List Of Wild West Professions
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Basic Information

These are jobs available to the townsfolk and homesteaders in the Old West and The Western.

Note: Most of the links below are currently dead. Links in Red do not have pages yet, and clicking on them will make a new empty page. Links in Blue go to an actual existing page, most of which have useful material for gaming.
Profession Associated Tropes
Banker Bank Teller, Crooked Banker
Blacksmith Village Smithy
Card Sharp The Gambler
Cowherd Cattle Baron, Cowboy, Determined Homesteader, Rancher
Farmer Determined Homesteader, Determined Widow, The Pioneer, Rancher
Health Care The Barber, The Doctor, Medicine Show, Snake Oil Salesman, Undertaker
Hired Gun Bounty Hunter, The Drifter, The Gunslinger, Pinkertons Agent
Industrialist City Slicker, Crooked Banker, Railroad Baron, Remittance Man
Judge Circuit Judge, Hanging Judge
Laundry Service Chinese Launderer
Law Man, Head The Sheriff, Town Marshal, Corrupt Sheriff, US Marshal
Law Man, Deputy The Clueless Deputy, Posse
Mayor (or other town leader) Cattle Baron, Corrupt Banker, Corrupt Hick, Meek Townsman, Railroad Baron, Wasteland Elder
Menial Labor Chinese Laborer, Cowboy, Forty Niner, Meek Townsman, Railroad Laborer
Merchant Clerk, Meek Townsman, Shop Keeper, Medicine Show, Snake Oil Salesman
Messenger Pony Express Rider, Western Union Man
Military Career Army Scout, Cavalry Officer
Miner Forty Niner, Prospector
Outlaw Bandito, Claim Jumper, The Gunslinger, The Rustler
Prostitute Dance Hall Girl, Miss Kitty, Soiled Dove, Two Bit Whore, The Vamp
Railroad Chinese Laborer, Rail Baron, Railroad Brakeman, Railroad Conductor, Railroad Engineer, Railroad Laborer, Railroad Stoker
Religious Leader Preacher Man, Missionary, Nun
Saloon Worker The Bartender, Dance Hall Girl, The Gambler, Miss Kitty, The Piano Player, Saloon Owner, Soiled Dove
Self-Sufficient Determined Homesteader, Determined Homesteaders Wife, Determined Widow, Hunter Trapper, The Mountain Man, The Pioneer
Teacher Missionary, Schoolmarm
Wagon Wright (or Cart Wright)



This page has significant overlap with the Western Characters page.

Game and Story Use

  • The list largely assumes we're talking about small towns whose economy is based primarily on agriculture, a gold rush, or resupplying pioneers who travel through on their way further West. Such adventure towns are the most common locales in The Western.
  • Smaller communities would often be lacking certain jobs, and have to make do with substitutions. Also, given the fragile nature of most frontier communities, people didn't always have the opportunity to specialize as much as we do now.
    • Those are the reasons for a the "Health Care" entry that lists not only The Doctor but also The Barber — smaller towns would be lucky to have the later, and he'd yank teeth and stitch wounds. See The Barber for more information.
  • There's very few jobs for women on that list. Dance Hall Girl, Determined Homesteaders Wife, Nun, Prostitute, and Schoolmarm are the most common. A female character could also be a Saloon Owner or Cowgirl, but they might experience some sexism if the game presents the era "realistically".
    • Gaming is supposed to be fun, and Player Characters are generally supposed to be exceptional. Don't let the real-life sexism of the era prevent anyone from playing the character they want.
      • My unsolicited advice: Ask the female players at your table at the start of the campaign, and let them decide how "realistic" to make the campaign. If they want to play a pioneering feminist hero who overcomes sexism, then work that into the game. If they'd prefer to game in a historically inaccurate but generally less frustrating setting where sexism never really occurs on camera, accommodate them. A little historical inaccuracy in exchange for a more enjoyable and relaxing play experience is a trade off well worth making.
  • See also the Western Characters page for additional tropes and roles of the Old West.
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