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True West Magazine

True West Magazine

True West relates our history back to the present day, showing readers the important role our heritage plays in keeping the spirit of the West alive during our

This rough and tumble hombre, armed with an 1843 Hall-North carbine, a dragoon-type revolver and a D-Guard bowie, looks like he could either be an argonaut on his way to the California gold fields or a Southern partisan ranger. Either way, he’s ready to take on all comers! – Courtesy Herb Peck Jr. Collection –

Always the dapper Westerner during his ranching days in the Dakota Territories, Theodore Roosevelt wears his buckskin hunting outfit, complete with his favorite 1876 Winchester and his fancy table cutlery-handled bowie. – True West Archives –

Shortly before King Edward VII gave Frederick Burnham the cross of the Distinguished Service Order, the major stood for this photograph taken after the death of Queen Victoria (notice his black armband worn in mourning). – True West Archives –

Billy’s body was taken from the Maxwell house and laid out on a bench (above) in the old carpenter shop. Candles were lit and placed around the corpse. Jesus Silva stated that “a large number of Billy’s friends” gathered at the wake.

Armed mothers, sisters and wives kept their families safe from wild animals, hostile Indians and ruthless highwaymen determined to harm their loved ones. No record of the settling of the West would be complete without the mention of the dedicated women homesteaders who stood between a successful life on the plains and anything threatening to interfere with their livelihood. – Courtesy Library of Congress –

Shown here with her six-gun on her hip, Martha “Calamity Jane” Canary found freedom to live an unconventional lifestyle when she masqueraded as a man and secured employment as a muleskinner. This hard-drinking woman found a home in Nicholas Kappes’s beer saloon in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He recalled her days frequenting the rougher saloons in nearby Green River, playing with her gun and bragging aloud, “When this dog barks, somebody drops!” – Courtesy Heritage Auctions, May 21, 2011 –

Nothing goes better with a pair of woolly chaps and a bullwhip than a six-shooter. Exhibition or trick shooters, like the sharp dressed woman in the studio photo, performed for audiences throughout the West, wowing fans by shooting aerial targets and dimes tossed in the air. Colt’s New Army and Navy double-action revolvers were a favorite for professional shooters with considerable skill. – Courtesy Denver Public Library –

Emigrant wagon trains carried “about one ‘gun’ to a wagon, those being mostly Western rifles, some few being shotguns,” an observer in 1856 Kansas noted. Since a frontier woman might be called on to help defend those around her, learning how to handle weapons was in her best interest; this pioneer, serious about her marksmanship, is testing her proficiency with a Stevens Ideal Ladies Model rifle. – Courtesy Denver Public Library –

Annie Oakley, who earned worldwide notoriety for her shootist skills while touring with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, holds a Stevens tip-up target rifle and displays three of her arena guns—a double-barreled shotgun, a Spencer slide-action shotgun and a long-barreled Stevens pistol—in this circa 1886 cabinet card. – Courtesy Heritage Auctions, December 11-12, 2012 –

As U.S. Army wife Martha Summerhayes revealed in her published memoirs, Vanished Arizona, she traveled with a derringer for protection. She didn’t mention the brand, but she quite possibly could have been carrying a Southerner (inset, right) as these spur-trigger single-shooters were produced between 1867 and 1873, one year before she traveled with her husband to his new post in Arizona Territory. – Summerhayes photo True West Archives/ Firearm photo Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company –

On the back of this 1872 albumen photo of William Wallace, a note states the hunting pouch Wallace is wearing was “taken from the Indian Chief ‘Big Foot’ from whoom [sic] he derived his name.” The photo sold for a $10,000 bid at Heritage Auctions in 2013. – Courtesy Heritage Auctions –

Y.B. Rowdy (standing) evidently lent his Medal of Honor to fellow scout 1st Sgt. Cut-Mouth Moses for this circa 1895 photo session. Rowdy was honored for his bravery in action with Apaches on March 7, 1890, while he was serving as a Company A scout during the Cherry Creek Campaign in Arizona. – Courtesy Arizona Historical Society –

Western lore records Tom Horn as a gunfighter, and he did wield a gun during Arizona’s Pleasant Valley War in 1887, but he was more accurately a hired gunman who usually shot his victims from ambush. He’s shown here, in the jail in Cheyenne, Wyoming, before his 1903 execution for the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell. – Courtesy True West Archives –

April 5 was an eventful date in the gunfighting career of John Selman, the man most known for shooting down deadly killer John Wesley Hardin in 1895. On that day in 1894, Selman killed a former Texas Ranger named Bass Outlaw. On April 5, 1896, Selman got into a dispute with Deputy U.S. Marshal George Scarborough in El Paso, Texas, went into an alley to shoot it out...and lost. The lawman was 56 when he died. – Courtesy Leon Metz Collection –

Born in 1841, John Horton Slaughter fearlessly fought in skirmishes against all kinds of enemies—Comanches, while working as a Texas Ranger; Union soldiers, as a trooper; and wicked outlaws, as sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona. He lived to the ripe age of 80. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection –

Augustine Chacon’s hanging on November 14 was a big occasion; a 14-foot adobe wall was built around the scaffold so that only those with invitations could view the execution. While walking up the steps of the scaffold (shown here), he shook the hands of admirers who would soon watch him drop to his death. – Courtesy True West Archives –

Bud Ledbetter, shown in this never-before-published photograph, gained a reputation for his gunfighting skills, especially after the deputy U.S. marshal assisted in bringing in four members of the train robbing Al Jennings Gang in 1897. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection –

The lawman’s most famous kill did not come from a gun battle. In 1881, he sneaked into Pete Maxwell’s house and shot notorious outlaw Billy the Kid to death. – True West archives –

Billy Brooks reportedly shot it out with several men in various gunfights while working as a marshal in Newton, Kansas, and causing trouble as a badman in Dodge City. But when he returned to his old position as a stage driver for Southwestern Stage in 1874, the company lost a mail contract and Brooks was out of a job. He and others came up with a plan to steal the rival company’s horses and mules to get back the contract. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection –

Daily Whipout "Mickey Free Rides Around the Glowing Crosses at Fronteras"

Daily Whipout "Mickey Free Looks For Sign In The Sky"

Tents line the beach before the Bering Sea in 1900. Worse than barren, this beach was strewn with the aftermath of the catastrophic storm that year, the last straw for many unsuccessful miners. – Courtesy Library of Congress –

By 1900, the streets of Nome were filled with throngs of people. In the photo above, you can see the Dexter saloon that Wyatt Earp owned along with Charlie Hoxie. – Courtesy Carrie M. McLain Museum collection, Nome, Alaska –