Comments about ‘Was Duchesne farmer the Sundance Kid?’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 17 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

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The 1895 Winchester was the first non-detachable box magazine rifle that Winchester produced. It was actually designed by John Browning, chambered for numerous high-power smokeless cartridges of the day. Calibers available in the 1895 Winchester were .30-40 Krag, .38-72 Winchester, .40-72 Winchester, .303 British, .35 Winchester, .405 Government, 7.62 Russian, .30-03, and .30-06. The caliber is stamped either on the barrel, just in front of the receiver (e.g., 30 US), or on top of the receiver front (e.g., 7.62). The 1895 was available in several different configurations (herein called 'Models'). Seven of every nine Winchester 1895 guns that were produced, were Muskets. The gun was produced from 1895 through 1931, and during that 36-year period there were over 426,000 guns sold. Production began again in 1995, with this later production ending with the closing of the Winchester factory in 2006.


"Thank you again for your answer. Now maybe you can pinpoint where the trail was lost at the Mississippi River."

You're very welcome. As for he Mississippi, I don't know off hand but I think you'd find that information in Charles Siringo's account of the aftermath of the Wilcox robbery in "A Cowboy Detective" which seems to be the source of the statement in question.

"I believe you are right. This would then mean, either Sundance and Will Carver used the same rifle or Carver allowed Sundance to give his rifle away."

Maybe, but I think a more likely explanation is that both, at one time or another, had 1895 Winchesters. It was a very popular rifle at the time, especially with lawmen (at least I've seen a number of contemporaneous photos to this effect)--presumably outlaws saw the value of the weapon as well. In fact, Siringo himself used an 1895 Winchester as I recall.

Horse Creek Cowboy

Been away for a week or two. Find nothing seems to have changed. Next time someone is in New Mexico, one should check with the Town of Socorro on whether they still have the 1901 jail logs. If so, it might strenthen the argument relating to 1901. A rifle purportedly previously belong to Sundance is in the Savery Museum near Dixon along with a phone booth which has an interesting history.
Next time one goes to Mogollon, remember not to drive too fast on the curves.

Just A Reader

"As for he Mississippi, I don't know off hand but I think you'd find that information in Charles Siringo's account of the aftermath of the Wilcox robbery in "A Cowboy Detective" which seems to be the source of the statement in question."

Thanks Zeke. That may well be the source of the "statement" (I've been told Mr. Siringo was not always right either)and it does not explain the lack of a reasonable location (or thought). "Lost the trail at the Mississippi River", means little more than, "it was somewhere east of California".

If Siringo said, "trail was lost on Mars," you gonna use that? Should some thought be given before we use someone else's words? What if they are incorrect?

My point is, if you really don't know what you are talking about, don't open your mouth and remove all doubt. Worse, don't write about it. It seems the more the "historian's" write, repeat and then rewrite again, the farther we are led astray. I am really not convinced, that just because someone writes it down, it is fact. Don't think so. Do you?


Jerry Nickle

According to William French, manager of the WS ranch, Butch was in Colfax County New Mexico in May 1901 because two men were in Colfax County with the kayaks French had given Butch in May 1900. This is more evidence Butch was not in Argentina in 1901.


"If Siringo said, "trail was lost on Mars," you gonna use that? Should some thought be given before we use someone else's words? What if they are incorrect?...Don't think so. Do you?"

My intention in posting here was neither to defend nor denigrate Ms. Ernst's new book. It wasn't to argue either (it was to answer a question about a rifle cartridge). That said, outlaw history is, as far as I can tell, the study of ca. 100 year-old rumors--at least for the most part. There's never going to be much certainty and that leads to various theories and interpretations. That, for me, is what makes it so exciting. If you're hoping to find proof and capital T Truth in this subject... well, I'll just have to wish you good luck.
As for wronging folks' ancestors and the intentions or skills of various history writers, I will steer clear of that entire subject as I have nothing to contribute.

Just A Reader

Zeke, you should be respected for your honest opinion and thoughts. "Wronging folks' ancestors", not my doing either. Not involved.

"Truth, intentions and skills of history writers", here we may differ. Should there not be standards, a code of ethics, in other words, when a "historian" publishes his/her work, should that work not be a result of the author's best, honest effort of, (to the best of his/her ability), to know what he/she says is factual, verified information. If other's information is used, the same process should also be applied.

If this is not done, please tell me what purpose has been served, by writing what ever you feel like. Whether it really happened that way, is not an issue, according to you. With due respect, Zeke, I think then your "historian" has become a writer of fiction. When words are written that clearly describe unreasonable events. or in some cases, aren't even close, should there not be a limit Sir?
If one does not write what happened, why write it?

If you like sports, Zeke, when you read a final score, do you want it to accurate, or just close?



"If you like sports, Zeke, when you read a final score, do you want it to accurate, or just close?"

Yes, I like sports quite a bit. Outlaw history (well, any history I suppose) sure doesn't seem like sports; one doesn't get a clear final score. History seems to be a matter of discourse, debate, a search for clues, etc. It's a continuous process. There is no endpoint at which we can take a tally and point out a winner. I am not here to defend anyone (RE: "your "historian""). But if one were to write a history of the Wild Bunch with all the hearsay and unverifiable stories taken out, it would be a very short, much less interesting, and probably less informative body of work. If this Mississippi River business is such a big deal (who am I to judge?), hopefully the inaccuracy can be rectified by future researchers.
If you think Ms. Ernst's book is such a misrepresentation of history you should consider complaining to the University of Oklahoma Press. I, on the other hand, thought it was a valuable contribution to the topic, flawed though it was in ways.


Basically, I wonder if this debate might be less contentious if all involved developed a little bit more tolerance for uncertainty. This sort of history leaves us with scenarios that likely, probably, possibly, or just might have occurred; not Truths. This uncertainty has always seemed implicit to me in reading on this topic, from Kelly and Horan up to the present. Outright dishonesty and trying to pass fiction off as fact is a bit of a different matter and can get an author in some trouble, especially with a university press. I don't see any evidence of anything rising to that level.
With sports you get a cut-and-dried final score.
With history (particularly of the 100 years-ago-outlaw sort) you get... well, it's messy.

As we seem to have very different views of how folk history should be accumulated, that's all I'm inclined to say on the subject; I've described my view in more detail than was perhaps needed and that, rather than Ernst or Butch and Sundance, seems to be our point of disagreement.

Horse Creek Cowboy

Oops, Mistyped. Need to check the Magdelena jail rather than Socorro.


Zeke, I can't help but wonder if you aren't my Senator! With all due respect, of course.

Seems like reporting a sports score, is just stating what has happened. Should not history be similiar?

It has been enjoyable, let's put it in the barn.

A friend

Disintrested Observer

The game AF, Anon., JAR and others are playing is called discredit the historian. They are just going through Ernst's book picking out things to criticize. The main purpose is to discredit her by pointing out small flaws in her research, thereby hoping to discredit her and her book. Once this is done, they can then present Mr. Nickels findings with little opposition. This tactic rarely works, and usually shows the small mindedness of those who engage in it.

Siringo pages 322 & 323 describe how Siringo loses the trail at the mouth of the Arkansas River on the Mississippi River. He calls one of the outlaws he was chasing Owens.

Jeesh, what a bunch of snarky hacks.


Disintrested Observer

A historian is an individual who studies and writes about history, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all events in time. Although "historian" can be used to describe amateur and professional historians alike, it is reserved more recently for those who have acquired graduate degrees in the discipline.

"historian" can be used to describe amateur"
Discredit the historian. Jeesh,

Jerry Nickle

What is the significance of the Magdelena jail?

Jerry Nickle

After the Wilcox robbery Charlie Siringo followed Butch and Elza Lays trail to southern Utah and then lost it. Butch and Elza went on to Alma New Mexico which Siringo never discovered. Siringo believing he was on their trail went through Colorado, Kansas, Indian Territory, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi. Donna Ernst is trying to follow Siringo and in this case Siringo was lost.

Jerry Nickle

Come on now Disintrested Observer
Read pages 188 198 in Ernst new book.
Do you call that a small flaw?

Disintrested Observer

So, do you consider David McCullough an "Historian?" He graduated in English Literature. I do believe Donna Ernst has written two books on Longabaugh, the last by University of Oklahoma Press, and your have published how many?

Disintrested Observer

Mr. Nickle - and your problem with pages 188-198 is?

Disintrested Observer

Oh, yes I think you called this a forgery.

Disintrested Observer

Of course, you call anything that doesn't agree with your theory a forgery. How convenient.

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