A popular misconception among some Old West re-enactors and wardrobe experts is that everyone wore their gun-belts high on their waists and that the low slung gun is an invention of Hollywood.
It is true that most frontier fighters did not walk around wearing extravagant buscadero rigs (holsters that hang from the bottom of the belt). The most famous being the one worn by Commodore Perry Owens , date from 1884. A recent find is the photo of the Flagstaff lawman, next to his horse. He also sports a buscadero. Later photos of Lt. Powhatan H. Clarke, who served farther south at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and a buffalo soldier who served under Clarke in Arizona, also show this gun-belt style. All of these examples point to the low slung gun-belt possibly being an Arizona trend.
What these photos also demonstrate is that some of our reverence for history is misplaced. We need to lighten up a bit regarding certain styles and gun usage. As it turns out, Hollywood got it right more often than we like to think.