Some armchair historians like to poo-poo the Two-Gun Man as portrayed in early day Westerns. The two-gun toting movie stars included William S. Hart, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and others. The Armchair Boys claim that most gunfighters only carried one pistol as a rule and that the two-gun man is a Hollywood myth.
So it comes as somewhat of a giggle that there was perhaps a time when frontiersmen may have actually carried as many as four pistols. Check out this image of Capt. Francis Marion 'Dave' Poole (1837-1899) of Missouri.
Francis Marion Poole, better known as Captain Dave Poole died at 1:30 yesterday morning at his residence five and one half miles northeast of the city after a prolonged illness. His funeral was conducted by the Rev. E. McCreary and took place at the residence. He was a noted character in the days of the war. He early joined Quantrill's band and participated in all the stirring events which made that organization famous among its friends and notorious among its enemies. He was among the foremost in the Lawrence raid. Those that knew him said that he was a quiet man except in times when action was required. Major John Edwards in his book: "Quantrill and His Men" gives Capt. Pool a conspicuous place. At the close of the war, with many other members of the band, he settled down to peaceful pursuits. He was possessed of considerable wealth, most of which was lost by reverses while he was living in Texas.
End of obit.
The portrait shown, above, was presumably taken in Sherman, Texas, on Christmas Day 1863. It's a little ironic to me that Sherman is where Olive Oatman ended up after her ordeal in Arizona. Dave Poole went the other way, ending up in Phoenix, Arizona after the war.
"Each guerrilla carried two to four pistols. I nearly always carried two. I was small and slender and more than that number was too many for me."
"The stories about guerrillas riding with the reins of the horses between their teeth and firing with pistols in both hands is simply dime novel stuff."
"We always held our horses with one hand and the pistol with another."