The old saying “live by the sword, die by the sword” was never more true than in the era of the wild west. Gunslinging justice and tales of lawmen versus outlaws in cities across the nation and everywhere in between as far as the eye can see dominated the American way of life… or at least that’s what even the best western stories of all time may have you believe. While you can put the iconic wheel guns used by these shooters in your hands right now with the line of firearms from Heritage Manufacturing, you shouldn’t always take what you see on the screen into the range. The Rough Rider and Barkeep model revolvers from Heritage deliver the proficiency and function that any cowboy on the frontier would depend on, but there’s also an unspoken rule of the fastest quick draws in town: there’s always someone faster.
The Quickdraw For All to See
The stories of the wild west are alive at Heritage. Revolvers and carbines that carry the legacy of every American icon who carved their place in history continue their traditions, bringing them to new generations everywhere. These very stories have been shepherded by many who have brought them to life in households everywhere thanks to western television and movies. On some very rare occasions, however, the best of both worlds clash and give us an actor with the skills of a real life gunslinger. Someone who can showcase the speed of the quick draw that played out at high noon in the west with genuine authenticity.
People like Glenn Ford of the 1957 original 3:10 to Yuma and Hugh O’Brian, who you might recognize from the 1976 classic The Shootist, are said to have handled a six shooter almost better than anyone in Hollywood. O’Brian was notable for often bragging about his .25 second quick draw. While icons like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are in the mix, some of the fastest draws in the west on camera are a bit more surprising. People like Sammy Davis Jr. and even Jerry Lewis all fancied themselves as a quickdraw. This came to a head when many participated in the 1954 quick draw competition at Knott’s Berry Farm where many threw their hat into the ring for the fastest around.
At the golden age of western storytelling in Hollywood, there were countless names who aimed to bring a greater sense of realism to their acting by training with professionals and legends alike to increase the speed and accuracy of their quick draw. While there was no stopping the shortage of unrealistic shots like shotgun blasts blowing people back by twenty feet or nearly-impossible trick shots with a revolver from two hundred plus yards, there were moments few and far between where someone was committed to showing just what the best shooters would be capable of.
The Legacy Born on Screen
Bringing the dramatic action of the wild west and all its frontier justice to the big screen in a way that feels authentic is no easy feat. This all truly started with the silent film star Tom Mix who is widely known to be Hollywood’s very first western star, defining the archetype for generations to come. This was especially impactful for the newcomer at the time and little known name, John Wayne. The Duke has often credited his walk, talk, and persona to the likes of Wyatt Earp where he had learned it by training alongside none other than Tom Mix. Born in 1880, Tom Mix would go on to ride alongside Deadwood sheriff Seth Bullock in President Roosevelt’s inaugural parade and star in over two hundred and ninety films. As John Wayne took over as the leading man of classic westerns, the direct line of influence from the real life legends of the wild west found its way into our pop culture. The rest is history.
Why is this important now though? These legends and stars set the groundwork for the exposure of a lifestyle that became harder and harder to reach as the years went by. Looking to the greatest westerns is a pastime that many share even today when it comes to experiencing the wild west. More than just a genre, western entertainment is a defining force of American culture and these are the very stewards who have all helped to keep it alive generation after generation. The most well-known tradition of the stories in the wild west, however, can often be boiled down to the quick draw. It’s where the stars of film and television have shined for decades because it’s a singular moment that we are all invested in, delivered with a genuine sense of awe and at the very least, attempted authenticity.
This has endured even today as the epitome of talent with a six shooter, and even the best of Hollywood has done everything possible to keep it alive because of the impact it has had. Just as actors from every generation from Tom Mix to Clint Eastwood have done their part in showcasing the best of the west with their notorious quickdraws, Heritage Manufacturing has kept the story alive with their line of remarkable revolvers and carbines. While the ability to quick draw is one that is built from practice and skill, its placeholder as a story pulled from the west makes it a timeless act that will live on.
A Tradition of Utmost Importance
While it’s always interesting to see the most famous western stars and their own quickdraws on the silver screen, you can put the timeless history of the American frontier in your own hand with Heritage’s firearms that continue the story into the modern world. Just like the most unforgettable moments from showdown when the clock strikes noon, Heritage delivers a shooting experience you will always remember. If you get a hankering to practice your own quick draw though, just be sure to remember the unspoken rule of the west…there’s always someone faster!
22 March 2023