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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 –