Authentic old west hats

Authentic Old West Hats

The Cowboy Hat defines the wearer. . . .

Last Best West CowboyA 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!


1898 Roughrider

Our thanks to the Major and his Roughriders for the honor of making 4 custom 1898 Roughriders’ Hats for the Commander and 3 Non-Com’s of USF-1. Color: Pecan

From: Uhe, Roger C MAJ USA USF-I J-3 Convoy Ops/Rough Riders
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010
To: ‘Sonja’ Subject: Rough Rider Hat

Howdy Sonja: The hat arrived safely and is now a part of the unit. Attached is a photo of me with one of my “horses” in our motor pool. As you can tell from vehicle and me we are both old war horses. But the hat looks great! With Honor and Success! MOUNT UP!



An 1898 Rough Rider at the top of San Juan HillThe 1898 Rough Rider  
Crown: centre trench/side pinch
Brim: hand rolled – Open.
Hatband: 1″ Satin with 1898 bow. Color: Sahara in 20X Fur-felt

Teddy Roosevelt called these short 4 months in 1898 the most exciting of his life; culminating in leading his “Rough Riders” up San Juan Hill in that storied charge. If you look at any picture of the US Expeditionary Force {above}, you’ll see almost as many brim and crown treatments of the same basic hat as there are soldiers.

Over at the Old West Theater you can watch hundreds of classic TV shows and films including, Rough Riders. Staring, TOM BERENGER, SAM ELLIOTT, GARY BUSEY and more, it tells the story of Teddy Roosevelt, USV1, and the taking of San Juan Hill, in the Spanish American War of 1898.

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 Catalogues. 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 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.

Authentic Old West Hats

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.

He was the first hero of the wild west and likely the most ruthless and famous as well. Hickok was an imposing figure, a giant of a man at 6’3″, when the average man wasn’t much more than 5′ 6″ in the 1860s. And when he pulled his pistols he always shot to kill.

The prototype of the old west pistol fighter, Bill Hickok had the size, the sad eyes and the heroic exploits to make an impression on most any body. When Davis Tutt bragged he could, “Shoot a bird on the wing”, in Springfield, in 1865, Bill Hickok was quick to reply, “Did the crow have a pistol? Was he shooting back? I will be.”

There’s a number of reasons people say Hickok and Tutt fought, but what ever it was, this is about the only actual documented face off in a dusty street in Old West History. And so on July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok shot dead Davis Tutt, Jr. continued

Hickok Old West Cowboy HatThe Hickok

Crown: 3 3/4″ Texas Flat
Brim: 4 1/2″ Pencil Roll Bound
Hatband: 1 1/2″ Satin with Bow
Color: Black

Bill Hickok was larger than life and he liked his hats the same way – this is our best guess on what Wild Bill was wearing in the picture at right. We start with an over sized hat body to make this classic western hat, with a short crown and wide brim.

The brim has a thick pencil roll and a slight roll to the brim. A simple yet classic hat that has stood the test of time.

George Custer and Wild Bill were contemporaries, and according to history Custer thought very highly of the tall, rangy plainsmen. Hickok acted as scout for Custer in 1868 and it is interesting that Custer and Hickok died within a few months of each other, in 1876. Custer at the Little Big Horn, and Hickok in Deadwood.

Custer Handmade Cowboy Hat

James Thornbury of Canned Heat

The Custer

Crown: 4″ Soft Pecan
Brim: Hand shaped right center pushed up
Hatband: 1 1/2″ Satin with Bow
Color: Rust with black hatband and bound edge

Here’s a great example how any of our custom hand made hats can be put into service for any type of use. Guitar Master, James Thornbury, sporting a modified Custer hat is just one fine example.


James Thornbury (passed in 2017) is a world-class guitar player and musician. Here’s a video of James re-united and performing with legendary blues-rock band, Canned Heat.

From: Rhyl Lewis Sent: January-13-13
To: service at
Subject: Thornbury Custom Lid

Hi Sonja, We are loving James’s custom lid (Modified Custer) and wanted to send you a glimpse of its new home. Next time James will be gigging in it! Thanks for everything. Rhyl and James in Australia.


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, through out his long career. This crown shape traces back to old tyme handling dents.

We’ve modified this look by starting with an oversized hat body, and have slid an optional horse-hair hat band over the satin ribbon and bow. We have put a big hand roll on the brim, with a heavy dip front and back.


  • Thing Movie Hat

    Our take on Kurt Russell's hat from the Thing. The Thing Movie Hat - This 4 dent military style has the largest dimensions we can make. A 6 inch crown with a 5" brim. If you'd like the brim flatter on the sides, just put that request in the Production Notes box below.
    • Crown: 6 inches
    • Brim: 5"
    • Crown: 4 Dent Military
    • Color Shown: Chocolate
    • Brim: Hand Shaped -open
    • Hatband: Wrapped 3/4" distressed leather strapping/windstring
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown
  • Jeb Stuart Hat

    Jeb Stuart Hat - Based on the General's Original Hat Additional color and option information is located on tabs at the bottom of the page.
    • Crown: 4 1/2"
    • Brim: 3 1/2" inches
    • Crown: Modified Cavalry
    • Color: Sand with optional medium trail dust
    • Brim: hand shaped/right tacked to crown - bound
    • Hatband: 1 1/2" grosgrain ribbon, with 1898 Bow
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown
  • Fort Apache Cavalry Hat

    Fort Apache Cavalry Hat - Shown with optional Heavy Trail Dust We took our Rossiter crown, and put a pushed up cavalry brim on it. Added heavy trail dust, a "bullet hole" through the pinch in the crown, and a slight nick in the right side of the brim from a knife fight. A real "tricked out" character hat! You will find hats similar to this in any of the 3 classic westerns from John Ford, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, or Rio Grande.
    • Crown: 4 1/2 inches Modified  Cavalry
    • Brim 4" hand shaped with pushed up front - Open
    • Color Shown: Sand with optional Heavy Trail Dust
    • Hatband: 1" grosgrain ribbon with optional Horsehair  Hatband #1 and windstring.
    • Personalized with your name inside the crown

  •   Masterson Single Action Holster 

    Classic Cross Draw Holster - Simple, elegant and functional

    Masterson Belt if you order the Rig is 1 1/2" - to accommodate belt loops on today's britches. We made sure it fits Levi's jeans, and when worn with a sport coat or longer coat, is the perfect holster for people with the conceal & carry permit. Holster works equally well as either a cross draw or strong hand draw style. If you'd like the cut out star concho on the holster, please request it in the production notes below. 250_white_filials
  • Johnny Ringo leather holster hand made by the last best west A classic Hollywood holster and gun belt- from Tombstone. {1993} This closed toe design is made for quick draws with it's trigger guard fully exposed from the holster. We're showing our Johnny Ringo in our classic old mahogany color .  Movie rig is black.
  • Curly Bill Movie Holster - a hand made leather holster from Tombstone. {1993} COLOR SHOWN: Deadwood Brown This close toed holster is a little fancier variation of our traditional 19th century Teddy Blue Holster. The Curly Bill Movie Holster has a fancier border and the look is toughened up with 10 spots per holster. The 2 rig set that Boothe wears as Curly Bill Brocius, in Tombstone, was patterned after the rig that the historical Curly Bill wore. 2 Cartridge belts, one worn backwards and two strong hand draw holsters.   To order the complete Curly Bill Movie Rig, with 2 holsters and 2 fully looped cartridge belts, add all 3 options below where it asks, Add a Matching Belt and/or Holster? This will save you 35 dollars for the complete 2 rig set. Total will be 905.00 plus shipping. Choose your Buckle Set, Leather Color and Belt Style

  • Our Yellowstone Men's Suede Coat is a tribute to the original fur traders, trappers, and frontiersmen who opened up the Yellowstone River Basin in the 1800s

    Yellowstone Kelly or John Dutton would have been right at home in this jacket. It is both practical and stylish, with large front pockets and interesting leather accents. John Dutton of Paramount's Yellowstone Series would have no problem with this in his closet. Durable enough for the open range, yet stylish enough for that visit with your banker! Model is 5' 10" and wears a size 48 Jacket ::: He is wearing a 2XL Yellowstone Suede Coat. Shown wearing our (optional) Buck and Top Hand Cowboy Hats.
    • Lined 100% suede coat
    • Western design with whip stitch, beaded conchos, and leather accents
    • regular fit
    • Two front pockets and one inside pocket
    • Special order item
    • ships in 3-5 weeks
    • See sizing guidelines and chart in the picture gallery
  • The Tuscarora Suede coat was a style worn by Frontiersmen and Scouts in the Old West

    With a stand up collar and a raw hem this coat is a fashion reminder of an earlier time. And still a smart look today for those who favor a frontier look to their coat. Two of our designs, Crockett and Tuscarora are frock coat length, at 34 inches. Today that length of coat is referred to as a car coat. But in reality it’s cowboy length. Try boots and Jeans, a hat, shirt and tie under the Tuscarora and watch your business associates do a double take! The Tuscarora is a SLIM FIT: If you are looking for a fuller fit go up a size in this coat. Available in Men's sizes XXS to 5XL. See sizing chart in the picture gallery to the left. Model is 5' 10" and wears a size 48 Jacket ::: He is wearing an 2XL Tuscarora Suede Coat ::: Shown wearing (optional) Tom Horn hat in Camouflage and Sunset Monte Movie Hat
    • 100% Lined Suede Coat
    • SLIM fit
    • Fringed with beaded conchos and raw hem
    • 2 front pockets and one inside
    • Special order item
    • ships in 3-5 weeks
    • See sizing guidelines and chart in the picture gallery
  • Our Boone Buckskin Coat is unlined and comes in a soft suede leather

    The coat has a stand up collar, fringe and a tie and concho closure. Elegant in its simplicity, the Boone suede coat is a true frontier, mountain man look circa the Revolutionary War, and any time after. Fringe on leather clothing is a functional design feature pioneered by native Americans, hundreds of years ago. Its job is to channel off moisture, allowing the garment to dry faster. This coat is available in Men's sizes XXS to 5XL. See sizing chart in the picture gallery. Model is 5' 10" and wears a size 48 Jacket ::: He is wearing an 2XL Boone Buckskin Coat
    • Unlined 100% fringed suede coat
    • Relaxed fit
    • Special order item
    • ships in 3-5 weeks
    • See sizing guidelines and chart in the picture gallery



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