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Old July 19th, 2006, 04:55 AM   #1

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Wild West gunfights


Does anyone know the history of a Wild West gunslinging duel? They meet at high noon pace off ten paces and stand there waiting for the other person to draw his gun.

I guess gun duels go back to earlier times than this. But who started them, and why? Why not just shoot the person if you don't like him.

This question was promted by reading some info on the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: Wild West gunfights


Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander
Does anyone know the history of a Wild West gunslinging duel? They meet at high noon pace off ten paces and stand there waiting for the other person to draw his gun.

I guess gun duels go back to earlier times than this. But who started them, and why? Why not just shoot the person if you don't like him.

This question was promted by reading some info on the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
I'm just guessing here, but duelling predates guns by a long shot. Two men facing each other for a ritualistic fight (usually to the death) goes back to biblical times.

As far as the Western-style gunfight goes, the "you-draw-first" aspect may be apocrophal. If true, it may have been either a test of guts or a justification for the legality (i.e. the person drawing second is "defending" himself).

Chris--
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Old July 19th, 2006, 08:55 AM   #3

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Re: Wild West gunfights


Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander
Does anyone know the history of a Wild West gunslinging duel? They meet at high noon pace off ten paces and stand there waiting for the other person to draw his gun.

I guess gun duels go back to earlier times than this. But who started them, and why? Why not just shoot the person if you don't like him.

This question was promted by reading some info on the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
Did Wild West gunfights ever actually happen or were they a Hollywood invention?
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Old July 19th, 2006, 09:07 AM   #4
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Re: Wild West gunfights


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Originally Posted by Belisarius
Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander
Does anyone know the history of a Wild West gunslinging duel? They meet at high noon pace off ten paces and stand there waiting for the other person to draw his gun.

I guess gun duels go back to earlier times than this. But who started them, and why? Why not just shoot the person if you don't like him.

This question was promted by reading some info on the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
Did Wild West gunfights ever actually happen or were they a Hollywood invention?
Gun fights happened, but I'm sure Hollywood embelished on the dueling aspect of them.

Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were all gunslingers.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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Re: Wild West gunfights


Hollywood style gunfights were extremely rare. Most gunfights happened in the local saloon and always involved alcohol and usually involved someone being jealous of another such as his winnings in a poker game or his woman being observed by another man among other possibilities.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #6

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Re: Wild West gunfights


I read a book on the subject once. It pretty much destroyed the Hollywood myth. First thwe Wild West was a pretty safe place, when compared to many other cities in Europe it had a low murder rate. Also gunfights tended to be very different. Such a in a tussle between two men, one would draw a gun and kill the other. Or a friend would shoot one of the men in the back. Killing was done efficiently with little chivalry and often against unarmed opponents. Rather like today really.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:47 PM   #7

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Re: Wild West gunfights


Most of what I have read is in line with what Toltec and HistoryBuff7 said. They didn't often happen in the town thoroughfare with a faceoff at noon.

Some gunfights were rather clumbsy and close quarters. One account of a guy getting the end of his pistol caught in his pocket watch chain. I can't remember exactly, but I think they both died.

one of the few face to face gunfights occured between Luke Short & Jim Courtright. Courtright was running an agency that provided protection to saloons and gambling halls. Luke Short was running a saloon that Courtright was trying to sell his service to. Luke told him to "Go to hell" and the faced off in the street. Short shot first and blew off Courtright's thumb. Courtright then tried the "border shift" by tossing the gun from the injured hand to the useable hand, but he got shot again and was killed.

.. accuracy is everything!
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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #8

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Re: Wild West gunfights


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Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
... First thwe Wild West was a pretty safe place, when compared to many other cities in Europe it had a low murder rate...
Que?

Are you sure about this?

Common sense tells us when people walk around armed with lethal weapons the death rate tends to skyrocket.

Furthermore, I dont think it is correct to call Wyatt Earp a "gunslinger" - he was a lawman who was good with a gun.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #9

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Re: Wild West gunfights


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Originally Posted by Bismarck View Post
Que?

Are you sure about this?

Common sense tells us when people walk around armed with lethal weapons the death rate tends to skyrocket.
That's not really true. There are many counties and States within the United States that have open-carry laws, and there are no real issues involved with them.

Criminals tend to avoid people that have weapons. Now for the thread in question, "open-carry" in the Old West, I don't know.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:57 PM   #10

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Re: Wild West gunfights


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That's not really true.There are many counties and States within the United States that have open-carry laws, and there are no real issues involved with them.
...
Presumably these would be the "counties and states" that still have hitching posts outside their bars and gambling houses?
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