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Bat Masterson's The Tenderfoot's Turn

Alan Brooks writes:

Some of you may know of the stories and legends surrounding the famous “Wild West” gunfighter, lawman, and Army scout, William “Bat” Masterson. What you may not know is that in 1909 the Savage Arms Company convinced Mr. Masterson to write a guide to defensive gun use as part of a promo for their new “Savage Automatic” pistol. The pistol, while advanced for its time, was overshadowed by that other pistol that god gave to John Moses Browning in 1911. As a result, the Savage Automatic has since been relegated to dark recesses in the safes of hardcore antique-gun collectors. The book, The Tenderfoot’s Turn, was lost as well… until now. After a little sleuthing, I managed to find four copies of the book in collections around the U.S. (and one in Australia). The University of Arizona’s special collections library was kind enough to scan their copy for me and so now, for the first time in nearly one hundred years, Bat Masterson’s guide to gunfighting is once again available to the general public as a TTAG exclusive. Click hereΒ to read.

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  1. Along the same lines I’d like to point out an FBI training video from 1961, showing the state of their techniques as taught by Jelly Brice and made obsolete by Jack Weaver, Col. Cooper, Chapman, James Hogue, Thell Reed, Bob Munden and the rest of the guys at Leatherslap had rendered obsolete by 1960.

  2. If I recall correctly, Laban Records, who worked the Comanche Pool in the old days, said he and most of the other cowboys spent more than half of their monthly pay on ammunition for practice shooting.

  3. I am going to seriously enjoy reading this tonight.
    A heartfelt thank you!
    I like books almost better than firearms.

  4. Many thanks Robert!! That was a wonderful read. Nice work bringing a bit of history back to life. I wonder if Tam has ever read it.

  5. A great read, surprising observations and a look at the America’s view of firearms prior to the insinuation of Progressive Marxism into the culture

  6. Sigh.

    It was drivel.


    Sorry, but…ghaa. Has to be typical Bat. I’ve heard stories about that dude…

    One I’ve heard is that in retirement (well into the 20th Century) he had a cool way of making some extra cash. He’d go to local pawn shops or the like and buy crappy old guns and resell ’em with a “letter of authenticity” to the effect of “OWNED BY BAT MASTERSON, FAMOUS FRONTIER GUNFIGHTER AND LAWMAN!!!1!” or whatever. Yup. Since just last week in fact :).

    Plus, let’s not forget that at Adobe Walls the Cheyenne and Kiowa weren’t exactly the bad guys. They were in fact the game wardens because Bat, Billie Dixon and that whole mob were outright poaching on clearly deeded Cheyenne land.


    • Judging a 19th century frontiersman by 21st century standards is not doing justice or fairness to the man or the times. Bilking a greenhorn out of a few bucks for a historic artifact isn’t akin to a Bernie Madoff.

      And game wardens don’t attack at sunrise with the intent of killing the poachers. It’s a simplistic way of looking at a very complex time and place.

      And just about all those dime novels and penny dreadfuls were drivel. Just as much of hollywood is today. Facts don’t sell as well as fiction.

  7. Thank you! Can you get a publisher interested in a re-issue? Maybe the owners of Savage Arms?

    • It’s public domain now. Anybody can print copies, same as “Frankenstein” or other old stuff. I don’t think Savage will want any part of it.

      • Neat. Took the .pdf file down to my friendly local print shop, and they ran me off a color, full-page copy and bound it for me. Added it to my “old gun books” section of my home library.

        • Fun side-note on copyright expiration dates. Every few years they extend the length of time something has to be to go out of copyright. You know why? The Mouse. That’s right. Disney lobbyists.

          This book pre-dates the first appearance of Mickey Mouse in 1928. Anything older than that is out of copyright. Anything newer, not so much…because Disney would lose billions the moment it passes.

          So nothing newer than 1928 will *ever* hit the public domain.

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