Ned Pepper: "What's your intention? Do you think one on four is a dogfall?"  Rooster Cogburn: "I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience.
Which'll it be?"   Ned Pepper: "I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man."   Rooster Cogburn: "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            from the 1969 production of True Grit
Cowboys, Gunfighters, Outlaws and Lawmen from America's Western Frontier
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1880
"Gunman and Wife"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1885
"The New Mexican"
Carte de Visite Formatted  Tintype
c. 1880
"The Packers"
Mounted Photograph
c. 1905
"The Long Rider"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1880s
"Saddle Tramps"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1880
"The Gamblers"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1880
"Back of the Wagon"
Carte de Visite Formatted  Tintype
c. 1870s
"The Ruffians"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"Fancy Pants"
Cased 1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"Jesse Butler Cupp"
Real photo Postcard
c. 1900
"Three Amigos"
Carte de Visite
c. 1880
"Meskwaki (Fox) Indians"
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1885
"Bank Checks- Pima County Bank"
Tombstone, Arizona Territory
November 12, 1880
September 6, 1881
"Canadian Cowboy"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1880s
"In Apache Country"

Ben Wittick - Photographer

Fort Wingate, Arizona Territory
c. 1890
Cabinet Photograph

Merritt Dana Houghton - Photographer

Fort Washakie, Wyoming
c. 1880s
"Union Pacific Photo Car"
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1885
Private Clyde G. Wilson
Corporal Elmer Brick

20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Carte de Visite
Manila, Philippine Islands
c. 1899
There are those rare instances when research into
the identities of soldiers in an old photograph turns
up far more than one would have guessed possible.
This carte de visite of Private Clyde G. Wilson and
Corporal Elmer Brick of M Company, 20th Kansas
Volunteer Infantry is an example of just such an
occasion. As it turns out one of these men - Private
Wilson to be specific - was a key protagonist in one
of the Old West's last "range wars", the so-called
Dewey-Berry Feud which was fought out in
Wilson's home state of Kansas in 1903.

Clyde G. Wilson was born on 5 December 1876 in
Iowa the son of William Oliver Wilson and the
former Clara Burk. The family had...
"Old Timer"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"Man With No Name"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
"On the Winter Range"

Unknown Photographer

Northern Plains, United States
c. 1900
"The Cowpuncher"
1//4 Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
"The KId"
1//6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
"The Cold Stare"
1//6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
c. 1905
"The Shavetail"
Cabinet Photographs
c. 1882
"The Buffalo Hunters"
1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"The Townsfolk"
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1890
English Bob: "Well, actually, what I heard was that you fell off your horse, drunk of course, and that you broke your bloody neck."  Little Bill Daggett: "I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I
was dead 'til I found out it was just that I was in Nebraska."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 from the 1992 production of Unforgiven
Mounted Photograph
c. 1905
Doc Holliday: "Why Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just walked over your grave." Johnny Ringo: "My fights not with you, Holliday." Doc Holliday: "I beg to differ, sir. We started a game we never
got to finish. 'Play for Blood,' remember?" Johnny Ringo: "Oh that. I was just foolin' about." Doc Holliday: "I wasn't."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                from the 1993 production of Tombstone
"Green River"
Mounted Photograph
c. 1905
"The  Cowhand"
Full Cased 1/6 Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"Old No. 1"
Half Cased 1/9 Plate Tintype
c. 1870
"Cousin Rudolph"
Mounted Photograph
December 1899
"Little Mary"
Half Cased 1/6th Plate Tintype
c. 1870
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1880s
British Soldier Costumed  
as a Cowboy

Bangalore, India

Real Photo Postcard
Early 1900's
This real photo postcard's title is from Marty
Robbin's famous Country Western ballad
Streets of Laredo which goes in part: "I can see
by your outfit that you are a cowboy..."
and this
young British soldier seems to have doing his
level best to portray one of the storied
denizens of America's Wild West.

Although we will never know exactly why he
chose to dress the part of a cow puncher or
perhaps a gunfighter one might guess it was
for a role in a regimental theatrical production.

The "outfit" in question consists mainly of
British military items adapted to double for
their Old West counterparts: two holsters and
a 'Bowie" knife slung low on a leather
cartridge belt, a bandanna worn neckerchief
style, perhaps being a veteran of the
Anglo-Boer War he wears a campaign hat of
the type worn in South Africa as stand in for a
cowboy hat.
"The Railroad Men"
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1888
Black Cowhands

R. B. F. Craig - Photographer

Ballinger, Texas

Mounted Photograph
Early 1900's
Although the precise number will never be
known it is estimated that about one in four
cowboys were in fact of African descent.

The cattle industry that is so firmly associated
with the Old West had its origins in Texas and
it can be assumed that prior to the Civil War
the overwhelming majority of black cowboys
were in fact slaves. With the end of the war
and emancipation it would have been natural
for these men to continue on in the trade they
new best - but now by choice and for a daily

The era of the great cattle drives from Texas
north to Abilene and Dodge City in Kansas did
not last long but indelibly shaped the
character and reputations of the men who
took part in them regardless of race, creed or
even national origin.

Taken in the heart of Texas cattle country,
this photograph depicts two young black men
who appear to be very late 19th or early 20th
Century cowhands.
Evocative of changing times, this image
depicts two young Lakota members of the
Sioux Nation dressed western style
clothing. Possibly husband and wife or - to
my eye - brother and sister, they
represent the end of the traditional way of
life for Native Americans - an end which
began in 1492.

The reverse side of the photograph bears
a very faint pencil inscription that
supposedly states that two young people
were the adopted children of a local
minister. The inscription is unreadable
even under enhancement so the veracity
of this possibility cannot unfortunately be

In an attempt to place this photograph
into a larger historical context I contacted
the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural
Center located in Chamberlain but...  
Young Lakota Man and
Woman in western dress.

Barton - Photographer

Chamberlain, South Dakota

Cabinet Photograph
c. 1890s
"Funding the Vendetta"
Tombstone Consolidated Mines
Stock Certificate
c. 1900
Prentice Ritter: [narration] We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      from the 2006 production of Broken Trail
"Bridging the Continent"
Northern Pacific Stock Certificate
c. 1882
1//4 Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
1//4 Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
"The Greenhorn" or "The Holdup"
Cabinet Style Photograph
c. 1890s
The Singing Cowboy
Martin Van Bergen


Mounted Studio Portrait

c. 1910
It is rather interesting turn of affairs when one
begins to research the subject of a 100 year old
photograph and ends up finding out more about the
subject’s spouse that the subject himself. This is the
situation I found myself in when I began to
investigate the story behind this beautiful studio
portrait of one of the very first singing cowboys –
Martin Van Bergen.

Martin Garettson Van Bergen was born at Franklin,
Kansas on July 9, 1884 the son of William Van
Bergen a railroad conductor and Dora Hadden. There
seems to be more than a little confusion regarding
his middle name with it appearing in various sources
- including family trees – as “Garrison”. The fact that
it was actually Garettson is confirmed by Van
Bergen's own signature which appears on his World
War One draft registration card which he signed on
September 12, 1918.
Cabinet Photograph
c. 1900
George Frensley

Carte de Visite Formatted

c. 1870s
This carte de visite formatted tintype is
the latest addition to my collection of
Old West photographs. The six-shooter
armed subject is identified on the
mounts reverse side as George Frensley.
The style of the mount places the
creation of the image most likely as
sometime in the late 1870s.

Frensley’s clothing also fits into that
same time period. He wears his revolver
on his left hip in cross draw fashion – a
style affected by many gunfighters
during the period. Although little of his
sidearm is visible, the grips of the pistol
seem to be those of a Colt. The fact that
the revolver’s ejector rod housing has
left its impression on the holster seems
to confirm the revolver being of Colt
"Kemmerer, Wyomings"
Cabinet Photograph
July 1907
"Buffalo Robe"
1//4 Plate Tintype
c. 1870s
The Waco Kid to Sheriff Bart: "What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of
the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   from the 1974 production of Blazing Saddles
"Trailing the Apache Kid"
Edgar Rice Burroughs Bank Check
June 30, 1948
"The Cow-Boy"

Carte de Visite Formatted

c. 1870s
With his fierce-looking countenance
complemented by an outfit that would
not have looked out of place in the
classic 1993 film
Tombstone, this rough-
looking character could easily have
been a member of the outlaw Earp-
hating “Cow-Boy” faction.

The turned-back brim of his hat, the
laced up bib front shirt, cartridge belt,
high top boot with spurs and spur straps
are hallmarks of a classic Old West
image. Even the painted studio
backdrop with its winding river and
Indian tipis only enhance the quality of
the subject matter. His name, as well as
his occupation – a scout? gunfighter?
outlaw? – are unfortunately lost to the
passing years. The image probably dates
from the late 1870s to the early 1880s.
"Cardigan Kid"
1//6 Plate Tintype
c. 1880s