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Where to Get a Taste of The Old Wild West in Texas

The stuff of legends — not to mention a symbol of lawlessness and greed — the Wild West was a hotspot for cowboys, cattle drivers and ranchers. It’s also where outlaws capitalized the uninhabited Texan wilderness, robbing stagecoaches and wagons as they ventured west to settle the territory.

PilotCourtesy The CW

A symbol of rugged individualism, bravery and survival, the Wild West has long been romanticized on television and in films. That affinity for the era lives on in The CW’s new series, “Walker Independence,” a modern cowboy drama taking place in the late 1800s.

A prequel to “Walker” — the popular “Walker, Texas Ranger” reboot — the origin story follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent Bostonian and ancestor of Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki). Situated in the burgeoning western town of Independence, Texas, Abby searches for answers following her husband’s death, forging a new life among the eclectic residents and crossing paths with roguish Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr).

As you gear up for the show, which airs Thursdays this fall, how about a firsthand taste of the American frontier?

Earning the moniker of “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, Texas, was a key staging area for the great 19th and early 20th century cattle drives, when wranglers journeyed through town on one of America’s most important cattle driving paths, the Western Trail. Whether you pay a visit to the Frontier Times Museum with its bygone artifacts or embark on a scenic drive through Hill Country, it offers a great crash course.

Wish you could eat like a cowboy? Arrange a chuck wagon dinner at Spread Oaks Ranch, near Bay City, Texas. Located within the mid-coast Central Flyway, the 5,500-acre working ranch manages prized Brangus cattle, along with an agriculture operation, amid ancient live oak mottes, river bottom wetlands and coastal prairies. If you’re more of a breakfast person, there’s always Mayan Dude Ranch, situated outside of San Antonio. The getaway offers early morning trail rides that culminate in bacon, sausage, eggs, and biscuits and gravy, cooked over a campfire by real-deal ranchers.

For another kind of adventure, consider attending a historic cattle drive at the twice-daily Fort Worth Stockyards, a corral for a Texas longhorn cattle herd. Afterward, peruse the shops at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District before sitting down for a cowboy-worthy at one of the local eateries.

PilotCourtesy The CW

Alternately, take a step back in time at the Buggy Bar Museum in Blanco, Texas, home to 200 unique buggies, carriages and wagons. Don’t forget to check out the movie studio in back. Want to dress the part? Head to nearby Herb’s Hat Shop. The family owned and operated venture features skilled hatters who not only shapes hats, but also do custom ribbon work, spot cleaning, reblocking and renovations.

Then, complete your look at one of the oldest family-run boot operations in Texas, Little’s Boot Company in San Antonio. Founded in 1915 by a traveling shoe salesman, the fourth-generation custom bootery boasts a wide array of styles and leathers that range from ostrich and crocodile to kangaroo, lizard and even elephant.

Next, hop on a horse for a true western experience at Cibolo Creek Rancho near Marfa. Nestled in the Chinati Mountains, the upscale, 30,000-acre ranch resort dates to 1857. Offering a quintessential ranch experience in the high desert, it’s a chance to join a ranch wrangler while taking in gorgeous mountain vistas, springs and trails.

Finally, catch bucking broncos in action. Since its inception in 1949, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo — an annual, tournament-style competition — has grown to become one of the largest, most prestigious single events in the city, one that’s not to be missed.

Ready to dive further into the show? A prequel to, and expansion of, the “Walker” universe, “Walker Independence” is executive produced by “Walker” star Jared Padalecki and it brims with favorites from The CW’s, Supernatural and Arrow-verse shows. A multicultural cast with a female lead, it’s not your typical “Sam Elliot” western.

Set in the late 1800s, Abby and her husband were traveling to Independence, Texas, where he accepted a job as sheriff. However, he was shot and killed in an ambush. Helped by a local indigenous tribe and Apache tracker Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), Abby arrives in town only to discover that her husband’s death may not have been an accident. In fact, she thinks the new sheriff, Tom Davidson (Greg Hovanessian), is behind the tragic event.

Walker Independence -- “Pilot” -- Image Number: WID101b_0252r -- Pictured (L-R): Greg Hovanessian as Tom Davidson and Philemon Chambers as Augustus -- Photo: Anna Kooris/The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Courtesy The CW

Filled with diverse, eclectic residents with their own troubled pasts and aspirations, the characters struggle amid the changing world, ultimately sparking change themselves. Mind you, Walker is a town where nothing is what it seems.

Don’t forget to tune-in to The CW’s new series “Walker Independence” on Thursdays at 9/8c only on The CW. Or stream it for free the next day on The CW app.