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40 Obscene Practices From The American Old West That Prove Just How Wild It Really Was

Ever wondered what it was really like to be alive in the Old West? Well, you can forget clean water and soap. Say goodbye to trustworthy medical care, too. And if you’re grossed out by the idea of a communal toothbrush, tough luck. Yes, life for the folk of the American Frontier seems pretty horrendous in comparison to modern times. But if you think you know just how grim things got back in the Wild West, think again.

40. Bathroom terrors

Indoor plumbing is a relatively modern boon. So for those living in the Wild West, facilities were primitive at best – and they tended to be outdoors, too. Most had to make do with outbuildings, which were little more than huts erected over pits in the ground. For the sake of convenience, these weren’t too far from the homes. And while there were ways to try and hide the foul stench, hordes of flies would buzz around. Black widow spiders also lurked, ready to bite the unsuspecting.

39. Share and share alike

Hygiene at the dinner table was practically non-existent back in the Wild West frontier days. Everyone who sat down for a meal shared the same cups, crockery and cutlery. And it seems they didn’t bother washing the utensils between users, either – a habit that likely helped to spread disease. Yuck.

38. Brush your teeth, anyone?

As you may well have guessed, dental health wasn’t a top priority for pioneers and rootin’ tootin’ cowboys out west. But for those who wanted to freshen up their mouths, there apparently were facilities available. Get ready to grimace: in some public spaces, you could get your hands on a communal toothbrush to use. We’ll say no more.

37. Bugs with your beer

Folks in the Wild West enjoyed nothing more than a foaming glass of ale in their local saloon. And what tends to happen after you’ve taken a refreshing swig? Foam mustache, of course! Don’t worry: the Old West had a clever but somewhat disgusting solution. At the bar, you’d find a towel on which everyone could dry their chops. Gross, right?