These widespread practices in the Far West demonstrate how very wild the times were
Lice full the beds
Not all beds in the American West were made of straw and hay, but most mattresses were, and sleeping on straw and hay does not appear to be a pleasant experience. That is, after all, how people used to live. Because memory foam mattresses were not available at the time like they are now, they were unaware of what they were missing. Indeed the first ‘modern’ mattresses were made from the 1900s, with springs and latex was only introduced in 1930 and was not available to everyone.
This bedding was not changed often, and the straw and hay attracted insects, resulting in an infestation with lice and other pests found on people sleeping there at the time. Lice, and other pests, especially fleas, were just one of the disturbing groups of insects. Lice can only live on bedding and are most prevalent in crowded and unsanitary living conditions. They can spread through contact with the clothing of an infected person. The lice bites caused intense itching, and the people saw small blood vessels and crusty scabs at the bite mark. This made life in the Wild West even less pleasant and hygienic.