Do Any of you Forum members have an inkling of how much a man had to pay to join up with a Wagon Train heading for California on the Ft. Smith - Santa Fe Trail. From all I've learned, a Wagonmaster would put the train together, and based on his experience, and favorable line of malarky, each member of the train would pay him a fee.
Also, getting back to an earlier post I had about Ft. Arbuckle: When a wagon train left there, it was another 600 miles across a hostile land, going first thru Kiowa Country and thrn thru Comancheria. In the book, the wagon trains stops at Adobe Wells which had White settlement from the 1850's, and was even rescued by Kit Carson in 1854. It was later wiped out by the Comanches, then reestablished by buffalo hunters as a rendevous and supply site. It's a great story about how the "Buff Hunters" held off raid after raid with their long-range Sharps rifles, so much so that the Comanch' finally left them alone - for a while, till about 1874. It will be at this hunter-encampment the wagon train will stop.
Anyone have any comments or suggestions to this. Much Obliged for your input, Robert
Isn't that where a sharpshooter named Dixon shot an Indian that was one mile away? If so, hell of a shot..
Thanks for your comment, Mike, this is an interesting period in our history.
According to my research what you said about Billy Dixon was true. To quote: "The battle at Adobe Wells is well known for a single, long-range shot made by a young buffalo hunter named Billy Dixon. Using his Sharps Rifle, probably fifty-caliber, Dixon fired the shot at a group of Indians on horseback on a distant hill. The indians, naively confident they were out of range, were stationary. The single bullet literally fell from the sky and struck one of the warriors, knocking him off his horse, probably fatally injuring him. The Indians withdrew. Dixon, himself, later admitted it was a lucky shot." (kinda' like one of Peyton Mannings' Hail Mary passes in the last seconds of the 4th quarter! This is such a colorful episode out of the old west that I hope you'll permit me to add a bit more:
By the 1870's, Adobe Wells (located a bit south of the Canadian River, smack dab in the middle of the Texas Panhandle) was serving as an intermittent rendevous point and supply base for buffalo hunters. It was also a vital stopover for immigrants who had come across Indian Territory on the Ft. Smith - Santa Fe Trail. In the Summer of 1874, rumors that a large band of Comanches under the command of the half-breed, Quanah Parker was about to attack caused most of the Adobe Wells residents to head for safer country. Those who stayed behind were heavily-armed buffalo hunters who carried powerful Sharps rifles of heavy caliber, most notably the 50-70, 50-90 and 44-77. The hunters held off an estimated 400 comanches for days. The Indians suffered so many losses they had lost spirit. It was then young Billy made his famous shot, ending the attack.
For those of you who've seen Tom Selleck's great movie, Quigley Down Under, Tom shoots a 50-90 Sharps in the picture and dumbfounds a lot of Austrailians with his long-range marksmanship. For those of you who may not be familiar with cartride terminology, the first number, 50, denotes the caliber of the bullet, while the last number, 90, shows the grains of powder in the charge. 90 grains is one hell of a charge. Sharps even went so far as to make a 50-110, but from what I've been able to learn, it never caught on because of the devastating recoil. Never tried one, myself.
God Bless our Old West History. I can open a book, slip back in time, and forget all about Greece's financial trouble, Labor Union greed, and political correctness (whateverthehell that really is)
Dixon's rifle was a .45 X 3½", which held abt 125 gr. of powder. One account says he took a slug, drove it abt 3" into the rifling, cut the end off a ctg, poured the chamber full of powder, inserted the cut-off ctg, closed the breech, & took the shot.
Actually, Dixon missed. According to the Comanches, they were holding a council on a hill they considered out of range, deciding whether or not to quit the field. They'd been fighting for 3 days, they'd lost a lot of warriors, & they only had 3 scalps to show for it, 1 of 'em from a dog. One of their men was hit, bruised, & knocked off his horse by a 'nearly spent bullet.' That decided them to quit.
In an actual test at Springfield Armory, a .50-70-500 slug at 1086 yds would penetrate 5" into pine lumber. Even if it was white pine, which is a lot softer than yellow pine, that's still a lot of penetration at that range. Dixon's .45x3½", even with a standard load, never mind the '3" into the rifling' story, would have had a lot more residual energy at 1000 yds than a .50-70. If he'd hit that man, that slug wouldn't have been 'nearly spent.' It would have gone thru the guy & something else on the other side. Probably the 'nearly spent bullet' came from a Henry. There were several Henrys at the fight. It's still a good story, but the test at Springfield Armory, if the Comanches were telling the truth & their man was bruised but not wounded, shows Dixon couldn't have hit the man.