Half Cased 1/9th Plate Tintype
Unknown Photographer
Western United States
c. 1870

Wearing an elaborately embroidered bib of shield front shirt and armed with a holstered Smith & Wesson Model No. 1 revolver this rather gaunt Western type was photographed
sometime around 1870 at some long forgotten location.

His chosen method of self defense the Smith & Wesson No. 1 revolver was manufactured between 1857 and 1882 and was the first revolver to successfully utilize metallic cartridges - in
this case a rather anemic .22 short rimfire round. The speed at which this revolver could be reloaded when compare to contemporary cap and ball revolvers outweighed its lack of
stopping power.

The shirt that this man wears has become one of the iconic garments of the Old West. The shirt's "shield" and collar are decorated in the flamboyant style popular with cowboys and
gunfighters on the western frontier. Quite often sized in a one size fits most manner his shirt was no exception and has cloth bands or ribbons holding up the sleeves. In Hollywood
depictions of the Old West women's garters are usually performing this mundane function.

One easy to miss detail is the pinky ring that this man is wearing on his left hand. These rings seem to have been popular in the Old West with the likes of Billy the Kid being seen
wearing one in his only confirmed photograph.
Above: The photographic plate shown enlarged after it was removed from its case and matting during cleaning and condition assessment. Details of his revolver and pinky ring
are more easily discerned in this enlargement.