Wear It Like a Western Star!

The 1993 production of Tombstone sparked new interest in historically accurate Western clothing, hats, firearms and accessories. Nearly three decades later, fans who want to wear costumes like (l.-r.) Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Kurt Russell and Bill Paxton wore in the film can find hats made by Knudsen Hat Company (KnudsenHats.com), O’Farrell Hat Company (OFarrellHatCo.com), Catalena Hatters (CatalenaHatters.com); a wild rag made by Cowboy Images Wild Rags (CowboyWildRags.com); and Tombstone-style frock coats and blazers from Cattle Kate’s (CattleKate.com).
– Courtesy Buena Vista Pictures –

North American companies, from Stetson to Shiloh Sharps, make it easy for you to wear and enjoy the Old West clothes, hats, boots, firearms, leather, tack, wild rags and historic glasses worn by the movie stars on the Silver Screen.

A century ago, early Western stars Tom Mix, Buck Jones, William S. Hart and others inspired a Roaring Twenties cowboy look in iconic American fashion. Working cowboys, buckaroos and vaqueros defined the clothes, tack and tools required for hard work. Everything the cowboy owned, from his spurs to his pistol, from his hat to his boots, was necessary for his work—and his survival.

Today, more than 150 years since John B. Stetson invented the cowboy hat, North American and international artisans and manufacturers have made it easier than ever for the Western cinema fan to own the same clothes, hats, leatherwork, wild rags, eyeglasses and firearms used and worn by the greatest Western film stars in their most iconic roles.

John Wayne’s title role in Hondo became one of the most famous roles in his 50-year career on the Silver Screen. Fans of Wayne who want to dress like the Duke can wear a Hondo from KnudsenHats.com, order a similarly styled cotton bib shirt (no fringes or leather) from CattleKate.com and a wild rag to go with it from CowboyWildRags.com.
– Courtesy Knudsen Hats –
Hondo from KnudsenHats.com.
John Bianchi’s Frontier Gun Leather company in Rancho Mirage, California, has been supplying the finest handmade, hand-tooled leather gunbelts and holsters to firearms owners, law enforcement and Hollywood stars for over 60 years. One of Bianchi’s first Western star customers was John Wayne, who sketched out exactly the type of gunbelt and holster he wanted, which Bianchi created and named the Half Breed Gunbelt and Holster Combo.
– Gunbelt Image Courtesy John Bianchi and Frontier Gun Leather –
Bianchi’s combo represented a transition-style from the straight cut gunbelts of the 1870s to 1880s and the Buscadero Gunbelt of the late 1920s. Wayne wore it in El Dorado and The Shootist.
– Still from “The Shootist” courtesy Paramount Pictures –
The Shiloh Sharps Company (ShilohSharps.com) of Big Timber, Montana, made the “Quigley” 1874 Shiloh Sharps for Tom Selleck’s role as Matthew Quigley in the 1990 film Quigley Down Under.
– Shiloh Sharps “Quigley” Photo Courtesy ShilohSharps.com –
Selleck, who costarred with the late Alan Rickman, used with great accuracy the powerful .45-70 caliber rifle with Semi Buckhorn rear sight. Fans who admire the costumes of Selleck and his cast members, including Selleck’s wild rag and Rickman’s frock coat, can find similar accessories and jackets at CowboyWildRags.com and CattleKate.com.
– ”Quigley Down Under” Image Courtesy MGM –
CBS’s 1989 mini-series Lonesome Dove, starring (l.-r.) Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones as Larry McMurtry’s characters Gus McCrae and Woodrow F. Call, inspired a revival of Old West wear for fans and re-enactors looking for traditional mid- to late-19th century men’s and women’s frontier clothing. Hat companies, including CatalenaHatters.com, KnudsenHats.com and OFarrellHatCo.com, make a Gus McCrae-style cowboy hat. Knudsen makes a Captain Woodrow F. Call replica. Old West-style shirts, cowboy pants and suspenders similar to those worn in the classic mini-series are available through CattleKate.com, while wild rags can be purchased from Cattle Kate’s and at CowboyWildRags.com.
– “Lonesome Dove” image Courtesy CBS –
Gus McCrae-style cowboy hat.
– Gus Style Hat Courtesy Catalena Hatters
The original Hawken rifle, knife and scabbard carried by legendary mountain man Jeremiah Johnson are on display at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West in Cody, Wyoming.
– Courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, USA. Gift of F.W. Roebling, III. 2000.14.1, 2.1, 2.2 –
In 1971, Robert Redford and Della Bolton as Swan starred in Jeremiah Johnson. Filmed entirely on location in Utah and Arizona, the biopic of the mountain man was adapted from Vardis Fisher’s novel Mountain Man and Raymond W. Thorp and Raymond Bunker’s biography Crow Killer. Johnson was known to carry a Hawken .50 caliber rifle, which Redford prominently used in the film. Firearms collectors and users interested in making their own historically accurate Hawken similar to the one the real Johnson would have carried, can order their Hawken Rifle Kit (above) from the Oak Harbor, Washington, based Hawken Shop (TheHawkenShop.com).
– “Finished Hawken Rifles Courtesy The Hawken Shop –
Jeremiah Johnson 
– Jeremiah Johnson movie still courtesy Warner Bros. –
You can hang ’em high or paint the town red with this 1851 Navy cartridge conversion revolver. Either way, this spitting image replica of the 1851 Navy model used by the lead actor in the spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s will surely set you apart from other six-gunners. Retaining a Civil War-era, black powder style loading lever, yet converted to handle modern factory smokeless cartridges in .38 Colt or .38 S&W Special, this 7 ½-inch, octagonal-barreled smokewagon is finished in blue and color case-hardening, with a brass back strap and trigger guard. However, its handsome period varnished-walnut grips are uniquely inlaid with the signature sterling silver rattlesnake used by Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” character in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy.” The snake gives this revolver the appearance of being coiled and ready to strike! Here’s a cartridge conversion six-gun, introduced by Cimarron (Cimarron-Firearms.com) that stands out from the crowd.
– 1851 Navy Revolver Courtesy Cimarron Firearms –
The Man with No Name poncho can also be ordered from Cimarron.
– Clint Eastwood Photo Courtesy United Artists –

Historic Spectacles

Jason Priestley, who wears corrective glasses in real life, had his character, Billy Breckinridge in Tombstone, wear the period-correct K-Bridge oval spectacle frames with spring-steel curl temples.
– Courtesy Buena Vista Pictures –

Historical re-enactors seek out the most accurate clothing and accessories for their attempts at interpreting the past for themselves and their organizations. The Historic Eyewear Company of Vail, Arizona, has been providing historically authentic spectacle frames for American Frontier, Victorian Era, Civil War and Old West aficionados since 2004. Founders Thomas and Doreen Valenza sell mid-1830s to 1900 period-correct eyeglasses, with ophthalmic corrections as needed.

In the movies and  television, many actors who require vision correction in real life have chosen to be propped with historically accurate spectacles in their Western productions, including Gene Hackman in The Quick and the Dead and Unforgiven and Saul Rubinek in Unforgiven. Recently, the producers of the Broadway production of Hamilton had all the spectacles for the show made by Historic Eyewear.

If you are seeking the right pair of historic eyewear for your re-enactment costume or for day-to-day use, contact the Historic Eyewear Company at HistoricEyewearCompany.com.

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