Martha Jane Burke (better known as "Calamity Jane") with a reata coiled and tied to her saddle. The original "la reata" was simply a very long lead rope. Over the years, common usage led to lariat becoming a synonym for Lasso. For a bit more on this topic, see Q&A 306.
Photo courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-47390