In the old matinee westerns, a good-looking girl with a pretty bottom would straddle the cowboy's leg, farrier-wise, and tug off his boots while he sat sipping whisky. In real life—where women and whisky were invariably more scarce than they were in the movies—that same cowboy would use a bootjack like the one pictured at the top of the page (beneath the author’s name) to get the job done.
A lot of bootjacks are fashioned out of wood. But the old beauty you see in the photo—which once lived on the Bob Meigh ranch in Moneta, Wyoming—is made of cast iron and has a murderous heft to it. I don’t know that it doubled as a doorstop, but it was certainly possible. One thing’s for sure. If he ever clobbered a man with it, the story got buried along with the corpse.