FIVE CARTRIDGES?

Here’s another Old West Myth and Fact. Tradition and the early Colt Pistol manuals says to load only five cartridges in a pistol and leave the empty cylinder under the hammer. The reason being if the hammer is accidently hit with a live cartridge under it, it could go off…Incidentally; modern pistols have a safety bar to prevent accidental firing.

So, did they load only five cartridges? Not always. Wyatt Earp’s pistol fell to the floor in a saloon and it went off. Lawman Dallas Stoudenmire was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter. During the interview Dallas showed his shooting skills. The reporter said all six shots hit the target. A couple of years ago we published an article in Chronicle of the Old West from 1898 where two men went into the back room of a saloon, and while there a pistol was fired. The people in the saloon though it was a gun fight. Actually, one of the men dropped their pistol.

My feeling is if you were an average Joe you probably loaded five cartridges, but if there was a chance of gunplay you wanted as much firepower as possible. And that extra cartridge could mean the difference between life and death.

What do you think?

BATTLE OF PALO ALTO

On this date back in 1846, Zachary Taylor led American forces against an attacking Mexican Army in the Battle of Palo Alto.

Mexico had never recognized the independence of Texas, and when the U.S. annexed Texas, Mexico sent troops into the disputed Rio Grande River area.

President Polk ordered General Taylor into Texas to defend the border. It was viewed by Mexico as a hostile invasion and the Mexican Army attacked the American forces.

Although the Mexican forces were much larger in number, General Taylor was not only victorious in this battle; he won four additional battles and gained control over the three northeastern Mexican states.

Incidentally, as a result of these and other victories, Zachary Taylor became a national hero referred to as “Old Rough and Ready”. This eventually catapulted him into the Presidency. Unfortunately, he was a much better general than President.

ANDY ADAMS

On this date back in 1859 Andy Adams, the author of The Log of a Cowboy was born. He’s considered one of the most authentic chroniclers of the Old West.

Andy was born in Indians and ran away from home when a teenager. Ending up in Texas, he became a cowboy during the golden era of the cowboy. When the cattle drives ended he went to Colorado looking for gold. Not able to find his fortune, he settled down in Colorado Springs.

Andy began writing stories of his experiences as a cowboy. He wrote and published four books in four years. He’s best known for The Log of a Cowboy. This book is a must for any person interested in the Old West cowboy.

LONE RANGER

OK folks. We’ve all heard about the Johnny Depp Lone Ranger movie. And you’ve probably wondered what Johnny is going to look like…Well, here it is.

He was inspired to update Native American Tonto’s look after seeing a painting by the artist Kirby Sattler.

According to Depp; “I looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it. The stripes down the face and across the eyes . . . it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean.”

Sorry Johnny, I don’t know what you mean.

SILVER SCREEN COWBOY PROJECT

Boy was I taken back to the days of yesteryear as I attended the Silver Screen Project Show put on by Marvin O’Dell and friends.

This is a multi-media show about the heyday of the “B” and TV Westerns, with film clips, photos, live songs and commentary. Everyone was covered from Tom Mix to Roy Rogers. Incidentally, Tom and Roy weren’t the first and last of the B-Western heroes, they’re just two of my favorites.

Incidentally, they take their show on the road. If you would be interested in their performing in your area, contact Marvin O’Dell at meoteo@aol.com.

I’m working on getting them up in the White Mountains of Arizona in August.

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