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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Always admired and then lusted over that pair of fully engraved and blued GWs used in "The Shootist".
But also no doubt in my mind JW wouldn't have built them the way they were delivered given a choice. This particular pair were a gift from Great Western to Wayne. He liked them enough to use them in the movie...which he likely suspected would be his last. But I'd also bet he preferred a Colt given the chance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm_ZK5vU5ag

The originals now at the National Cowboy Museum, in OKC.




In 1976 John Wayne played his last role in "The Shootist". The story line was simple. "A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JUfOIglaSc#t=50

Glendon Swarthout - The Shootist

John Wayne: one last shot before the final farewell - Telegraph

The film is based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout[3] with a screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout (the son of the author) and Scott Hale, and featuring Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Harry Morgan, Richard Boone and James Stewart among other well know character actors.

"The aging Books (John Wayne) and the Old West are dying. Arriving in Carson City, Nevada on January 22, 1901, reading reports of the death of Great Britain's Queen Victoria in the newspaper, Books is insulted by a stranger who calls him an "old man" and barks at him to get out of the way. Books seeks a medical opinion from someone he trusts, E. W. "Doc" Hostetler (James Stewart). Hostetler confirms a Colorado doctor's prognosis of a painful and undignified death from cancer, so Books rents a room from the widow Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her teenage son Gillom (Ron Howard) to contemplate his fate."

The Shootist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is a story that has been played out many times in real life in one form or another. I find much to admire and ponder in the film. I liked it 30 years ago (for different reasons) and for more obvious reasons now.



Down but not out!



And my new pair below which took 2 years to get sorted out . Long Hunter's full action/ trigger jobs, rear sight cuts with bulleye ejectors added. Guns were shot a bunch before heading off to the engravers. Both guns are signed. The upper gun is by past Colt, master level engraver, John Adams Sr. and has slightly more cover than the lower gun. Lower gun was done by Darrick Smalley. The design for the pair mimics a specific, 1890's Cuno Helfricht pattern. Finish was done in an antiqued full blue. Beautiful colors and heavy grain in the matching bookend, one piece ivory by Gene @ Gunner Products which I then hand fitted. Only the lower gun is really showing the ivory very well in the less that stellar photo.

Two guns that shot well enough from the get go to deserve the extra cosmetic enhancements imo.


 

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I never noticed the blood, I focused on the story and the firearms. Hollywood does "enhancements" it's expected. One can describe a head shot, chest shot or liver shot by the color. It's Hollywood, they don't. A great movie for John Wayne and a life lesson to many. I'm a DUKE fan. One of the truly great western actors of his time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
coltsixguns said:
I liked that movie but the color of the blood just looked too fake to me.....just like a bad paintball.
Ha, ha, it is a movie after all...and 30 years ago at that for special effects.

"One can describe a head shot, chest shot or liver shot by the color. It's Hollywood, they don't." Well said.

Tombstone and The Shootist have to be two of the best and most realistic westerns on film IMO. "Two to the body, one to the head...now they are dead."
Or one each might well do the job and you could still see, if just barely in a small room, using a 255 and BP :) Some script writer/director/actor was thinking about those 3 seconds on film.
 

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Always admired and then lusted over that pair of fully engraved and blued GWs used in "The Shootist".
But also no doubt in my mind JW wouldn't have built them the way they were delivered given a choice. This particular pair were a gift from Great Western to Wayne. He liked them enough to use them in the movie...which he likely suspected would be his last. But I'd also bet he preferred a Colt given the chance.

The originals now at the National Cowboy Museum, in OKC.



Congratulations on your inspired pair, they are fantastic.

There are a couple pairs of Wayne Great Westerns. In his photo on the back of the Great Western catalog Wayne is holding a different pair, not the ones in the Shootist. Engraver Carl Courts did several sets for Great Western, these I would describe as stylistically taking their cues from the old Colt Sears guns.

The first pair Wayne had was like this, 5 1/2s, that he was photo’d with for the catalog. I understand that pair to have been stolen at a trade show in the 50’s. They’ve not turned up since, or, maybe they are around but are not inscribed with his name, and that he was the owner is lost to history.

His second pair, though they were 20 year old guns by then, would seemingly have to have been worked on for the movie what with the JB Books name being a figment of the Shootist’ script. But I am under the impression GW also gave Wayne that second pair.
 

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Those guns are perfect in every way. Here's some Shootist trivia. Remember the guy JW shoots coming in his window and puts one in his forehead while he's on the ground? That's "the most interesting man in the world" in his younger days getting three seconds of screen time.
Thank you! I knew he was in the movie, I just wasn't sure in what scene. His name is Jonathan Lipnicki!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are a couple pairs of Wayne Great Westerns. In his photo on the back of the Great Western catalog Wayne is holding a different pair, not the ones in the Shootist....
The first pair Wayne had was like this, 5 1/2s, that he was photo’d with for the catalog....

Great info and thank you for the compliment on the guns.

Two theories on the GW guns of JW and the Shootist in particular. Someone must know the facts. If you look at the presentation case that is in OKC with the original SHOOTIST guns it is obvious the case was built and held at one time a pair of 5.5" guns. Elmer Keith has a early picture (1950s is my guess) of JW holding an engraved pair of GW guns..that are also 5.5" guns. Page 66 in SIXGUNS.

The stolen gun theory I had not heard previous. And JW preference early on was for a 5.5" gun is well known. Later his trade mark SAAs were the yellow two piece gripped with one sided finger grooved and 4 3/4" guns. Of which there are several from the rental companies documented today and most in museums on loan from private collections. He used one of those guns (1st gen guns with faux yellow ivory) on his very short public relations campaign for THE SHOOTIST according tot the NRA historians.

The theory I heard previous was the engraved 5.5" guns given to Wayne earlier by GW were cut down at JW's request specifically to use in THE SHOOTIST. May be Jim Martin or some of the GW experts here can add something more believable :)
 

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Those guns are perfect in every way. Here's some Shootist trivia. Remember the guy JW shoots coming in his window and puts one in his forehead while he's on the ground? That's "the most interesting man in the world" in his younger days getting three seconds of screen time.
Is that the one that says " I don't always get head shot by John Wayne when I'm in a movie but when I do I really like my 3 seconds of fame!" ?
 

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Here's another photo of the Great Westerns at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (formerly The National Cowboy Hall of Fame) in Oklahoma City showing the plaque describing the guns. This is one of the most fascinating museums I've been to and the John Wayne exhibit is just one of many famous cowboy and Hollywood cowboy exhibits.
Side Note: At the end of the movie, Ron Howard picks up one of Wayne's guns and throws it across the bar. The gun he tossed was NOT one of these Great Westerns. It was a prop gun.

 

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OK. This is my last time drifting away from this thread about a beautiful pair of engraved guns. Jonathan Goldsmith called himself "Jonathan Lippe" in his early career. I don't know know if Books killed Goldmith or Lippe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Here's another photo of the Great Westerns at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (formerly The National Cowboy Hall of Fame) in Oklahoma City showing the plaque describing the guns. This is one of the most fascinating museums I've been to and the John Wayne exhibit is just one of many famous cowboy and Hollywood cowboy exhibits.
Side Note: At the end of the movie, Ron Howard picks up one of Wayne's guns and throws it across the bar. The gun he tossed was NOT one of these Great Westerns. It was a prop gun.

Great picture! Thanks for posting it. It ends my personal speculation that the ivory on these guns was "aged" with a tea bag. Plaque says 4 3/4" guns but by the look of it the case was for/or had 5 1/2" guns at some point. Wonder how all that happened.
 

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Those guns are perfect in every way. Here's some Shootist trivia. Remember the guy JW shoots coming in his window and puts one in his forehead while he's on the ground? That's "the most interesting man in the world" in his younger days getting three seconds of screen time.
Never knew that. Incredible trivia lesson. Now I'll have to watch the movie for the nth time to catch that. Thank you Matt. :)
 

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Great picture! Thanks for posting it. It ends my personal speculation that the ivory on these guns was "aged" with a tea bag.
I think the gun that was allegedly stained with tea (according to an article in The American Rifleman) was this Colt that Wayne used in most of his Cowboy movies.

 

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Here's a trivia question for you JW fans, (99% of us).....What's that .45-70 cartridge doing among the pistol cartridges in the loops? I have an idea but I'll let you guys chime in first, jd45
 

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Here's a trivia question for you JW fans, (99% of us).....What's that .45-70 cartridge doing among the pistol cartridges in the loops? I have an idea but I'll let you guys chime in first, jd45
I read that it was to remind him about how many rounds he had left in the belt by feel. But I think it would be to separate .45 colt from .44-40.
 

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Wyatt, I agree with you on the first part. In fact, I saw a film clip in which JW hisself explained the reason for it. The second part I have to take issue with, of course not intending to argue, just stating my opinion. I wouldn't want two different caliber cartridges in my gunbelt, rather, I'd want the advantage of shooting one out of both my revolver & rifle, if at all possible. That was the beauty of the .44WCF cartridge, when it was first introduced in collaboration with Colt. jd45
 
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