GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER

Of all the Old West characters Wyatt Earp is probably the most controversial.  There are those who think he was the Old West’s greatest lawman, and others who say he was a con man.

Not far behind him is George Armstrong Custer.  There are those who feel he was a great military tactician, and others who believe he was a publicity hound.

 Tonight the PBS history series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will be airing a two hour special on Custer as a part of their month-long “Wild West” collection.  You can catch it at 8/7 C on PBS

BILLY THE KID PHOTO

Last week I commented on the Billy the Kid PBS special and how the famous picture of Billy the Kid kept appearing on the screen over and over.

That’s because there are only two authentic photographs of Billy the Kid presently in existence.  The most famous one is a two-by-three-inch ferrotype or tintype, taken by an unknown itinerant photographer outside Beaver Smith’s Saloon in Old Fort Sumner, around 1880…Because it portrays Billy as a very unattractive person, many have called it his visa picture.

Originally people didn’t realize that since it was a tintype, the image was actually reversed.  So, everyone though Billy the Kid was left handed. This misconception even inspired the 1958 movie “The Left Handed Gun,” starring Paul Newman as Billy. 

Finally firearms experts looked at the Kid’s Winchester and noticed its spring plate, where the cartridges are loaded, was on the left side.  But Winchester produced firearms with spring plates only on the right side.  So, later books and publications have the reversed image reversed, so it’s correct.

Recently this picture went on the auction block and a retired Wichita industrialist who collects everything from Wild West memorabilia to Picassos bought it for $2 million…Incidentally, it was thought it would go for about $300,000.

BILL BARWICK

We’re in Denver for the weekend attending the WESA apparel show…Looking for new lines for our Dog Jake on-line western store.

Saturday night Bill Barwick, the cowboy singer who’s going to be entertaining us on our Following the Legends Cruise to Alaska, was performing at the Buckhorn Saloon.  We were able to run over there and listen to a couple of sets.  He sure is a great singer and entertainer.

 To hear Bill go to http://www.billbarwick.com/sgs.php

BILLY THE KID TV SHOW

Saw the Billy the Kid TV show.  If you didn’t you missed a great biography.  That Billy the Kid was sure a unique individual.

Two things struck me about the show.  First, most of the talking heads are friends.  And let me tell you, they picked the cream of the crop.

The second thing was that it was obvious and sad that there is only one picture of Billy the Kid.

That picture has an interesting history.  Right now I’m on my way to Denver, CO.  When I get home, I’ll tell you a bit about the history.

 

AN OLD WEST CRUISE TO ALASKA

Have you heard about the cruise Sunny and I are putting together? It’s called the Chronicle of the Old West Following the Legends Cruise to Alaska. And you’re invited to come along with us.

As you know Alaska was the last western frontier. Wyatt Earp and John Clum, along with Soapy Smith spent time up there. And don’t forget the gold miners.

The cruise is seven days aboard the Golden Princess. We’ll be stopping at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and we’ll be visiting the Mendenhall Glacier.

In addition to group Old West presentations, joining us will be cowboy singer Bill Barwick and cowgirl poet Sam DeLeeuw. They’re both Western Music Association Entertainers of the Year.

We’ve put together a package that includes airfare, transportation, taxes, and on board food.
The cruise is July 28 to August 4. Give us a call right away because space is limited.  Call us at 888/DOG-JAKE.

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