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!

1898 Rough Rider

Top of San Juan Hill

Top of San Juan Hill

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, you’ll see almost as many brim and crown treatments of the same basic hat as there are soldiers.

1898 Roughriders

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!



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.

Wild Bill Hickok circa 1870 The Hickok Hand made 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

Many re-enactors rely on us to create their prized western hat, because of our attention to detail and ability to re-create historical hats from only a picture.

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 oversized hat body to make this classic western hat, with a short crown and wide brim.

Custer Handmade Cowboy Hat

James Thornbury of Canned Heat

James Thornbury

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

George Custer and Wild Bill were contemporaries, and according to history Custer thought very highly of the tall, rangy plainsmen.

Hickock 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, Dakota Territories.

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.

From: Rhyl Lewis Sent: January-13-13
To: service at thelastbestwest.com
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.

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.


Old West Leather Holster

A classic single action holster

Custom Cowboy Leather

Hand-made custom gun leather, Indian style rifle sheaths, chaps, and leather accessories that most every old west cowboy and wrangler would have needed to be a real Buckaroo.

All our Cowboy leather has been researched and designed; tried and tested  in Old West Shows and at Cowboy Action Shoots. Our holsters; belts and chaps are based on pictures from museums, archival photos and mail order catalogues from the Old West Era: The late 1800s and early decades of the 20th century.

“All the cowboys I know are afraid of only two things. . . a decent woman and being set afoot. . .” Teddy Blue Abbott: Cowboy, 1882.

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 Sagebrush 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!