As an American folk hero, the cowboy is a figure of stoic individualism and bravery that has cemented his place as an icon of masculinity in popular culture. He is the embodiment of freedom and self-reliance. But what is interesting about the construction of the cowboy (or the Australian outback bushman) is that he is rarely depicted with domestic possessions or a family, but is either an anti-social loner or he can be found in the company of other cowboys in the wilderness; simply put, his emotional attachments, aside from his horse, is played out with men. The cowboy and the bushman, while grounded in solid and gritty facts, were romantic creations whose virtues and ideals served to construct the idea of egalitarian and democratic nations. They were the fighters and guardians of the Anglo-Saxon settler experience, intermediaries between the hostile forces of nature and the building of an honest and a just civil society.