Authentic old west hats

Home/Authentic old west hats

Authentic cowboy hats

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!


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!



1898 Rough Rider The 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.

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 Callmost 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 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
  • Sunset Monte Movie Hat

    the Sunset Monte Movie Hat - from Monte Walsh (2003) - we make our version of the Movie Hat This 4 dent military style cowboy hat has the front of the brim slightly bent up. Shown with optional horse hair hat band.
    • Color Shown: Sahara
    • Crown: 6" inch 4 dent Military
    • Brim: 4" inch Flat with the front brim pushed up - bound edge
    • Hatband: Matching 1" Satin ribbon and bow. Shown with optional horse hair hat band #3 and wind string.
  • Colonel Rossiter

    Our Colonel Rossiter Cavalry Hat -  from the 1966 western melodrama, Alvarez Kelly. The hat ships clean and unsoiled. Inset hat is shown with optional heavy trail dust.
    • Crown: 4 1/2 inches
    • Brim: 4"
    • Color Shown: Sand
    • Crown:modified 3 pinch cavalry crease - pecan top.
    • Brim: Hand worked-Open.
    • Hatband: 1" Satin with Bow.


  • Col Yorke

    Col Yorke Cavalry Hat

    Col Yorke Cavalry Hat -  Our version of this classic hat from the horse westerns of the 40s and 50s. The Cavalry trooper was immortalized in the John Ford Cavalry Trilogy - and this is the same hat that you can see in almost every scene from those three great movies: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Fort Apache, and Rio Grande.
    • Crown: 4 1/4 inches
    • Brim: 4"
    • Color Shown: Silver Mist.
    • Crown: 4 corner "diamond" shaped crown.
    • Brim: Hand worked-Open upturn at the front.
    • Hatband: 1" Satin with Bow.
  • USMC M1902 Campaign Hat

    USMC M1902 Campaign Hat - The Few. The Proud. The Philippines. a classic old west military hat custom made by the last best west
    • Crown: 4 1/2" inches
    • Brim 3 1/2"
    • Color Shown: Pecan with optional light trail dust.
    • Crown: Modified Slouch.
    • Brim: Flat/Bent-Open.
    • Hatband: 1 1/2" Satin with1898 bow.


  • Roughrider

    1898 Roughrider A new version of the original 1898 Spanish-American War 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Hat. On our 1898 Roughrider Cavalry Hat we dropped the mesh air vent, but included the traditional military style side bow on the hat band. Order with or without the cavalry cord. Easily choose your hat options as you build your hat below. If you prefer the version without the side pinch just request it in the production notes.
    • CROWN: 4 1/4" in.
    • BRIM: 3 1/2" in.
    • Color Shown: Sahara.
    • Available in all colors
    • Crown: centre trench with side pinch.
    • Brim: hand rolled-Open.
    • Hatband: 1" Satin with 1898 bow.

  •   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
  • a classic old west holster from the last best west Charley Leather Holster and Gun Belt - The Charley Waite rig from Open Range{2003} The Charley Leather Holster is patterned after a traditional 2 loop holster from the 1880s. The Charley is a closed toe design and is shown in the movie color, antique brown. Available in all colors.



Go to Top