Honoring The Spirit of the Old West
America Remembers proudly introduces The Chisholm Trail Tribute Rifle commemorating the legendary Chisholm Trail and the men who rode its unforgiving miles.
It was a time and a place that will never be forgotten. For nearly two decades after the Civil War, vast herds of longhorn cattle were driven from ranches all over Texas, from up north through the Indian Nations to the railheads in Kansas. It was a grueling trek that broke men and made fortunes. The route was called the Chisholm Trail, and its story is a stirring tale of hardship, adventure, dogged determination, and enterprising zeal.
Today, fans of the Wild West fondly recall the legendary personalities and locations that played such a prominent role in this epic chapter of American history. When you think of cities like Fort Worth, Abilene, Laredo, San Antonio, Dodge City, Wichita, or the legendary Red River, you probably conjure up images of cowboys, cattle, and legendary lawmen of the Wild West. Many of the most famous lawmen from the Old West era served in the cattle towns of the 1870’s and 1880’s, including Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Wild Bill Hickok. Hollywood recognized America’s fascination with this era, and they embraced and romanticized this special period in our history with classic Western movies and television series celebrating this all American experience. Many of us grew up enjoying these legendary films and television series, often wishing we could have experienced the Wild West first-hand.
The Chisholm Trail
The demands of the Civil War severely depleted the supply of cattle east of the Mississippi River. Because of its scarcity, beef was selling for up to fifty dollars a head on the east coast. The situation was totally different in Texas where herds of cattle sold for only one or two dollars a head.
Joseph McCoy was a cattle buyer in Illinois and came up with a profitable means of matching supply with demand. He arrived at Abilene, Kansas, where the Kansas Pacific Railroad had established a railhead. McCoy bought 480 acres of land, and built corrals and shipping yards capable of holding up to 3,000 head of Texas cattle. The main problem was getting the cattle from Texas to Abilene, but McCoy knew that the route existed, extending at least as far north as the Kansas border.
Even before the Civil War, U.S. military surveyors had mapped out north-south routes through the Indian territories that are now Oklahoma. Many of these trails followed traditional Indian trails or the old routes of buffalo migrations. In 1864, Jesse Chisholm, a trader of Scottish/Cherokee ancestry, established a series of trading posts along this route, which shortly afterward became known as “Chisholm’s Trail.” McCoy sent out surveyors to mark the route from Abilene south to Chisholm’s trading posts, and on to the Red River at Red River Station.
In 1867, McCoy advertised his shipping terminal in Abilene and invited Texas drovers to bring their stock to this town and cattle buyers to come of Abilene. It wasn’t long before Abilene became a boomtown. Millions of longhorn cattle were driven from Texas to Kansas over what was now known as the Chisholm Trail.
For the working cowboy, life on the trail varied from exciting to arduous and miserable. Herds could vary from 500-3,000 heads. In addition to rain, hail, drought, floods, sinkholes, alkali water, snakes, and insects, the cowboys had to deal with hostile Indians, cattle thieves, and unfriendly homesteaders. Anything from prairie lightening to a casual gesture, could set off a stampede. The trek would take about four months and the cowboy would receive $100, most or all of which would be spent in the bars, card palaces, and brothels of Abilene.
Abilene’s success as a cowtown would within a few years, ironically, drive out the cattle trade. Local merchants and settlers soon grew weary of the noise, dirt, smell. They wanted civilization, a place to run a business, and raise a family. By the end of the 1880’s, the trail drivers and the range cattle industry were a thing of the past, replaced by ranches and the mighty railroad. However, the impact from these first cattle drives, and the resulting establishment of beef as a favorite American staple, contributed greatly to shaping the destiny of the Western frontier. Today, cattle and cowboys continue to play a prominent role in America’s great Southwest and Western states.
The Chisholm Trail Tribute Rifle
Now you can relive the adventures of the Chisholm Trail as America Remembers celebrates this special era in our history with “The Chisholm Trail Tribute Rifle.” For this Tribute, we have selected a firearm that is often referred to as “The Gun that Won the West,” a detailed recreation of the legendary Winchester Model ’73 rifle.
This handsome Tribute is decorated with artwork honoring the cattlemen and cowboys of this era. Available only from America Remembers, the Chisholm Trail Tribute Rifle is issued in cooperation with the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Oklahoma, a center dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the great history and heritage of the old Chisholm Trail and the other Cattle Trails of the late 19th century. The edition is strictly limited to 300 Tribute rifles.
The America Remembers Chisholm Trail Tribute Rifle is a sculpted celebration of a dramatic and important era in American history. On the right side of the receiver, just behind the loading gate, is a typical scene along the trail, depicting a mounted cowboy, a steer, and the chuckwagon. To the right is a handsomely etched portrait of Jesse Chisholm, for whom the trail was named, and to the left is a depiction of a cowboy branding a yearling.
On the left side of the 24-karat gold decorated receiver an image depicts cowboys driving a vast herd of Texas longhorn cattle, closely following a chuckwagon, as was the actual practice on the trail. The artwork was inspired by the spectacular bronze sculpture, titled “On The Chisholm Trail,” which is on display at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. To the left is a portrait of Joseph G. McCoy, the entrepreneur who built the shipping yard that drew the cattle and cowboys from Texas, and on the right is a vignette of a cowboy roping a calf.
The walnut buttstock and forearm are polished and elegantly finished. On the buttstock, our artisans laser etch realistic portrayals of the lean and hardy Texas longhorn cattle, surrounded by the floral scrollwork popular during the last half of the nineteenth century. The buttstock also features a laser-etched map of the Chisholm Trail. The forearm is decorated with a scroll inscribed “Chisholm Trail Heritage Center – Relive the Adventure,” along with a depiction of a cowboy and a herd of longhorns.
The hard-riding cowboys of the Chisholm Trail and their exploits have thrilled and inspired generations. Don’t miss this opportunity to remember and honor the cowboys who played such an important role in our Nation’s heritage.
Since the “Chisholm Trail Rifle” is a working rifle, we will arrange delivery through a licensed firearms dealer of your choice.
I wish to reserve the “Chisholm Trail Rifle,” a working 1873 Rifle, at the current issue price of $2,395*. Each rifle is numbered and registered within the limited edition of 300, and is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Thirty day return privilege.
Please charge my credit card a deposit of $195 per rifle. I will pay the balance at the rate of $100 per month, with no interest or carrying charge.
* All orders are subject to acceptance and credit verification prior to shipment. Sales tax is required in certain states and will be added. Shipping and handling will be added to each order. Virginia residents please add sales tax.