Americans cherish their ideas about the Old West and cowboys because those ideas are very much in line with our ideas about what is good about the United States. We feel that the Old West has made us what we are and therefore we cherish its memory.
We see the Old West as a time and place when people were independent and self-sufficient. We feel that this was a time when people were rugged and did not constantly ask for things such as help from the government. We feel that the experiences of the people in the Old West made us what we are. They made us into a country of people who do not need to lean on others. They made us into a country of people who are strong, inventive, and self-sufficient.
This is why we cherish our ideas about the Old West. We cherish those ideas because we feel that the Old West is responsible for our best traits.