Why did Gene Autry and other cowboy actors carry a two-gun rig minus one holster in their movies?
Larry R. Snyder
Allen Weitzel of San Jose, California, a longtime member of the Old West gunfighter group “Original Fall Guys,” helps shed some new light on the subject. In reading Gene Autry Westerns: America’s Favorite Cowboy by Boyd Magers, Weitzel learned that “when Gene started out early in his career, the studio staff gave him that holster. Being new, he didn’t complain. This author also says that as Gene did more and more pictures and action work, he liked not having to deal with the second holster.
“Plus, if one is filming on the set all day and wearing a full loaded double rig, they do get heavy. You’re always reaching down to pull it up. If you are a big man like Guy Madison, Eddie Dean, Bill Elliott or Clayton Moore, you have the body frame large enough to lug that weight around. If you are a smaller man like Gene, that weight gets to you much sooner than it does to a big man.
“No doubt Gene was smart enough to figure out that his unusual double rig with one holster was a trademark of sorts, so…he was wise enough to keep it.”