Your April 2019 issue is once again a fine, hard-to-put-down delight, and I’m always struck by the attention to detail. That said, I must bring to your attention an annoying habit of some good writers to use a bad reference, the latest of which came from author George Layman in his otherwise marvelous history of the Smith & Wesson Schofield top-break revolver. The problem is that there is not now, nor was there ever, a cartridge identified (except erroneously) as the “.45 Long Colt.” I don’t know who the originator of this foolishness was, but he ought to be used as a moving target by the ghost of James Butler Hickok! The cartridge is, and always has been, the “.45 Colt.” Period. My guess is that this goof was thought to be a way to separate the .45 Colt (above right) from the more recent and shorter .45 ACP (for “Automatic Colt Pistol”) cartridge (above left), both of which saw action in the West, though the latter only somewhat late in the game in the days of John “Black Jack” Pershing and Pancho Villa. The .45 Colt is a marvelous cartridge and a proven fight-stopper, as any stroll through various Old West cemeteries just might affirm. Meanwhile—with tongue mildly planted in cheek—get it out fast, put it away slow and never, ever holster an empty gun!
George Layman responds: Yes, the term “.45 Long Colt” is in common usage, though it is certainly dubious, and nobody seems to know where or why it all began.
Thanks to Jerry Lobdill for his fine article “How Jim Miller Killed Pat Garrett,” in the August 2018 Wild West. I also enjoyed the photos. My maternal grandfather was an Ake. We have an annual Ake reunion. Thus it caught my attention when Lobdill wrote that saloonkeeper Jeff Ake was one of the men who testified Garrett had threatened Wayne Brazel’s life.
Chuck Lyons’ Western Enterprise story “Bothersome Blue Pebbles” [February 2019] is very interesting yet might benefit from some clarification. Hundreds of prospectors did not descend on Yogo Gulch in 1866. Rather, a small group of prospectors found placer gold in upper Yogo Gulch. However, Indians encouraged the party to move along before they had a chance to conduct any definitive prospecting. Word of this earlier discovery eventually got around, and in 1878–79 a rush of gold prospectors and associated entourage, maybe 1,000 souls total, descended on upper Yogo Gulch, and Yogo City was born. By the early 1880s the entire gulch had been prospected with discouraging results. While working the lower gulch, prospectors noticed but disregarded tiny blue pebbles. Jake Hoover was indeed at Yogo City around this time, but it wasn’t until 1895, when his placer mining in the lower gulch led to the discovery that the bothersome blue stones were valuable sapphires. By then Jake had long since moved back to his little spread at Pig Eye Basin.
The difference between upper and lower Yogo Gulch is key to all of this. Yogo Gulch runs southeasterly. A few miles below the early gold discoveries and Yogo City (the upper gulch) the gulch eroded through an east-west trending formation, a narrow dike (from here down is the lower gulch). This 50-million-year-old dike had intruded through the overlying 350-million-year-old Madison limestone. The sapphires originated in the dike, not in the limestone. Jim Ettien’s 1896 sapphire discovery occurred on the bench above and east of Yogo Gulch. Here, soft weathered dike material containing sapphires had been exposed by gopher diggings. The 5-mile-long vein and deposit became known as the Yogo dike, or Yogo deposit, not Yogo Gulch.
The devastating flash flood of 1923 did not wash away mine buildings, but rather holding dams and weathering floors, along with most of their contained ore and sluices and flume lines. Of interest, but another story: Three prospectors, discouraged with the Yogo play, left in the fall of 1879, headed for winter camp, but not before discovering gold in the Judith Mountains. The town of Maiden was born two years later.
Great magazine. Keep up the good work.
I am a Western fan and was surprised to find on. P. 14 of Roundup in your April 2019 issue the item “Fuller Fame” about my all-time favorite cowboy actor. I have admired Robert Fuller and his acting on Laramie and Wagon Train for as long as I can remember. In Laramie John Smith as Slim Sherman was a fine actor, but I do believe Fuller as Jess Harper enhanced his performance. The characteristics these two men demonstrated on the show are what true men should be. And from what I have seen/heard, Fuller carries these adored characteristics in real life. I truly think that is what makes the best all-around actors—the ones who live and play what they believe on and off the screen.
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