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Wyatt Earp and neon green cap guns??

I had the pleasure this morning of talking with Trent Loos on his “Rural Route” radio show. We talked about Some Gave All, of course, and we also covered Dodge City, Wyatt Earp, Cash Hollister, the Hollywood West vs. the real West, ebooks vs. paper-and-ink, neon green cap guns and a whole lot more.

To listen in to our conversation, follow this link.

To check out Trent’s other radio broadcasts, written columns, views of real life on the ranch and video productions, follow this link to visit his “Loos Tales” website.

Earp - toy gun

With “a little more camera practice,” this guy could be a star!

Variety, the entertainment business magazine, has always been known for its clever jargon and witty film reviews. Sometimes, though, they’re unintentionally funny, at least in retrospect. A prime example is this November, 1932 review of “Ride Him, Cowboy” – a sound remake of a 1926 Ken Maynard silent. The film reused some of the silent’s action footage, and the young up-and-coming actor who played the lead had been cast partly because he bore a passable resemblance to Maynard.

At least the magazine can’t be faulted for predicting the kid had a successful career ahead!

Ride Him, Cowboy collage

Of wolves and sheepdogs…

“He is like a sheep dog, feared by the flock and hated by the wolves.”

Although I’m not very much in the habit of quoting Wyatt Earp, that’s one thing he said that I completely agree with and find worth repeating. In an August, 1896 interview with the San Francisco Examiner newspaper Earp discussed the perils of riding a treasure-laden stagecoach across outlaw country. Although he was referring to the shotgun guard on a coach, his remark might easily have described the lot of lawmen in general.
Anyone who works in law enforcement today is likely familiar with the sheepdog/sheep/wolf analogy. It’s interesting to see the same idea expressed more than a century ago. Just further proof that truth is timeless, I guess.

I should’ve been a cowboy…

Interesting photo of city dudes playing cowboy (check out the tight pants and town shoes). Quite an interesting array of hardware they have, but not one of them looks like he has a clue how to use it (the gent on the right has the piece he’s holding cocked).

Looks like the only one not faking it here is the dog.

Cowboy wannabees

Have gun, will subscribe…

Boy, magazine premiums sure have changed since the 1880s. The E.C. Rideout Company’s ad in the December 24, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly mentions their promotional campaign offering a free Blue Jacket revolver with every paid $2.00 subscription to Household Guest Magazine.

I think the last magazine I subscribed to sent me a pocket calendar.

Blue Jacket revolver

Household Guest Magazine

John WHO?

The article below (and the letter from “An Observer”) from a 1930 Hollywood Filmograph magazine discuss the flak director Raoul Walsh caught for casting an unknown “college boy” as the lead in “The Big Trail.”

Pretty funny in retrospect, considering the career the kid went on to have.

John Wayne as Breck Coleman in "The Big Trail"

John Wayne as Breck Coleman in “The Big Trail”

Hollywood Filmograph, Jan.-June, 1930


No, not THAT Billy the Kid…

On this date in 1893, three men held up a St. Louis and San Francisco Railway train at Mound Valley, near Parsons, Kansas. Their efforts to rob the safe in the express car were thwarted by the express messenger, Charles Chapman, who paid with his life. After gunning down Chapman, the bandits settled for robbing passengers of about $500 in cash and jewelry, plus a jug of whiskey.

Dodge City Globe-Republican Sept. 8, 1893

Diligent detective work by local lawmen and Wells Fargo detectives quickly identified the three robbers. One of them was a career criminal and self-styled bad man named Will Chadburn, who liked to call himself “Billy the Kid.” Chadburn found himself in custody a month later and, with the prospect of hanging for his crimes, agreed to give evidence against his partners, Hanse/Hans Hydrick and Claude Shephard (Shephard had fired the round that killed Chapman). Chadburn, Hydrick and Shephard were convicted and sent to the state prison at Lansing.

Chadburn served just under eight years. Nine months after he was freed, he was back in custody for an Oklahoma post office robbery, which landed him in the federal pen at Leavenworth. Less than two weeks after he walked free in early July of 1905, Chadburn and cohort Ed Madigan robbed a poker game in Winfield, Kansas. The next day the men were recognized in nearby Cedar Vale by Frank Calhoun, a railroad detective for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. When Calhoun and the Cedar Vale marshal confronted the robbers, a gunfight ensued and Detective Calhoun was killed.

Hutchinson (KS) News July 12, 1905

Hutchinson (KS) News
July 12, 1905

Chadburn and Madigan fled on horseback to neighboring Hewins, where a posse was waiting. In the brief battle that followed, both men were cut down; Madigan was killed instantly, and Chadburn died of his wound two days later.

The colorful careers of law dog Calhoun and outlaw Will “Billy the Kid” Chadburn, and their fatal encounter, are detailed in Chapter 9 of Some Gave All.

Holy O.K. Corral, Batman!

Turns out Val Kilmer’s not the first actor to stalk both the dusty streets of Tombstone and the mean streets of Gotham City.

In 1959, seven years bBatman - Docefore he starred as TV’s version of the Dark Knight, Adam West played Doc Holliday in episodes of three different TV series: Colt .45 (“The Devil’s Godson”), Sugarfoot (“The Trial of the Canary Kid”) and The Lawman (“Wayfarer,” a pilot for a proposed series to be called – what else? – “Doc Holliday”).

From the Gunfighting Gumscraper to the Caped Crusader – who knew?

Mad Doctor Goes on Shooting Spree

On this date in 1900, Sheriff John Henry Dillingham of Platte County, Missouri, was summoned to the sleepy little town of Farley over a case of multiple murder. A local physician named Sterling Price “Sturley” Harrington had gone on a day-long, drug and alcohol fueled killing spree. Taking his ten-year-old daughter along on his bloody errands, the doctor shot and killed his mother-in-law in cold blood, then calmly drove to the home of his wife’s uncle and killed him as well. He drove across the state line into Leavenworth, Kansas, where – apparently with further killing in mind – he resupplied with ammunition and more weapons before returning to Farley.Dillingham - El Paso Daily Herald 8-20-1900

In what was likely part of an addle-brained plan to escape, Harrington tried to rob the town’s general store, and engaged in a point-blank shootout with the store’s clerk. About this time Sheriff Dillingham arrived with a trio of deputies, one of whom was his son, Henry. As the lawmen approached the store, Harrington met the sheriff at the entrance. Shots were exchanged and Sheriff Dillingham was killed instantly. As the murderous doctor fled toward his wagon, Henry Dillingham fired three times and Harrington fell dead in the street.

Twenty-two year old Henry Dillingham was appointed to finish out his father’s term as sheriff. Thirty years later he would also serve as the United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri

Sheriff John Dillingham’s eventful career, and the tragic events leading up to his death, are detailed in Chapter 8 of Some Gave All.

Dillingham pistol Sheriff John H. Dillingham’s Colt pistol