SMITH & WESSON SCHOFIELD 45 CALIBER MODEL 3 (2nd Run) REVOLVER --
This is a Schofield 45 Caliber Model 3 (2nd Run) top-break revolver with auto-ejector, produced from 1875 to 1878, issued to cavalry during the so-called "Indian Wars".
Thirty-three years ago when I was nineteen I confided in a much-older black man working on a construction project with me that I wanted to buy a gun. The next day he brought a paper sack to work and said he had something to show me, and maybe I'd want to buy it, but first he wanted to tell me a story ---
He said that the gun had been in his family a long time, that it had been handed down from his great-grandfather to his grandfather to his father and then to him, but his son had no use for it and he could use the money it would bring. He said his ancestor had worked on a plantation in or near Cheneyville, Louisiana, and that the gun had been given to the lady plantation-owner "by an outlaw, or maybe a lawman" (his exact words) in exchange for a fresh horse, since the man's horse had gone lame as he was passing through the area. When the plantation owner eventually died, the gun had become the property of his great-grandfather.
The old gun appealed to me, especially because the initials carved into its walnut grip were the same as mine, J.W. I imagined it might have belonged to Josey Wales. Many outlaws---former lawmen---went through that area on their way to the Caddo Strip.
I took the gun to a gun shop in Alexandra to get advice on whether to invest in it, and the gunsmith there offered to buy it for double whatever I paid for it. After purchasing it that day for more than a week's pay I left it with him to be cleaned, as the barrel had rusted quite a bit over the years. Apparently, removing the rusted pins rendered them useless and when I again saw the gun they had been replaced. In the intervening 33 years no further work has been done on the gun.
Ten years ago I read a biography of Josey Wales and discovered he was not a Smith & Wesson man (maybe that's why he traded it away?). This particular gun, however, was a favorite of Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody, Frank and Jesse James and John Wesley Hardin, among several other notorious gun-men.
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