History Channel - Wild West Tech - Gadgets
A&E Television Networks - Released July 17, 2008 - 50 minutes
They could be violent...wicked...or downright absurd. Whether they helped to take down outlaws, save a life, or just plain amuse, these techno gizmos revolutionized the unruly frontier. This episode looks at contraptions practical--and not--devised to tame the frontier. Objects include Wild West mouse traps, lie detectors, a metal detector (to locate bullets), an Elgin Cutlass Pistol (a Bowie/Revolver in one), kerosene headlamp, electrified brass rails, a self-containing breathing device, stream heat, a syringe, rubber condoms, a donkey engine and much more of the good, the bad and the technologically ugly.
1882 - "Wild West Mouse Trap" - 6 shooter and a metal rod configured to trigger (could be rigged to a door, so the gun would fire when it opened)
Palm Pistol - hideout gun that fits in palm of hand, 32 caliber bullet, 7 shots, "squeezer" (squeeze palm to fire), good for close range
Blakeslee Quick Loader - Spencer Rifle - .56 caliber, 7 shot, spring-loaded magazine, excellerated reloading
1883 - Bridgeport Rig - a plate riveted to gun belt where you attach gun and can swivel to fire; U.S. Army orders 500 of these for men in Southwest but leaves guns exposed to elements (as opposed to being stored in a holster) so the project is abandoned
1889 - Jukeboxes - San Francisco Palace Royale, box with headphones that plays one song
Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:
Smithsonian - The Real Story - True Grit
In "True Grit," the line between good and evil was blurred. But what about the line between fact and fiction? Runtime: 49 minutes Original air date: August 5, 2012
"True Grit" was a story about 14 year old Maddie Ross who hires a man to avenge her father's death. It was written by Charles Portis in 1969.
1851 - Colt invented revolving cylinder (cap and ball) revolver. The handle was shaped like a plow handle. It took about 3 minutes to reload (powder in front end, ball, packed down, oil and grease), but it was accurate almost 50 feet.
1873 - Winchester Rifle - lever-action, 14 rounds per load, accurate about 400 yards
Deputies did not have salaries but worked on commission and had to cover all their own expenses. They often made money with side-gigs and with bringing someone/criminal in for justice.
Fort Smith, Arkansas - "Hanging" Judge Isaac Parker, Hanging Day was a big town event and thousands of people and hawkers came to witness a hanging. By 1870s the jail was overcrowded.
1870s - James-Younger Gang, 10 year crime spree.
Dalton Gang - 3 started as deputy marshals but learned that crime made more money; first gang to attempt to rob 2 banks at same time on October 5, 1892 (but the townspeople were ready for them and retaliated).
Check your local library for a copy or you can stream it here:
History Channel - Cowboys and Outlaws - The Real Wyatt Earp
They were the quintessential American heroes: the embodiment of rugged individualism and independence. For a century and half, cowboys ruled the frontier, settling the American West and carving their way into American mythology forever.
A powder keg of history, the American Frontier was a period of conquest, war and money. In this short era, men and women endured the Buffalo Hunters Wars, range wars, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War. For most, it was a time of incredible stress and hardship. But for a few extraordinary men, it was a time of unbelievable opportunity. Cowboys brought six million steers from the southernmost tip of Texas along cattle trails to railroad heads, and settled the West, solidifying their stature as heroes whose strength and individuality made them the ultimate icons of their time.
Discover the legendary qualities of these amazing men in this visually stunning series from HISTORYTM. Using recovered letters, journals and books, as well as archaeological and forensic evidence, COWBOYS & OUTLAWS focuses on the true tales and heroes of the American West.
1836 - a six shooter gun is invented with a revolving cylinder; becomes popular gun of choice in the west.
Buffaloing is to pistol whip someone with the butt of a gun. Wyatt becomes adept at this method.
1874 - Wyatt Earp (26 years old), Virgil Earp, and James Earp arrived in Wichita, Kansas. Wyatt is hired as a part-time deputy for $60/month. His brothers work in saloons and bordellos.
Bodge City - Wyatt is hired as assistant marshal to police saloons. The merchants help pay his salary.
The Earps head to Tombstone, Arizona where money is pouring out of the silver mines (about $30 million have been mined so far). Wyatt works as a card dealer in the saloon. The Clantons and McLaurys are irked by the newcomers. Virgil Earp becomes the deputy marshal.
1881, October 26 - Shootout at OK Corral (actually a vacant lot behind the OK Corral) which lasted about 30 seconds. Ike Clanton fled. Wyatt was the only man left standing. His brothers are injured.
Morgan Younger is shot during a late night game of pool. Earp guns down their enemies. The people of Tombstone want Earp arrested, but he escapes.
1920's - Wyatt tries to sell his story to Hollywood. Reporter Stuart Lake writes a book, "Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshal"
The shootout at OK Corral lasted about 30 seconds.
Check your local library for a copy, search on YouTube, or you can find the DVD set here:
Frontier Living by Edwin Tunis - ISBN#978-0690010640
Hardcover, 165 pages, Publisher: HarperCollins; 1St Edition edition (January 21, 1976)
Describes the daily lives of American pioneers who explored and settled the territories west of the Appalachians.
1710 - the first shipload of Palatine Germans reached Philadelphia (known incorrectly as "Pennsylvania Dutch")
1727 - Newly designed rifle became known as the "Kentucky Rifle" - it was a little under 5ft long with an octagonal outer barrel and was browned with acid. The stock was maple wood and darkened with soot and polished. The butt of the stock was protected with a brass plate. On the right side, there was a hollowed out area that was filled with a brass cover for patch box (for bullets and grease).
After 1827, most emigrants heading to California used Independence, Missouri as a starting point (and a place to purchase all they needed for the journey).
1836 - Colt's Patent Repeating Pistol - used percussion caps, single barrel and five muzzle-loading chambers bored into a revolving drum.
1849 - Pioneer Stage Line ran through much of California with imported Concord coaches and eventually ran over the Sierra to Genoa, Nevada. The roads were graded enough to make them passable at 6 mph.
Before 1844, only pack trains cross the Sierras (about 50 mules in a train to carry food, dry goods, mining supplies, mail, etc.). It took 16 days to reach Carson City from Sacramento.
Overland Mail: U.S. President James Buchanan gave the $600,000/year award to his friend, John Butterfield (a known man in the eastern freight business who'd never operated stage coaches). John built 165 change stations with wells, corrals, and blacksmith shops for 100 vehicles pulled by 1200 horses and/or 600 mules. He hired 750 men. September 15, 1858 the first coaches began to go out twice a week. They changed horses every 8 miles or so in rough country or 25 miles in good country and rode at about 5.5 mph. At larger "home stations" the coach drivers changed out. It was a 21 day trip from St Louis to San Francisco (over 2800 miles)!
Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here: