Did Jesse James carry six to eight handguns at all times?
Joe “Doc” Amason
That is a bit of a stretch—although, during the Civil War, men like Jesse James and Bloody Bill Anderson did carry up to six cap-and-ball handguns so they wouldn’t have to stop and reload.
But during the outlaw days, James likely carried two pistols. The Colt 1873 Peacemaker was his weapon of choice, although, at various times, he also carried Remingtons and Smith & Wesson Schofields.
His gang also occasionally carried 10- or 12-gauge shotguns for close quarter fighting. Sometimes, they were armed with Henry and Winchester rifles. Unfortunately, the outlaws didn’t have those long guns at the ill-fated Northfield robbery in 1876 that led to the gang’s downfall. Alas, the rifles probably wouldn’t have done them much good anyway.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian.
His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.
If you have a question, write:
Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008,
Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at