While ostensibly part of my Old West collection this late 1860s 1/6th plate tintype photograph had a bit more feel of an “Eastern” as opposed to “Western” image – more akin to the
Hatfields and McCoys than say Billy the Kid or Wild Bill Hickok. It is easy to imagine both men being recently discharged veterans of the American Civil War.

Both men wear the almost shapeless remains of what once where hats on their heads and as was usually the case both wear waistcoats and frock coats in an attempt – only slightly
successful – to look sharp for the camera. The man standing at right has a watch chain hanging from his vest and the winding key for a pocket watch can just be made out hanging from
the chain. He also wears a collarless shield front shirt with a narrow placket. The seated man is summarily dressed except he wears shirt with what appears to its collar embroidered –
possibly with flowers – a style often seen “out West”.

Almost unnoticed and in a very casually matter of fact manner in the standing man’s right hand is a Colt cap and ball revolver. It may be the so-called Model 1851 Navy model in .36
caliber or the somewhat smaller 1849 Pocket Model in .31 caliber. During this time period when firearms were carried in a photographic session they were most often displayed in a
very prominent manner. Given that this man seems to have carried his as almost an afterthought seems to imply that he simply did not think it out of the ordinary or that big of a deal.

1/6th Plate Tintype (Ferrotype)
Unknown Photographer
United States
c. 1870