The gun, like the axe and the plow, was an essential tool in the exploration and settlement of the trans-Mississippi West. It provided food for the cooking pot as well as protection against two- or four-legged marauders.
Of course the employment of the gun, whether for good or evil, depended upon the user. The men and women who lived the 19th-century western experience sometimes described in detail the role firearms played in their lives. Such accounts included a trapper in the 1830s, a woman crossing the plains by wagon in the 1850s, a drover ("cowboy" in modern terminology) enduring the dangers of a long cattle drive, a professional hunter engaged in the slaughter of the once seemingly endless herds of bison, or a soldier campaigning against American Indians.
Each account adds to our knowledge of firearms and our awareness of the struggle faced by those who were a part of the western experience. Gunsmoke and Saddle Leather describes the gun's impact on the lives of those in the West - men and women, whites and American Indians - using their own words to tell that story wherever possible.
"This is not a book to be taken lightly, but one that will literally provide hours of reading pleasure...It is representative of extensive detailed research, great writing and all that a fine book should be. (The Gun Report)
"Anyone who wants to know the role of the gun in the nineteenth-century West can do no better than this massive and important reference work." (New Mexico Historical Review)
"If you have an interest in antique firearms of the nineteenth century American West, and enjoy first-hand accounts by the very people who used them, then you are in for a real treat with this huge book....a good, enjoyable and entertaining read for just about anyone." (The Texas Gun Collector)
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I opening 19th century truths, quotes,& ingenuity.