Cowboy Hat Expert

Longfellow at the premier of the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007

The Last Best Cowboy Hat

a cowboy hat expert

The Last Best Cowboy Hat was conceived and designed by Longfellow after a life-long love affair with cowboys, western movies and hats. Our hat line started off in 2002 with 6 authentic old west designs researched from the Glenbow Museum, Smithsonian online, and Longfellow’s own library. The Dakota, 1890s Cavalry, The Rocky Mountain Ranger, The Jolan, Augustus, and The Boss of the Town started us off, and our hat catalog has been expanding ever since.  :: Testimonials  :: Email your questions to [email protected]

We are experts on the old west, cowboys and their tools, but we don’t know everything!

About Longfellow and The Last Best West

Author, historian, hatter, leather worker, expert retail leader, IT Professional and reformed dandy, it is Longfellow’s skill and talent as a designer that first developed and set the standards for The Last Best West Cowboy Hatour custom leather products, and continues to drive development of new products at The Last Best West.

Our website is renowned for its history of the old west, hats and leather, and the place the western film has within the history of motion pictures and Pop Culture. From this perspective we believe we are producing new culturally relevant historical information, in a relatively new medium, the Internet.

We are proud to shine some light on a little known classic western movie or lengthen the shadow of an old actor. Our movie reviews sing the praises of great movies, and draw attention to an actors brilliance. Through out the website there is an ongoing narrative about the old west, and western films and how they fit in Pop Culture and history. We have always believed that this was fair use, and that any reference to a movie, or actor was to simply illustrate a point we were making.

From the history and tradition of the authentic big brimmed western hat to the modern day cowboy hats that adorn some of Rodeo’s most stellar performers, we will make you that western hat you’ve always prized. And once you have one of our fine cowboy or town hats on your head you will know why we call it, The Last Best Cowboy Hat.

The Last Best West by Longfellow


If a cowboy hat is a regular part of your attire, and you think that black jeans are dress pants, then you are going to want to read The Last Best West™ . This is the book that started our website more than 2 decades ago. Written by Longfellow it tells a powerful story of revenge and redemption.

Set in 1896 amidst the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush, The Last Best West™ tells the story of a lifelong grudge between Wasey Bruce and Poke Roberts. Their hatred travels the breadth of the North American West and sets the men on different paths for the gold fields of the Klondike River. Fate brings the men  together again in Dawson City, where millionaires are a dime a dozen and horses are as rare as a pretty woman. See at

Here’s a couple of the most common questions I get asked.

When did you first become interested in the Old West? 

When I was about five I learned that Jesse James and I share the same birthday, September 5. And something that has absolutely thrown me for a loop – according to Ancestry DNA I also share DNA with the Middle Border Marauder. How strange a coincidence is that?

From that moment on I was hooked on the Old West, and any facts I came across seemed to stick to me like stink on a skunk. When I was a teenager I learned my family’s background and how my American ancestors moved from Virginia to Sagemon County, Illinois, in 1842. After the Civil War my great-grand parents met and wed in Illinois, and years later they moved their young family to the Devils Lake area of North Dakota – where my Grandfather Cyrus was born in 1893.

During the The Last Best Years – 1896 – 1914 – immigrants were flocking into the mostly uninhabited western prairies and foothills of the Canadian West, including mine. In 1903 my great uncles, Elan and Daniel, took to horseback and rode north and west along the border and into the southern Northwest Territories of Canada. My Great-Uncle Elan was quite an adventurer: He was a Cavalry Trooper and served under Teddy Roosevelt in the 1898 Spanish-American War. When the brothers returned the family decided to relocate into western Canada, and did so in 1905 on horse back and in covered wagons. My Grandfather – who lived to be 102 – was 12 at the time, and 1905 was also the same year that the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were formed from the Northwest Territories of Canada.

When for you did the old west start and finish?

I go against the norm here – well the finish anyway: I believe the old west years started with the first Texas Long cattle drives in 1866 and went to 1908 when Butch and Sundance were killed in Bolivia. Most think the Old West ended in 1900, but it seems to me there was still a lot of “Wild” out west for decades to come. You could even argue convincingly that it lasted till May 14 1916 when George Patton engaged in perhaps the last Old West gunfight in Mexico.

Rudyard Kipling

Here’s a poem that seems to put individual trials and
tribulations into perspective.
Feeling down?

Have a read and be inspired. 

If – by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal with lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out-tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man (COWBOY!), my son!

Some of our fine dress hats

  • Big Heat Handmade Fedora

    Big Heat Handmade Fedora Hat - our take on Glenn Ford's fedora from The Big Heat. {1953} The Big Heat features great fedoras in almost every scene, and this is our take on the Dave Bannion hat.
    • Crown: 5" inches
    • Brim 2 3/4"
    • Hatband: 2" Black grosgrain ribbon and bow.
    • Crown: Fedora
    • Brim: Hand shaped snap brim, with front dip. Bound
    • Color: Granite
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown
    • Hatband not sold separately
  • Cimarron Custom Movie Hat

    Cimarron Custom Movie Hat - Our version of the Yancey Cravat hat from the 1931 best picture winner. This is a very versatile hat style. The crown is a modified tycoon with a big kettle curl and roll to the brim. Musicians seem to favor our Cimarron Custom Movie Hat, and it looks great with a good suit of clothes. Performers hat, Dress Hat, or wear it on the range and impress the critters. What more do you need in a hat!
    • Crown: 4 1/2" inches Modified Tycoon
    • Brim: 3 1/2" Kettle Curl, hand rolled
    • Color Shown: bone
    • Hatband: 1" Grosgrain ribbon and bow.
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown
    • Musician Favorite
  • Pinkerton Custom Town Hat

     Pinkerton Custom Town Hat hand made by the last best west During the Victorian Era {1837-1901} this short top hat was one of the more common hat styles worn throughout the English speaking world. We have made the Pinkerton Custom Town Hat with everything from a 3 1/4" crown (musician) to a full 6 inch top hat. If you have specific crown and brim measurements, just enter them in the PRODUCTION NOTES below, as you build your hat order. This style also looks dynamite on women, and as a STEAM PUNK hat!
    • Crown: 4" inches Texas Straight
    • Brim: 2 3/4" Hand Shaped Bound
    • Hatband: 1 1/2" satin with bow.
    • Color: Black
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown
  • The General Town Hat


    The General Town Hat - Short Crown, small brim this design goes back to the mid to late 1800s – and was a favorite hat style during the American Civil War. Striking looking hat, it looks extremely good on women.

    • CROWN HEIGHT: 3 1/2"
    • BRIM: 2 1/2
    • Hatband:1 1/2" chocolate brown satin ribbon and bow with matching bound edge.
    • Crown:Texas Straight
    • Brim:Hand Shaped Bound
    • Color shown: Sahara in 20X beaver fur felt
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown

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