What The Canadian Mounties' Duties Used To Include

Cartoon character Dudley Do-Right, a hard-working Canadian Mountie, who battles the dastardly Snidely Whiplash, portrayed the iconic police force with their scarlet serge jackets and wide-brimmed Stetsons on TV in the '60s and early '70s. The real Mounties, though, face slightly bigger challenges than rescuing damsels in distress as they try to embrace their motto "Maintiens le Droit" or "Uphold the Right."

Started in 1873 as a police force protecting Canadian citizens in the northwestern territories, the Mounties, today known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), now number more than 28,000, according to Tourism Regina

While the organization will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023, their job has changed over the years. The first force — about 275 members — was called the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), according to the RCMP website. They were sent west originally to watch over whiskey traders in southern Alberta, establish peaceful relationships with Native American tribes, patrol headquarters at Fort Edmonton and Fort Pelly, and later police the Klondike Gold Rush as hoards of prospectors came seeking their fortunes. "Strict enforcement of regulations prevented many deaths due to starvation and exposure by unprepared prospectors," according to The Canadian Encyclopedia.

A change of job responsibilities and a musical ride

The Canadian Mounties became responsible for western Canada's federal security in 1918 and then eastern Canada's in 1920 — when they also became the RCMP. By then, they oversaw security and intelligence as well as prevented narcotics laws from being broken.

The law enforcement group also fought illegal alcohol distribution during Prohibition in the U.S. About two-thirds of whiskey made in Canada traveled to the United States by the ban's pinnacle in 1924 — worth almost $40 million, according to Glass with a Twist

After World War II, their job title expanded to include other areas such as Newfoundland. By the '70s, the organization changed again, and the Mounties added drug enforcement, airport security, and overseeing VIP safety to their responsibilities. Women were allowed to become Mounties in 1974.

Their first mission for the United Nations happened in 1989 when about 100 RCMP helped monitor Namibia's elections. Today, the force does more than local work; they fight organized crime, terrorism, and drugs as well as protect Canada's national borders.

The group even offers entertainment though the RCMP Musical Ride when 32 members perform cavalry drills to music from May to October. Watch one from 2019 on YouTube or see more information on future shows