->''"I worked forty years as a fireman, boy / On the Pennsylvania line / And I ended up / just a derelict / Drinkin' Boone's Farm apple wine / Oh where can a bum find bed and board? / When you gonna make it stop rainin' lord?"''
-->-- '''Music/WarrenZevon''', '''"Stop Rainin' Lord"'''

Hobos are either homeless people viewed through an industrial-strength NostalgiaFilter or living Americana: [[TheDrifter freewheeling folks]], usually men, who for any number of reasons live a [[PerpetualPoverty wealth-free life]], stowing away on freight trains and [[WalkingTheEarth moving from town to town]] looking for campfires and a good can of beans. TheGreatDepression [[TheThemeParkVersion Theme Park]] isn't complete without these boxcar barons.

Having been everywhere, seen everything and met everyone, hobos are full of tall tales and song not to mention sage advice. Some may claim to have been men of status (i.e., mayors or heavyweight champs) brought low by dumb luck, while others willfully renounced the stationary life. Both varieties of hobo will recount his story in detail, if you have the time.

These regents of the rails are never far from train tracks and almost always carry {{Bindle Stick}}s. Their natural habitats are moving boxcars and campfire circles, though ramshackle hobo metropolises do occur. Any gathering of five or more hobos will feature a hobo gentleman, identified by ragged top hat, cane and swagger.

Unlike street persons or the colloquial bum, hobos prefer rural settings, rarely panhandle, and generally conduct their affairs with some sense of dignity and etiquette. Newcomers to hoboism are often adopted by old timers and taught to observe some variety of "The Hobo's Code". When and how a hobo receives his nickname is unclear, but every hobo has one it's usually "Boxcar" something.

Hobos are allergic to hard work, unless promised beans or alcohol, and are magnetically attracted to pies cooling on the window sill ([[FollowYourNose whose aroma may cause spontaneous levitation]]). Kindly old women and farmers' daughters are friends of the hobo; police officers, bulldogs and employees of the railway ("railroad bulls") are natural hobo predators.

Bonus points are awarded whenever a hobo plays the harmonica.

'''Note:''' This applies only to hobos ''as a trope''. RealLife hobos allegedly prefer to think of themselves as homeless travelers subsisting on odd jobs, whereas ''[[TheTramp tramps]]'' travel without seeking work and ''bums'' do neither. We've yet to verify this with one of their rank, and note that calling a tramp or bum ''hobo'' elicits the same nonverbal response as calling him ''Gargamel''. (Unless his name is Gargamel.)


* ''ComicStrip/KingsInDisguise'' was serialized for years in ''[[Creator/DarkHorseComics Dark Horse Presents]]'' and later published in book form. It's a grim look at the desperate lives of hobos during the Great Depression, and deconstructs the carefree popular image of the hobo.
* In UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, Creator/MarvelComics (then called Timely Comics, among other name changes) had a character variously called the Fighting Hobo or the Vagabond, who was a comical hobo who fought crime. These days it's panned as [[ValuesDissonance politically incorrect]] for glossing over the hardships of real hobos' lives.
* In ''ComicBook/TheGoon'' Hobos appear as cannibalistic cavemen/jungle savages who have their own language. Their leader, the Hobo King may be a caricature of Woody Guthrie.

* The ''TroperWorks/WALLEForumRoleplay'' has several instances of this with the Undersite people, who escaped from a society that was no longer to their taste and withdrew in the sewer. Subverted by [[PerpetualPoverty Dr.]] [[SocietyIsToBlame Grifton]], who despite living in the sewer with them you'd not call a hobo at all.
** Bonus points for one of them, Hobey, who was actually a [[SocietyIsToBlame beggar]] before he joined the Undersite.

* The heroes in ''Film/OBrotherWhereArtThou'' are not hobos, but they briefly encounter some while attempting to sneak aboard a moving train. They still steal pies, though.
** They ''pay'' for the pies by replacing the pie with money held down with a rock.
* The film ''Film/EmperorOfTheNorth'', set in the 1930s, depicts the brutal battle between a sadistic train conductor and a legendary hobo nicknamed A#1. (A rare example of a realistic depiction of the hobo life in a Hollywood production.)
* In ''Film/MeetJohnDoe'', a reporter fabricates a letter from a [[TheEveryman John Doe]] who says he will kill himself on Christmas to protest the state of the country. When the story draws sympathy from the readership, she hires a former baseball player hobo to portray this fictional person in public.
* In the closing section of ''Film/PulpFiction'', Jules declares his intention to quit his job as a hitman, leave UsefulNotes/LosAngeles and "[[WalkingTheEarth walk the earth]]" in the style of Caine from ''Series/KungFu''. His partner, Vincent, responds that he would be nothing more than a bum. [[spoiler: Better a live bum than getting shot up in the toilet.]]
* The protagonist of ''Film/HoboWithAShotgun'' is a hobo who becomes a vigilante. With a shotgun.
* ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure'' - Pee-Wee encounters a friendly hobo when he hops a freight train, but the hobo's delight in singing old songs finally becomes too much for him.
* ''[[http://www.billdaniel.net/projects/who-is-bozo-texino Who Is Bozo Texino?]]'' documents filmmaker Bill Daniel's 16-year quest for the most famous boxcar artist in history.
* Any of Creator/CharlieChaplin's Little Tramp films.
* While hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in ''Film/{{Wild}}'', Strayed runs into a reporter from the Hobo Times who assumes that she is a hobo and starts interviewing her. She insists that she isn't a hobo, but has to admit that she doesn't actually have a job or a place to live.
* Music/WoodyGuthrie meets many during his travels in ''Film/BoundForGlory'', at one point riding in a railroad boxcar full of them. A hobo brawl ensues.
* ''Film/WildBoysOfTheRoad'': Lacking any better options, Eddie and Tommy start riding the rails, looking for work. It is a bad, bad life, nowhere near as romantic as it is often portrayed in other works. Hunger and fear plague the children as they travel across America. One child is sickened on the train by eating rotten food. Another is raped.
* ''Film/HeroesForSale'': Tom and Roger become hobos and are treated horribly even though they are WWI veterans.

* The novel ''Literature/SixthColumn'' (also titled ''The Day After Tomorrow'') by Creator/RobertAHeinlein includes a hobo character. The hobo used to be a graduate student who decided to research the hobo lifestyle. He discovered he liked it and gave up being a student to be a hobo. He also points out to the protagonist that hobos are not tramps or bums, and in fact lays out an entire social taxonomy of American transients, with bindlestiffs at the bottom and true hobos at the top.
** Old blind Rhysling, the Singer of the Spaceways in Heinlein's ''Literature/TheGreenHillsOfEarth'' is a kind of hobo. He's an unusual example, as he's built up something of a reputation as a wandering poet and is well-regarded by pretty much everyone.
* George and Lennie from ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen'', a novel by former hobo John Steinbeck.
** Spoofed by Creator/TexAvery as hobo bears George and Junior.
* The climax of ''Literature/{{Fahrenheit 451}}'' has [[spoiler:literary hobos]] after Montag [[spoiler:escapes the Mechanical Hound by jumping in a river]]. It is later revealed that these are all [[spoiler:former English professors and stuff; they're keeping the books in their heads until contemporary society crumbles]].
* In John Hodgman's ''Literature/TheAreasOfMyExpertise'', he gives a detailed history of the Hobo Conspiracy, including how a hobo (Hobo Joe Junkpan) once became Secretary of the Treasury and then gives 700 Hobo names (and 100 more in the paperback version). He does, however, make a point of distinguishing between normal homeless people and hobos (it's a lifestyle choice).
* In his ''Literature/CitiesInFlight'' tetralogy, Creator/JamesBlish has the character Mayor Amalfi liken the titular cities to the migrants of the United States, saying that most cities are hobos, migrant workers, but some are tramps, basically petty criminals, and a few are the lowest sort: bindlestiffs, migrants who live by robbing other migrants.
* The main character of ''Literature/TheJungle'' becomes one by the end of the book, leading a happy life free of corrupting capitalism. Sinclair was known to bemoan the fact that people missed that this was the point of the book, not the meat factories.
* In the short story "The Haunted Trailer" by Robert Arthur, the narrator finds his trailer haunted by the ghosts of three hobos.

* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': Miss Brooks deals with hobos in the episodes "Hobo Jungle" and "Miss Brooks Writes About a Hobo".
* The Second Doctor from ''Series/DoctorWho'' was basically a [[RecycledINSPACE Space Hobo]].
* It seems to be a running gag in ''Series/ICarly'' where hobos are found or mentioned as a joke. In "iEnrage Gibby", Carly even has a "hobo party" where everyone dresses up a hobo!
** Hobos were present in pretty much ''all'' of his works, too. He actually offered [[http://danwarp.blogspot.com/2002/09/hobo-definition.html a definition for the term and how it's different than just 'homeless']] in a blog post. Not that it helped; multiple complaints forced iCarly [[http://www.epath.org/path-in-the-news/victory-icarly-wont-make-fun-of-hobos-anymore to stop with the hobo jokes]] in 2011.
* Dave Attell encountered one on his show ''Series/InsomniacWithDaveAttell''. After referring to him as a hobo, the man corrected him: "I'm a tramp."
* [[Series/MadMen Don Draper]] had a life-changing encounter with a hobo, as he [[{{Flashback}} remembers]] in the episode: "The Hobo Code."

* "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is a humorous folk song describing a fictional hobo paradise. Bowdlerized versions have been found on compilations of music for little kids; on the other end of the stick, probably in protest to the romanticizing of the hobo life, it has also been covered by the likes of Tom Waits, whose version is without accompaniment and consists of him slurring, screaming, and sobbing the lyrics even more drunkenly than usual. The original version, written by Harry [=McClintock=] in 1898, ends on this deeply cynical and very much non-kid-friendly note:
-->The punk rolled up his big blue eyes\\
And said to the jocker, "Sandy,\\
I've hiked and hiked and wandered, too,\\
But I ain't seen any candy.\\
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore\\
And I'll be damned if I hike any more\\
To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore\\
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."
** "The Appleknocker's Lament", in a similar vein as the above, is about a boy taken in by the "big rock candy mountains" promises of a jocker, who proceeded to abuse and molest him during their six long months of traveling together.
* Music/TomWaits himself has written "Bottom of the World" from ''Music/OrphansBrawlersBawlersAndBastards'', a song about hobo life in Australia.
* Music/CaptainBeefheart's song "Orange Claw Hammer" is told from the perspective of a delirious old sailor who is "on the bum where the hobos run". Also note the song "Hobo Chang Ba", from the same album: Music/TroutMaskReplica.
* "Hobo Jungle" by Music/TheBand is a song about the death of an old hobo.
* "Waltzing Mathilda" is the Australian version. It comes from a wave of German immigrants who brought with them some of their habits, such as nicknaming their awesome GreatCoat Mathilda. A German swagman would refer to himself as "Auf der waltz mit mein Mathilda" (on the walk with my Mathilda), with all his belongings (swag) wrapped up in his coat.
* "The Ghost of [[Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath Tom Joad]]", by Music/BruceSpringsteen, is a hymn to the hobo life.

* Steve the Tramp was one of the early villains in ''ComicStrip/DickTracy''.

* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' allows player characters to choose "hobo" as an occupation.
* ''TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated'' basically has you playing [[FrankensteinsMonster Frankensteinian]] hobos, whose [[BlessedWithSuck inherent attributes]] keep them on the move and outcast from society until they [[BecomeARealBoy become human]].

* The stage show/podcast ''Podcast/TheThrillingAdventureHour'' has a series called "Down in Moonshine Holler", which is about a millionaire who abandons his riches in pursuit of his beloved Hobo Princess.
* ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot'': the two main characters waiting for Godot are described as tramps.
* The late stage comedian Creator/RedSkelton had the persona named Freddie The Freeloader, an unshaven, unwashed vagrant dressed in patches who survives purely on mooching, scrounging and charity. This character is modeled closely after Emmett Kelly's "Weary Willie" persona.

* The ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' game ''VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness'' featured an entire area called Hobo Alley. Of course, the portrayal of hobos was not exactly of the "Walking Americana" variety.
* Likewise, near the end of the video game ''VideoGame/{{Fahrenheit}}'' reveals that all the hobos the player has seen throughout the town are [[spoiler: actually a secret group devoted to protecting the world.]]
* The homeless are... interesting in ''Videogame/{{Yakuza}}''. They seem to be considered relatively noble, with a tight-knit community and [[spoiler: pretty much act as a secret army for the information dealer Kage the Florist.]]
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' actually has various hobos as enemies, most notably in the BonusDungeon "Hobopolis", and in a ShoutOut to ''Literature/TheAreasOfMyExpertise'' their leader is named "Hodgman The Hoboverlord" and they received permission to use some of the hobo names.
* In ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', most of the people you see in New York are hobos. You even find some that live underground.
* In the web-game ''VideoGame/HoboWars'', the entire point is to be a hobo.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Stacking}}'', Levi the Hobo helps the main character Charlie and paints murals of his escapades, [[spoiler:arriving in the endgame with "Hobo Team Bravo" as part of a BigDamnHeroes moment]]. There's also the DLC "The Lost Hobo King", in which Charlie helps Levi's uncle become said Hobo King.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Sonny}}'', you encounter two of these in succession on an old train that your party hijacks to escape a mountain village. The first one's a zombie, while the second is an actual human hobo. The second fight is handled in a slightly Anvilicious way, where [[WhatTheHellHero one of your party members calls you out after realizing on the second party turn that your foe's not a zombie]] (the anitheroic player character's response about not wanting to part with money not helping his case), in addition to the hobo having reduced max HP in comparison to the first and status ailments whose descriptions reflect the many negatives of hobo life inflicted upon him as the battle wears on.
* ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland}}'' features a number of Hobos at the Rail Nomads' Camp - most notably, the Hobo Oracle, who grants cryptic visions in exchange for hooch.
** The sequel, ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland 2}}'' also features them, in the same location. One can even join the party - Scotchmo, a particularly greasy old man who nonetheless holds the Hobo Code of Ethics very close to his heart.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'', Cave Johnson once had to use such hobos as test subjects. One of his jokes about them is:
-->Caroline, what do these people buy? Tattered hats? Beard dirt?
** In the DLC ''Perpetual Testing Initiative'', though, there is an universe where Cave Johnson ''is'' such a hobo.

* ''WebComic/LaughOutLoudCats'': Hobos [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meet]] WebOriginal/LOLCats.
* In the webcomic ''Webcomic/{{Guttersnipe}}'', set in a [[TheThemeParkVersion Theme Park Version]] ''of'' a Theme Park Version of the Great Depression, hobos have become so numerous that they have taken over the entire center third of the nation, succeeding to become a sovereign nation called 'Hobotopia.' Hobos are depicted as a roaming barbarian tribe, armed with spears and wearing nothing but loin cloths and the obligatory battered top hats.
* ''Webcomic/HijinksEnsue'' features Boxcar Pete, a hobo who for some strange reason wears a monocle and [[TalkLikeAPirate talks like a pirate]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3645 Squidley gets dropped into such a life.]]

* The antagonist of the [[Creator/VanBeurenStudios Rainbow Parade cartoon]] "Scottie Finds A Home" is a vagrant who heckles the kittens grandma for free food in her own home.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' have occasionally run into some hobos. Every third episode had a hobo joke for a while (some particularly cruel), mostly thanks to John Swartzwelder, a prolific writer and Creator/PrestonSturges fanatic.
** In "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" (1992), we learn that Homer's brother Herb went from Detroit bigshot to hobo after trusting Homer to design a new car. In the DVD commentary of the episode creator Matt Groening said "John Swartzwelder '''loves''' hobos!"
** In ""Homer Bad Man" (1994), the family's babysitter choices have been narrowed down between a grad student and a "scary-looking hobo". Bart hopes for the hobo.
** In "The Homer They Fall" (1996), Homer competes in Springfield's hobo boxing circuit, fighting Switchyard Sam and Boxcar Ira on his road to the title bout. As his trainer, Moe warns Homer that his opponents are "hungry fighters" in that they're only fighting to get a meal.
** In "Kill the Alligator and Run" (2000), Bart asks if their Everglades tour guide has any hobo chunks to throw to the alligators.
** In "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" (2000), Nelson claims that Springfield Elementary science classes are dissecting frozen hobos. And he's got the [[BindleStick bindles]] to prove it.
** In a SomethingCompletelyDifferent episode, "Simpsons Tall Tales" (2001), a hobo explains that there are two kinds of hobos, stabbing and singing, and calls non-hobos ''no-bos''. He works on a strict pricing plan: one story, one spongebath.
--->'''Hobo:''' (''singing'') Nothing beats the hobo life... stabbing folks with my hobo knife!
** Marge once asked when they became the bottom rung of society and Homer tells her "I think it was when that cold snap [[ThrowawayCountry killed off all the hobos]]."
** A Halloween episode where Homer becomes Death has Lisa demonstrating his job to her class on a hobo they brought in with the promise of a meal.
** One episode has Grandpa traveling the countryside with Bart. He points out the various hobo codes left on fences. The first means "Good food", the second means "Sexy farmer's daughter", and the third means "Mass hobo grave in backyard".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has hobos... [[RecycledINSPACE in space!]] Bender meets a reclusive chef Helmut Spargle who lives in a space hobo metropolis. Using only leftovers and garbage, Spargle can bake a pie with hobo-levitating aromatic properties (because they have jet packs somehow).
** The hobos actually refer to Bender as a robo, a Robot Hobo; at first he's offended, because he thought they said "[[HoYay romo]]".
* In the "King of the Hobos" episode of Creator/HannaBarbera's series of ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleRascals'', Porky ran away and met an old hobo who called himself Boxcar Bill.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' mentions hobos, as well... as an urban legend on par with the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot.
** One episode has Dib receiving advice from a friendly hobo. Immediately after their conversation [[MoodWhiplash the hobo abducts a screaming passerby and runs off.]]
* The eponymous Baggy Pants in the obscure [=DePatie-Freleng=] series ''WesternAnimation/BaggyPantsAndTheNitwits'' is explicitly described in the theme as "the hobo everyone knows." It may be because he's a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of Creator/CharlieChaplin.
* The Creator/TexAvery characters George and Junior were often depicted as hobos (no surprise, since they are based on Lenny and George from ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen''). Their first cartoon was even titled "Henpecked Hoboes".
* In the early ''[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Merrie Melodies]]'' short "Hobo Gadget Band", a TrashCanBand of hobos enter a singing contest and win a big recording contract. They reject it for a life on the tracks.
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny deals with two hungry hobos based on [[Series/TheHoneymooners Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton]] in the cartoon "Half-Fare Hare".
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Korra encounters the strangely cheery hobo Gommu, who politely asks for one of her speared fish and gives her the first revelation that Republic City isn't all the shine and splendor she thought it was. [[spoiler:Gommu later takes the Krew in for sanctuary during the late stages of the Equalist uprising as guests in the underground shantytown that he and other vagrants (bender and nonbender alike) had set up.]]
* Lumpy Space Princess from ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' did a stint as one of these after she [[TheRunaway ran away from home]].
--> "[[ValleyGirl I'm doing so awesome on my own]], like right now, I found this can of beans."
* ''WesternAnimation/EveryChild'': The DoorstopBaby is eventually taken in by a pair of hobos after all the middle-class people of the neighborhood manage to find excuses not to take care of the child.

* RealLife: Several famous Americans were hobos in their youth, including actors Creator/ClarkGable and Creator/RobertMitchum, writers Creator/JohnSteinbeck and Eugene O'Neill, folk singer Music/WoodyGuthrie, and heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey.
** Though closely connected to the American railways, a looser definition of hoboism requires only: transience, moochery, troubles with local authorities, and a habit of spontaneous narration. As such, hobos have a whole canon of nicknamed saints to inspire them, including "Creator/{{Confucius}}" K'ung-fu-tzu, Siddhārtha "The Buddha" Gautama, UsefulNotes/{{Jesus Christ}} "The Christ" of Nazareth, Paul "The Apostle" of Tarsus, etc.
** Jesus especially was well-known to the hobos, since appealing to religion was a common way to get vittles. He was nicknamed Jerusalem Slim and Nazareth Blacky, as explained [[http://www.dictionaryofchristianese.com/jerusalem-slim-streets-slang/ here.]]
** The singer/historian/activist U. Utah Phillips was long famous in both American left-wing and folk-music circles for preserving the lore and history of hobos and their ethic.