Saturday, 30 January 2010

I should have put a first class stamp on my letter!

You've heard of snail mail, how about pony mail? Thanks to the endurance of 183 men and their ponies the good town folks between Missouri and California always had mail. And with a 10 day wait and at a cost of around one dollar per half an ounce a parcel, it was an incredible service. So how do I get to work for Pikes Peak Express? Simple, you don't need a driving licence for a coach- that's too cumbersome. To earn $100 per month, you must be born in the saddle, young and sturdy. $100 per month! Do I need to worry about dog bites and cat scratches? No not all. Only marauding tribesmen, cunning bandits and scorching plains-but fear not, you will only be exposed to them at intervals of 75-100 miles until the next fool...I mean....postal delivery man takes over. Sorry, the vacancy has been filled by the Telegraph Mast. No need to apply.

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures designed by Mark Copplestone)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Cowboys were carnivores not vegetarians! The notion of a group of cowboys huddled around the fire scooping up beans out of a tin is misleading. Yes cowboys did eat what nature provided as long as it had four legs and was covered in meat. Why carry a heavy load of beans when you could shoot buffalo, antelope, deer or fox? Tasty as it might seem, steak only nights are not healthy and must have had an impact on their health and waists-likewise let's not forget they must have been plagued by bad breath rather than wind as portrayed in the Western spoof "Blazing Saddles".

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures designed by Mark Copplestone)
I thought you only meant a "suspended sentence"?!!!

There was nothing tame about the Wild West in the early days. Given that the Wild West was far from civilization, you didn't have court houses or the proper legal infrastructure to enforce the law. Cattle rustlers and other criminals must have had a field day doing what came to them naturally. But the towns folk would have none of that and literally took justice into their own hands and formed vigilante committees. Woe to anyone foolhardy enough to disturb the "peace" and have the misfortune of getting caught. If there weren't already a gallow erected then a "hanging tree" or a telegraph pole would make do.

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures designed by Mark Copplestone)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I'd fill you up with lead but then are full of lead.
Having a face to face gunfight was pretty much rare in the Wild West. Chances are you'd be shot in the back by a sore loser from what you thought was pretty successful poker game or by a jealous rival vying for the attention of one of the saloon gals. No Hollywoodesque showdowns. We need to thank City Slicker journos, whose minds were filled with visions of Arthurian jousts exported from Victoria Britain, for this somewhat rose tinted embellishment .

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures, designed by Mark Copplestone)

Poor Mrs Havershim-her husband left her three years ago. Look on the bright side, at least he had a lucky escape.

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures, designed by Mark Copplestone)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Oh no! Somebody spiked the punch at the barn dance!
What's 7 foot tall and smells?-An outhouse of course! You wouldn't want to be caught short on a a cold, cloudy, wintery night. An outhouse, if you had the luxury of possessing one of these, was located 50-150 feet away from the home. So you literally had to answer the call of nature. Once you managed to get to the cubicle, there was no electric light to switch nor a sewage system to flush. On top of that, there weren't any windows!

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures designed by Mark Copplestone)

I spy with my little eye something starting with g...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

In the Wild West never assume someone is scratching their butt.

In the Wild West, you'd more likely be shot from behind by a rascal with a vendetta than in a fast draw. Take the example of Wild Bill Hickock, executed with a bullet to the back of the head whilst leisurely playing a game of cards. Who could blame the scoundrel: would you confront a gunslinger with a mean sounding nickname?

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures designed by Mark Copplestone)
A bad time to lose a contact lens...

Being far away from the well patrolled towns of the civilised East, Wild West towns were plagued by ruthless gangs of thugs, outlaws, desperadoes and down on their luck cattle men. What made the situation worse that these low lives were young men in the pursuit of a new life away from an admonishing parent. Rabid hoodlums united together, roamed from town to town, raiding banks and saloons and being a general nuisance. Recognisable by their adopted gang uniform and rituals, you didn't want to get in a blood feud with these guys. The only ones gutsy enough to stand up to them were Lawmen, hired mercenary Pinkertons and the Vigilantes, towns folk who were fed up with the bedlum in their midsts.

(Wargames Foundry Old West Figures, designed by Mark Copplestone)