April 25, 2007
Worked late on Hugh O'Brian studies. We're going to unveil the painting at End of Trail in June and I want to make sure it's worthy of a veil. Ha. Never had that cliche experience of the veiled painting and then a hush and a gasp as a bikini-clad model steps forward and pulls off the blanket, I mean veil. May have to do an oil on this one. Kind of rusty, but the SASS head honcho, Ken Amiriasano, wants it to bring in some big bucks for HOBY, the youth group O'Brian runs.
Went through and inventoried all 25+ paintings for the End of Trail Art Show. Some good ones, including my recent Jeff Milton, and classic Wild Bill paintings, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, The Youngers, Charlie Pitts, Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo, plus Mattie Silks (shooting in her underwear).
Just got off the phone with Bob Alexander, an all around good guy and old West author. The next Classic Gunfight for the magazine is going to be the Gage Robbery and jail escape shootout at Silver City, New Mexico. Features an African-American outlaw named Kit Joy. Great name and cool photo, which Bob is sending me.
"If I were to take as fact everything I see in Westerns, (and I watch them every chance I get) I would have to assume that every male, with the exception of a few doctors and preachers, carried a side arm at all times. What would be a more likely percentage of western men folk that carried side arms?"
The main point is this: virtually anyone who travelled out West, went armed. But when they got to town, they usually put their guns away. There are exceptions to this: when Tombstone, and Dodge and Deadwood were brand new, everyone went armed because the towns were too dangerous, but as they developed, usually within a year, there were statutes demanding that citizens not go about armed.
There are examples of famous gunmen being unarmed at the oddest times. When Wyatt Earp and his brothers hear shooting on the cold night of October 28, 1880, they are running towards the gunfire and Wyatt tries to borrow a gun. He's been in a saloon and he's not heeled! Amazing.
Wyatt is not alone. There are numerous examples of dangerous men, not having guns on in saloons and other dangerous places.
Still, most dangerous men had a hideout pistol, or something to defend themselves. I would put the number of armed men in Tombstone in 1881 at under 10 percent. That is just a guess, but even at that number, in a town of 6,000 that's a lot of heat and hardware!
Well, that's just my guess. It may be too low. I'd like to hear other estimates.
"Whenever you trace the origin of a skill or practice that played a crucial role in the ascent of man, you usually reach the realm of play."
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