The Old West is on its last breath. Let's face it, neither the western nor the cowboy are really in style of late. True there was a time when John Wayne ruled the big screen and Gunsmoke ruled television, but those days have been over for a long, long time.
It's kind of sad, really. With the sunset of the cowboy and all things fastened to him also comes nightfall on all the other trappings of the Old West, and for us the real tragedy is the disappearance of the saloon.
The birth of the western saloon actually happened in 1832 when the U.S. Congress passed the Pioneer Inn and Tavern Law, which allowed establishments to serve alcohol without having the customer lease a room for the night.
From that act, the saloon followed settlers and pioneers (or perhaps preceded them) across the continent.
In every town, in every village and settlement, a saloon -- or many saloons -- were found quenching the thirst of the miners, the cowboys and the trappers.
They are an important and colorful part of our history, so you better get to one before they're all gone!
The five saloons below are the real deal. They were opened when the West was wild and they're still serving drinks just like they did in the 19th century. Summer presents a great time to explore this nation, why not get back to its roots?