Gunfighter: Partly Truth and Partly Fiction

blog-GunfighterGunfighters were partly man and partly myth. In legend and sometimes in real life they stood along as lone crusaders or knight-errants who fought evil so that good might prevail. They were every bit as colorful in reality as they were in mythology and they might never have existed had it not been for that unique thing called the American West.

They also might never have existed had it not been for men with names like Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson

The term “gunfighter” can be traced back to 1874 but it wasn’t common until around 1900. Bat Masterson used it when writing about his days in the wild Kansas cowtowns. Others say he preferred “man killer.” Still others used “civilizer.” “Gunslinger” came into use in the 1920s and picked up by writers like Zane Grey. Clay Allison is said to have coined the term “shootist” in 1874 but other sources say it was used a decade earlier. Author Glendon Swarthout wrote that more common terms during the late 19th century were “badman,” “gunman,” “pistoleer” and “shootist,”

A little-known gunfight occurred in Texas between two men, Alexander Shott and John Nott. The two exchanged gunfire and when the smoke cleared Nott was shot and Shott was not. In this case it’s better to be Shott than not. The shot Shott shot, shot not Shott, but Nott.

If you’re not confused then you’re not thinking clearly.

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