The United States of the mid 19th century is ripe with stories of its timeless legends and colorful characters who helped weave the historical events that defined the Great American West. The stories and movies about the adventures of lonesome cowboys, men with black hats, or brave lawmen of the Old West who clashed frequently in conflicts such as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the duals in the dusty streets of Virginia City, and tales of quick justice in Dodge City, continue to capture our imagination.
When we talk of cowboys and other figures of the Wild West, we immediately picture a man on horseback. But no cowboy would roam the West or walk the streets without a gun…and such a gritty figure would most likely wield a very distinctive long-barreled revolver called the Colt 45. In fact, no gun in the Old West was as important or left such an indelible mark as the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, or more widely known simply as the Colt Peacemaker.
It was said that "God made man, but Sam Colt made them equal."
And why it was called the Peacemaker and the “Great Equalizer” is as related to business and market dominance today as a cowboy is related to his boots.
The Colt 45 leveled the competitive playing field because it equalized the relationship among fighting males…especially in the strong honor culture of the Old West, where discipline was enforced through one on one combat and duals deriving from even the faintest slight. So much so that the reason people used to be more polite back then could be argued that it was not because they were nicer people, it's because you might get killed otherwise. And that, as my fellow co-host Chris Beall would say, was considered to be a great inconvenience.
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