Firearms played an important role on the American frontier. Used to hunt animals for food and clothing, they also safeguarded one’s home against outlaws and other hostile elements. This definitive, scrupulously researched work describes and illustrates the many different weapons that opened up and secured the American West. Enhanced with colorful anecdotes, the vividly detailed narrative tells the dramatic story of shoulder arms, hand guns, percussion and cartridge weapons, and describes the hunters, settlers, peace officers, stagecoach drivers, soldiers, range detectives, rustlers, outlaws, Indian chiefs, and other picturesque characters who used them. Here are detailed descriptions and illustrations of the Kentucky rifle that saw battle in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812; the repeating rifle used in the Civil War; the Sharps rifle that wreaked havoc during the great buffalo hunts; the Colt revolver, used by cowboys and outlaws alike; the fast and reliable Winchester rifle, the most widely used shoulder arm of the post-Civil War era; as well as flintlock pistols, derringers, muskets, buffalo guns, carbines, signal pistols, Confederate revolvers, and many other celebrated firearms. Illustrated with nearly 500 photographs and line illustrations, this classic reference will not only be invaluable to dealers and collectors but will also appeal to Americana devotees, weaponry enthusiasts, and students of the American West.