Tuesday Trivia #7: THE LEFT-HANDED GUN

Billy the Kid (born William Henry McCarty, alias Henry Antrim, Kid Antrim, & William H. Bonney) has often been referred to as The Left-Handed Gun. In 1958, a movie with that title was made and starred the inimitable Paul Newman. The myth began with the publication of this ferrotype:

Billy The Kid

Billy The Kid

It seems to show that Billy is left-handed, but if you look closely, the buttons on his vest are on the wrong side, and the buckle on his belt is also reversed. This is a mirror image, and Billy the Kid was in fact right-handed.

Tuesday Trivia #2: The Fast Gun

Today’s trivia is a little nugget about the FAST GUN.

In spite of what we’ve seen in TV or movie Westerns, gunslingers in the Old West were few and far between. And even fewer of them were cowboys.

Most cowboys did carry a pistol or two, as well as a rifle. But a cowboy’s main job was to protect the herd, and his weapons were used primarily against four-legged predators; wolves, coyotes, cougars and snakes were the most common recipients of a cowboy‘s bullets.

The weapons of the nineteenth century weren’t nearly as precise as those of today, and a cowboy had to count on his accuracy rather than his swiftness to make a good kill. There were some cowboys whose natural talents made them both swift and sure, but the majority of gunslingers were criminals like John Wesley Hardin, lawmen like Wild Bill Hickok, or criminals turned lawmen like Wyatt Earp.

Who was the fastest gun of all? By all contemporary accounts it was John Wesley Hardin who, they claim, could draw his pistols, shoot and kill a man who already had a gun in his hand.