Were knives more expensive than firearms in the Old West?
They could be more expensive. Folks on the frontier could pay anywhere from 20 cents to $120 for a knife—the more expensive ones were usually ornamental and featured a fancy or exotic handle. For most folks, a knife was a tool; a good two-blade or three-blade pocket knife could be ordered for $1.50 to $2.50. By contrast, a Colt Peacemaker pistol would cost you a $20 gold piece.
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 email@example.com