My mind is really just a total blank as I start this mess today. If you have followed any of my crap you know by now I have a love of the history of our military and early western days. I read a lot of each and watch just about any thing connected to the gender. I loved the John Jakes “Centennial series” from prerevolution France to the 1920 James Town flood. While it was a work of fiction all the historical dates, events and facts were accurate to the best of my knowledge. If they had taught American History in school like that I would have done a hell of a lot better. I also read his “North and South ” books also and found them t be the same. Through my reenacting days and the gathering of over 150 books and six years of two separate Civil War magazine’s I did a lot of reading on the subject. I really bothers me when I watch a film and the weaponry is not accurate. Folks we had a 1800 Henry Rifle but no 1992 Winchesters, and no 1873 Peacemakers Colts with low slung holsters lined with cartridges. Great movies like “Ride With The Devil” get it right
In the westerns they almost always used the 1873 Colt Peacemaker and the 1894 Winchester as weapons of choice. Lately more effort is being made to insure that things are truly period. “Tombstone”, “Open Range”, “Dances With Wolves” all were excellent examples. “Missing” was also another very good example of accuracy. It’s not just the guns that distracted me, saddles were a glaring example. The saddle with the low back cantle was about a 1920 fad as western riding became popular with the eastern set. The low back allowed the “dude” to swing his leg over the saddle easier. The true western saddle had a high cantel to keep the cowboy in the seat when working cattle or climbing up steep Hill’s and such. Once again the saddles in “Open Range” and “Tombstone” were accurate as were the clothing and hats. (from previous articles you should know I know a thing or two about hats). Hats were wore to protect the head from the sun and other elements. They were usually wide brimmed and not rolled up on the sides or the front thereby destroying the shade they were meant for. Scarves were large usually around 30′ x30″ and not wore for decoration like the thin 1950 movie cowboy but for protection. It shades the neck was a dust mask, a sling, bandage or even as rolled up as a short rope. You see a lot of vests and that was true. shirts did not come with pockets, pants only had front pockets if at all. Think about it would you sit a saddle all day with junk in a back pocket? A vest became the answer, usually they were old suite vests with four pockets and maybe a inside pocket. You could carry your smokes and matches, a pencil and tally book, and what ever else you might need.
For trips on horse back you had a bedrool you could roll up a few things in. You probably had a pair of saddle bags for other personal property. For a long trip there was the pack horse for bulky supplys. On a trail drive a larger bedroll was carried in the Chuck or supplywagon. a working cowboy did’t carry a rifle on his horse because it got in the way while working with the rope. Again on a trail drive rifles were carried in the wagons and usually supplied by the owner of the herd and passed out as needed. I am not going to get into a trail drive here that is a complete article by its self.
I could set her and bitch all night about inaccuracy’s in the movies but will stop for now and save some for later.
As Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans used to sing “Happy Trails To You Until We meet Again” ramblingbob