboy prized his old west hat above all things – with good reason. It was often worth a month or two’s wages – and that made it very expensive. The cowboy likely spent hours personalizing the hat with creases to the crown and molding the brim – making it his.

An old west cowboy would go to hell and back to retrieve a misplaced cowboy hat and it was seldom further than an arm’s length away.

Old Fashion Quality
You won’t find these western hats at your nearest mall. Many of the brim shapes or crowns may look familiar – may even be the same – but they are poor imitations, cookie-cutter designs.  They are mass produced and available virtually anywhere. Don’t follow the herd – strike out on your own with a classic custom western hat from The Last Best West.

The Last Best Cowboy Hat
We start with the best fur-felt hat body available – made in the USA – and fashion as fine a hand-made western hat as you can find anywhere, for any price. Don’t believe us? Read our testimonials page.

You’ve owned the rest, now wear the best!

250_mont_ward_cat_195Old West Cowboys and their Hats

Up until the turn of the 20th Century most cowboy hats were sold in Mail Order Catalogs. In those days if the local haberdasher didn’t have the hat you wanted, he likely had a catalog to order one from. The first cowboy hats were all made from 100% beaver fur-felt, natural and undyed, and worth their weight in gold to working cowboys and all other Westerners.

The Montgomery Ward Catalog of 1872 was the first to offer a “Western Sombrero” for sale to the public. Like our open crown cowboy hat, Captain Call, most hats were shipped with uncreased crowns, and little shape to the brim. Manufacturers knew that most cowboys would personalize the hat themselves so they shipped unfinished. Remember Hoss from Bonanza and his big dang hat? That was the most authentic old west hat of any of the Bonanza cast.

Wasey handmade cowboy hat

Wasey handmade cowboy hat

200_wshart_301The Wasey
(pronounced: Way see)

Modified Sagebrush shaped crown was one of the most common of the first few decades of the 20th century.

Made famous in the early silent westerns by pioneering movie maker and star William S. Hart, Hart lived the old west and wore this crown shape with many different brim styles.

Shown here in an Undyed Natural color in 100% beaver fur-felt. As the name implies, the color is a rich mid-brown, similar to a beaver’s pelt. This crown shape traces back to old time handling dents.

The Ten Gallon Hat

Legendary slang from the old west – this is a common term for a very large cowboy hat – along the same size as our Wasey.  The idea being you could carry ten gallons of water in it for your horse. Well, the 10 gallon hat doesn’t exist – simple as that. This was a misinterpretation by Texas Cowboys  of the Spanish word, “galón” that Mexican Vaqueros used to describe the narrow, braided trimming they used to decorate the crowns of their hats. In reality the largest cowboy hat crown would barely hold one gallon of water, and any hat that would hold 10 gallons would be so large and unwieldy that it’d be un wearable – just ask Homer Simpson!

Cowboy Movie character hat

How to fashion an Old West Character hat from The Last Best West

Old West Character Hat

Now that you’ve seen our great hats we’re sure you’ll want your own Custom Hat – so what are you going to do with your old one? It’d be a pity to relegate it to the trash. Our solution is to rotate it out and make a great Character Hat.

Years ago I read a story about how Tom Mix used to crease and work all his custom hats himself in the shower. So I decided to take his advice and am more than pleased with the results.

The amount of time it takes is up to you. I had the Ellsworth fashioned in less than 5 minutes – then a further half hour fine tuning the look. The steps I went through are pretty simple. continued

Old West Cowboy Hats

A murderous moment in old west history, when Jack McCall walked up behind Wild Bill Hickok and murdered him where he sat. At Sun up on Aug 2 1876.