Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Shootist

In The Shootist, the book not the Ronny Howard / Richard Boone cinematic vehicle, J B Books has holsters sewn in his vest for: "A pair of nickel plated short-barreled unsighted double action .44 Remington's obviously manufactured to order. The handle of one was black Gutta-Percha the other of pearl."

The story is set in 1901, but the Gunman is 52, and may have had those pistols a long time.

What model is that, you think?

 Keep in mind this book was written by a newspaper reporter in the mid-1970s, so his knowledge of what was extant for firearm hardware in the 1800s may be off.

Sure the Model 1858 was indeed converted to metallic cartridges, and did have a double action variants, and was well regarded for it's ruggedness (thanks top strap!), and had a 'speedloader' option of sorts...  But I dunno...  The conversion was a 5 shot, and J B Books loaded 5 unless he knew he was going to be doing some shooting, then the 6th cylinder under the hammer was loaded.

Ok, a later version of the Remington, maybe?  The 1875?  That model had the advantage of not being a rimfire ammo gun.

1888/90?  Single action only.  Based on cursory wiki research.  A Remington revolver honch might be able to correct me.  Sounds like Books has something closer to the 'New Model Pocket Army' version.

What say you?  Kluged together imaginary gun model, or a version I dunno?

That's a nice color motif, black rubber and pearl, paired.  I'm afraid that Patton movie with George C Scott makes me lean away from pearl and toward ivory, but, that's just my own prejudices.


Bob said...

Unless I know that the author is a real gun guy, I always go in expecting errors when (s)he begins talking of guns. Even in a fine classic such as Charles Portis's True Grit, there is the occasional head-scratcher, such as having Rooster flip the cylinder of his revolver closed during the infamous Corn Dodger Shooting Competition.

As for The Shootist, it's a rare example of a book that I hate far more than the movie made from it (I usually like the books better). The young man played by the affable Ron Howard in the movie is, in the book, an evil little git whom Books would have done well to shoot early on. No redeeming features. The final scene in the book, where the young man shoots the dying Books to put him out of his misery, strongly implies that the lad saw himself as famous as Bob Ford, the man who shot Jesse James.

Damn, I hate that book. *spits*

Will said...

are you aware that a sequel to the book was written, several decades later? It's about the kid and Brook's guns. I haven't read it, yet. I read a few pages, and I suspect it is about the kid learning to grow up.
BTW, I think it is written by the original author's son.

Will said...

Wasn't the movie done by John Wayne? His last one?

Bob said...


The Shootist was indeed John Wayne's last film.

Thanks, also, for mentioning a sequel to the book, but I hated the original so much that I have no desire to read a sequel, especially if it wasn't done by the original author. I regard such works as pastiche, and though they may be entertaining, they do not reflect the skills and mindset of the original author. I follow the advice of Nero Wolfe author Rex Stout in this; Stout was undecided as to whether continuations were cannibalism or vampirism of the author's work, but he believed that would-be continuators should "roll their own."

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Now I have to know what happened to Gillom.