A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos. Here’s the legendary cowboy.