Author GP HUTCHINSON

2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Author GP HUTCHINSON - 2016 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award Winner

Who Really Did Pack Iron in the Old West?

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

So did just about everyone who populated America’s frontier West pack iron? Or is that a misconception perpetuated by Western fiction, TV, and movies? While I make no claim to be an expert on the matter, and though my scholarship on the topic is superficial at best, I believe I can offer some legitimate observations in answer to the question.

One way to know the extent to which citizens of the Old West characteristically carried weapons is to go to period sources, including period photographs. Recalling that the latter half of the nineteenth century was not exactly the era of the “selfie,” getting one’s picture taken was something of a special event back in those days. Consequently, folks might not have behaved–or even dressed–the same as they would in day-to-day life. Continue reading