Guns that Won the West
The West and its land were there for the taking, but it was no place for the timid or the weak. The men who conquered the West - the Outlaw, the Lawman, the Gambler, the Buffalo Hunter, and the Frontiersman - earned reputations that inspired the era of legends that continues today.
“Guns That Won the West” features firearms from the Frontiersman, who used the flintlock muskets and pistols, to the collection of commemorative guns, donated to the museum by recent citizens of Dodge City. The collection starts off with an extensive collection of Winchester firearms, including a rare Winchester advertisement board which is in mint condition.
The Buffalo Hunter includes many items that he would have used. It contains Sharps Rifles and one rifle belonging to Prairie Dog Dave Morrow, the man known to have shot a white buffalo, which he later sold to Charles Rath for $1,000.00.
The guns of choice for the Gambler of the time were pocket pistols, derringers, and belly guns. Included within the exhibit is the authentic Keno Goose from the Long Branch Saloon along with many other artifacts important to the gambler.
There are numerous guns, authentic badges, and other items used by the Lawman. There is a gun believed to have belonged to Bill Tilghman and also one belonging to Bat Masterson.
In the center of the exhibit you will find a firearm with a real history. It belonged to Ben Thompson; his brother Billy used it to shoot the Sheriff of Ellsworth, Kansas. Around the corner you will be greeted by a lawman and an outlaw in a ‘Shoot-out’ on Front Street. This diorama depicts Dodge City in 1878, with the train tracks in the background; it looks as if they just stepped out of the Long Branch Saloon. This area of the exhibit also contains numerous firearms probably carried by the Outlaw. A rifle believed to have belonged to a member of the Dalton gang is among these.
To finish out the experience is a dedication to five of the most colorful lawmen who served in Dodge City: Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Ed Masterson, Bill Tilghman, and Ham Bell. All lived very colorful and long lives, except for Ed Masterson who was the only lawman killed in the line of duty.