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    True West Magazine
    True West Magazine
    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!

    Adding firepower to their hard hitting, .45-70 caliber rifles (stacked in the foreground), these infantrymen secured .45 caliber Colt revolvers as they set off to face Apaches in the Southwest during the 1880s. During their frontier service, many faced an evolution of firearms that contributed to new tactics of warfare, at a time when most troops didn’t even receive basic training before they were sent to their far-flung posts. – Courtesy Glenn Swanson Collection –

    Among the officers posing at Fort Laramie’s Bachelor Officers Quarters, known as “Old Bedlam,” appears Caspar Collins (second from left, standing in front row). The aggressive infantry lieutenant lost his life on July 26, 1865, when he led 25 men against roughly 1,000 to 3,000 Indians, just outside Wyoming’s Platte Bridge. – Courtesy Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department –

    Montana’s Fort Keogh offered certain creature comforts, such as the post sutter or post exchange, where soldiers such as these infantrymen, including the 20th Infantry sergeant major (the top soldier for a regiment), could enjoy a smoke, light fare or even a beer. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    In garrison, infantrymen could take breaks from daily duties. These troops from Montana’s Fort Keogh were playing baseball, as shown by one soldier who had not changed back into his U.S. Army uniform after the game or practice. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    Officers of the 17th Infantry and their ladies lounged in front of quarters, enjoying a brief respite before the troops deployed as part of the ill-fated 1876 campaign that ended with George Custer’s defeat at Little Bighorn in Montana Territory. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    This group of 13th Infantry non-commissioned officers serving in New Mexico readied for the field as part of the final push to end the Apache Wars during the mid-1880s. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    Wearing flesh-covered tights and ostensibly divesting herself of her clothes to remove a spider, actress Lola Montez wowed San Francisco crowds in 1853 with her “Spider Dance.” She died of pneumonia in 1861.

    As the “Frenzy of Frisco,” Adah Menken (above) played a winning hand in San Francisco, California. Members of an organization called the Reform Group complained that her style “belonged more to the wild old time of the Forty-Niners, than to respectable society where many days often pass without any murders at all.”

    Reclining like the love goddess America proclaimed her to be, Adah Menken appears here in her role for John Brougham’s 1865 play, "The Child of the Sun". – True West Archives –

    Silan Lewis, a Choctaw convicted of murder, chose his executioner—childhood friend Lyman Pursely. In Wilburton, Indian Territory, on November 4, 1894, Lewis was blindfolded and kneeling on the ground, with two men holding his arms, when Sheriff Pursely fired his Winchester. The lawman missed the heart, though, and Lewis lived for three minutes as the sheriff smothered his old friend to death.

    A double “twitch-up” gallows was used to hang murderers Francis Gilbert and Merrick Rosengrants in front of a crowd of nearly 10,000 spectators in Denver, Colorado, on July 29, 1881. – Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Department –

    On June 3, 1898, James Fleming Parker became the last man hanged at the Courthouse Plaza in Prescott, Arizona. The train robber was in the Yavapai County Jail when he shot and killed Assistant District Attorney Erasmus Lee Norris during an escape attempt, a crime that sent him to the scaffold. – Courtesy Sharlot Hall Museum –

    Before Ketchum lost his head, a photographer captured the noose being placed around his neck. Ketchum holds the dubious distinction of being the only person ever put to death for the offense of “felonious assault upon a railway train” in New Mexico Territory. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection –

    The surgeon during Crook’s horse meat march, Valentine McGillycuddy (above) would run into Crazy Horse again. When Crazy Horse was stabbed at Nebraska’s Camp Robinson, the doctor cared for the chief until he died on September 5, 1877. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    Once relief trains reached the starving, exhausted troops and got them fed, photographer Stanley J. Morrow convinced soldiers to re-enact scenes of the march: fighting over the horse meat (above); butchering the horse and shooting another horse for food (next two slides). – True West Archives –

    Recalling this grueling march, Col. Andrew S. Burt remembered scout Jack Crawford (above) “gnawing at a horse’s rib fresh from the coals and glad to get the rib.” – True West Archives –

    When the food ran out after 15 days, Gen. George Crook’s troops were not only weary and starving, they had to make camp without fires to warm the chill out of their bones. Shown here are Crook’s men on the field along Whitewood Creek, in Dakota Territory, at the end of the 1876 starvation march. – Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration –

    With her standard-grade Winchester Model 1892 lever-action, repeating magazine rifle in hand, this latter-day huntress in wide-brimmed hat, middy blouse and skirt strikes a rather risqué pose for the time. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2004.045 –

    In this circa 1900-1905 cabinet card, this plainly dressed sportsman models with his hunting dog and a cartridge belt full of ammunition for his standard-grade Winchester Model 1895 lever-action, repeating magazine rifle. A John Browning design, this model utilized a box magazine in lieu of the familiar tubular magazine beneath the barrel. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2004.230.02 –

    Standing at the ready and accompanied by his rather mournful hound, this huntsman poses with a standard-grade Winchester Model 1873 lever-action, repeating sporting rifle having a case-hardened frame and an adjustable buckhorn rear sight. Two indistinguishable pocket-sized cartridge revolvers are thrust into the fellow’s belt in this circa 1880-85 tintype. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2003.034 –

    Very likely a Wild West show or vaudeville marksman, the theatrical gent in this circa 1895-1905 cabinet card evokes the latter-day frontier with his Western headgear and thigh-high boots à la Buffalo Bill Cody. He models with a .22-caliber Model 1891 Marlin lever-action repeating rifle having a special order, half-octagon barrel and special order checkered stocking with pistol grip. – Courtesy Private Collection –

    Defeated and temporarily deported from his native land, this undaunted and stern-visaged Nez Perce man poses in tribal costume and prominently holds a Colt Model 1860 Army, Richards-conversion revolver, in this circa 1880 carte de visite by H Beck of Winfield, Kansas. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2004.015.3 –

    Garbed in a fringed buckskin costume this “western” poser grasps what appears to be a percussion Sharps New Model 1863 straight-breech carbine without a patchbox. The ignition system, outmoded at the time the photograph was taken circa 1885-95, suggests that the gun most likely served as a studio prop. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2003.111 –

    This successful, buckskin-clad sport hunter proudly poses with his ursine trophy. Balanced over the subject’s arm is the weapon that no doubt brought the bear to bag—a Sharps Model 1874 sporting rifle made in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Long-cased metallic cartridges for the rifle are arrayed in a belt below the subject’s elbow in this circa 1880-85 photo. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1994.10.1744 –

    Accompanied by his attentive dogs in this circa 1865-70 tintype, this fellow is armed with a double rifle—or combination rifle-shotgun—with superposed barrels and percussion locks, a Bowie knife and what appears to be a small-cartridge deringer. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2002.113 –

    Striking a jaunty pose in this circa 1865-70 carte de visite, these lads wear leather game bags and hold half-stocked percussion sporting rifles. Rifle at left—fitted with double set triggers—appears to be a comparatively fancy specimen for a youth. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2003.196 –

    Posed with his faithful canine in this circa 1865-70 tintype, this rustic, pipe-smoking hunter conspicuously exhibits his half-stocked percussion sporting rifle—finished with rather unusual checkering at wrist and extended, handhold trigger guard strap. – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2003.268 –

    In this circa 1880-90 cabinet card, this frontier type poses with the two marque firearms that later were claimed to have “won the West.” The gent holds a Winchester Model 1873 lever-action carbine, while a Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army revolver resides in his open-topped belt holster. (The long-cased cartridges in his belt would fit neither weapon.) – Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, RC2006.038 –

    In 1884, Assistant Surgeon W.W.R. Fisher (seated next to an unknown Indian scout) left his pleasant posting at California’s Presidio of San Francisco for a more austere existence at Arizona’s Fort Apache, which, by comparison to his considerable time campaigning in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, seemed comfortable.

    The interior of a late 19th-century military medical ward, like this one at Fort Riley in Kansas in 1899, was a far cry from earlier wards that, in some instances, barely kept patients out of the elements. – Courtesy Sidney B. Brinkerhoff Collection –

    While wheeled vehicles had their place, the rough terrain found in Arizona and in many other areas of the West required ingenuity to transport the wounded. Mule back was just one means to solve this challenge. – Courtesy Library of Congress –

    Shown four years after his surrender to the Union, Robert E. Lee sits with Confederate officers at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. – Courtesy Heritage Auctions, February 21, 2006 –

    Confederate Pvt. Simeon J. Crews of Company F, 7th Texas Cavalry Regiment, poses with his cut down saber and a revolver. After the news of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender, his unit disbanded on May 27, 1865, at Wild Cat Bluff in Texas. Rebels disgruntled by losing the war are believed to have joined John Rapp and notorious gunman Ben Thompson in raiding the treasury in Austin that June. – Courtesy Library of Congress –

    Jack Stilwell is shown in his prime, above left, as a scout. The 1893 photo of Jack, above right, was taken when he was elected police judge of El Reno, Oklahoma. He likely earned his nickname “Comanche Jack” as early as 1877, while serving as court interpreter, in all cases dealing with Comanches, for Judge Isaac Parker at the Western District of Arkansas that oversaw the Indian Territory.

    When George A. Forsyth, shown here between 1861 and 1865, found himself severely wounded, he gave his only map to Jack Stilwell, who volunteered with Pierre Trudeau to fight through Indian lines to get to Fort Wallace for relief.

    Taken three years before the Battle of Beecher Island, this Civil War photograph shows Gens. Wesley Merritt, Philip Sheridan, George Crook, James William Forsyth and George Custer. – Courtesy Library of Congress –

    Jack Stilwell (at right) stands with James N. Jones, a fellow scout at Fort Sill in Indian Territory around 1874. The region was engrossed in the Red River War that would see Quanah Parker and his Comanche followers surrender at Fort Sill the following summer. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection –

    Here, Hart looks both dapper, yet ready for trouble in his frontier-era suit as he brandishes a Colt Peacemaker. Like many silver screen heroes of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Hart worked as a cowboy while growing up—he was the real deal! – True West Archives –

    The Ake-Wadsworth wagon train consisted of two buggies, seven wagons, 24 men, 16 women and seven children, along with 800 head of cattle and as many goats and sheep. – True West Archives –

    The federal deputies Judge Isaac Parker sent out to capture the lawbreakers in the 1890s included these marshals, posing in front of a land office in Perry, Oklahoma, in 1892. Bruce faced against men with similar dress and weaponry in his 1897 shoot-out. Unless you saw the badge, these marshals looked like pretty much everyone else you encountered in those days. – Courtesy Susan Swain Peters collection, Oklahoma Historical Society –

    Photographed circa 1888 with his two wives, Ethlay and Ocheheh (right), and also by himself (left), Mickey Free is dressed far more colorfully and sharply than he was when Sieber first met the scout. Free lived out his life as an Apache on the White Mountain reservation and died in 1914. – left courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection; right courtesy Marc Simmons –

    George Crook may have thought he finally beat the Apaches in 1874, but Geronimo’s guerilla war brought the commander back to Arizona in 1882. Four years later, he was relieved of his command. Then his long-time rival, Gen. Nelson Miles, got the credit for ending the Apache Wars when he exiled Geronimo and his band. – True West Archives –

    John Clum, in buckskin garb given to him by one of his Apache policemen, poses with Diablo (at left) and Eskiminzin (at right) at San Carlos in 1875. The summer before, when he had first arrived at the agency to permanently replace Agent Charles Larrabee, Clum was greeted by severed heads on the parade ground. – Courtesy Cowan’s Auctions, December 10, 2010 –

    When the bullet that murdered Wild Bill Hickok (right) struck William Massie (left) in the wrist, the riverboat captain rushed out of the saloon, screaming, “Wild Bill has shot me.” – Massie Courtesy William B. Secrest; Hickok courtesy Greg Martin Auctions, June 16, 2003 –

    The mining camp of Deadwood, Dakota Territory, as it probably looked when Hickok arrived in 1876. – Courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society –

    In April 1872, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (at right) and John Baker “Texas Jack” Omohundro (center) were the lead scouts in an Indian skirmish that earned Cody the Medal of Honor. That December, the pair began acting out their scouting adventures on the stage, in “The Scouts of the Prairie.” In September 1873, Wild Bill Hickok (at left) joined them in the renamed “Scouts of the Plains.” - Courtesy Library of Congress -

    The 30-year-old John Wallace “Captain Jack” Crawford teamed up with 31-year-old Cody in 1877 to perform “The Red Right Hand,” which dramatized Cody’s loosely based claim of getting the first scalp for George Custer, who had been killed by Indians in battle the summer before. – Courtesy Heritage Auctions, May 22, 2010 –

    This circa 1870s cabinet card of William F. Cody photographed by Napoleon Sarony reveals the 30-something actor during his theatre years. – Courtesy Heritage Auctions, June 13, 2008 –

    This only known portrait of John and Victoria Behan together was probably taken around the time of their marriage in 1869. Six years later, they divorced. – Courtesy University of Arizona Special Collections –

    The youngest son of Lone Horn, Touch The Clouds assumed the leadership of the Minneconjou Teton Lakota after his father died in 1875. Two years later, this photo was taken of him at the Spotted Tail Agency in Nebraska, after he surrendered with his people. He holds a heavy-barreled Remington Rolling Block rifle and an 1873 Colt Cavalry revolver (also check out his military garrison belt). – Courtesy Glen Swanson Collection –