Mountain Men movie Short muzzle loaders?

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Few of those old movies were historically correct.

I can't count how many guys in the spaghetti westerns had a probably Uberti 1858 Remington with obvious percussion nipples, i.e. not converted and a belt full of looped .45's

Or Josey Wales with the Confederates that had 1903 slings on their 61 Springfields, fresh out of the prop room.

It's hokey, that's what makes them fun
 

beyu

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Far Horizons is a pretty typical 1950s movie. Overall, it is pretty silly.

The worst of it is concocting a romance between Heston's character and Sacajawea who is played by Donna Reed, of all people!

I suppose they may have hit upon some actual history while they were indulging their taste for fantasy...
 
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I bought Bob Woodfill’s book, The Hawken Rifle, Its Evolution from 1822-1870 (2020). Chapter 18 describes 3 short barrel Hawken rifles (less than 30” bbl) that he believes were built by Sam Hawken in St. Louis in the 1850s. On of the three has a 23-13/16” .47 caliber barrel.
All this is later than the timeframe of the Mountain Men movie, but I thought it was interesting, as was the entire book.
 

SPQR70AD

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Far Horizons is a pretty typical 1950s movie. Overall, it is pretty silly.

The worst of it is concocting a romance between Heston's character and Sacajawea who is played by Donna Reed, of all people!

I suppose they may have hit upon some actual history while they were indulging their taste for fantasy...
if they showed real history in a movie nobody would watch it. it would show a horrible filthy short existence for the people of that era. would you like to see a historic movie of one indian tribe after another dying out from smallpox? or a medieval movie of millions dying from the black plague?
 
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MVA58065_800x.jpeg
Looks like a Curly Gostomsky Trade Gun!
 
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My maternal grandfather said, "If you make it to 50, you might as well say you are 75." He made that statement at 95, so he had some real perspective.

A question if I may, what was an "average" life span for a mountain man during that period?
Probably about 50! If you include murders, accidents, bad water or food poisoning, etc.
 

beyu

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if they showed real history in a movie nobody would watch it. it would show a horrible filthy short existence for the people of that era. would you like to see a historic movie of one indian tribe after another dying out from smallpox? or a medieval movie of millions dying from the black plague?
Probably not. Life for most people way back in THE DAY was often pretty brutal. But in the case of Sacajawea, her contribution to the Lewis and Clarke expedition was truly impressive. She was a young women who had very recently given birth, but there she was on that arduous journey, guiding the expedition while caring for her infant. There was no romance with either Lewis or Clarke, as she was married to a French Canadian who also came on the trip.

I think the true story, well told would make very good film. But Hollywood can't help itself. Besides, they have mostly contempt for their audience, anyway.
 

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Probably not. Life for most people way back in THE DAY was often pretty brutal. But in the case of Sacajawea, her contribution to the Lewis and Clarke expedition was truly impressive. She was a young women who had very recently given birth, but there she was on that arduous journey, guiding the expedition while caring for her infant. There was no romance with either Lewis or Clarke, as she was married to a French Canadian who also came on the trip.

I think the true story, well told would make very good film. But Hollywood can't help itself. Besides, they have mostly contempt for their audience, anyway.
to back up what I said about most of them not living that long Sacajawea died at 24
 

Notchy Bob

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I've been following this thread for several days, enjoying the memories. Yep, The Mountain Men was trite, hokey, predictable... Everything we love in a good western. And Victoria Racimo in buckskins... be still, my beating heart!

I have an old copy of the movie in fullscreen, but we gave up television 10-12 years ago. I probably ought to get a DVD player and a widescreen copy of the movie.

I'm not good at keeping up with popular culture. Never have been. My wife saw the movie listed in the "Now Playing" section of the newspaper back when the film was first released. Somewhat reluctantly, she told me about it, and we went to see it. Our son was maybe six or seven years old at the time, but he came with us. I sure did enjoy it!

I saw a photo of Charlton Heston's rifle in another thread recently (EDIT: See @waarp8nt 's post, #17 in this thread for a picture of Heston's flintlock rifle). I did a little poking around on the web, and found rifles carried by both Brian Keith and Charlton Heston on the Rock Island Auctions website. These came with certificates of authenticity and a photo of both actors holding these rifles, which evidently sold in December, 2018. Here are pictures from the RIA website of the rifle carried by Charlton Heston...

Charlton Heston Rifle.png
... and the one carried by Brian Keith:

Brian Keith Rifle.png


According to the description on the RIA website, the Heston rifle was made by Thompson/Center, and the Keith rifle is a "Ranson Hawken" made in Italy. Both were worked over and modified by Frank Costanza. It looks like the T/C triggerguard was swapped out for an Italian replacement on the Heston rifle, and both appear to be missing their rear sights. The Keith rifle has a dovetail plug in its place, and the Heston rifle has a rawhide or leather wrap where the rear sight would be.

What a great movie! Great thread, too!

...and thanks to @pab1 for the photo of that gal...

Notchy Bob
 
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Notchy Bob

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I found a little more about the guns used in this movie, for those who are interested.

First, The NRA's National Firearms Museum website has a page devoted to the flintlock rifle used by Charlton Heston, and they show a pretty good photograph of it:

Heston Flintlock - Mountain Men.png
They also have a 7+ minute video of Senior Curator Phil Schreier talking about the rifle. I was not impressed. He never actually said who made the rifle, just saying it was "Italian." He seemed to think it resembled an actual Hawken rifle (although he did acknowledge that the originals were heavier), and he called the brass tacks "beads." There really wasn't much said about the rifle itself. You can check out the webpage here: Charlton Heston Rifle

It appears that many of the guns used in The Mountain Men, including the two percussion rifles in post #74 and the flintlock shown above, were owned and provided to the movie-makers by Stembridge Gun Rentals. This outfit was started in about 1920, and it had a colorful history that is worth looking up if you are interested in this sort of thing. However, in 2007, Stembridge sold off most of their guns, many of them through Little John's Auction Service. If you click that link, it will take you to a PDF of a Little John's catalog for an auction on June 5, 2007, featuring quite a few guns in there that were connected with The Mountain Men, including the three rifles shown in this thread. There is an index on the second page of the catalog with movie titles, and page numbers for listings of firearms associated with each movie. The guns used in The Mountain Men are scattered all through the catalog.

So, these guns have evidently changed hands a few times. The NRA ended up with the flintlock, and the two percussion rifles were sold again in 2018 via the Rock Island Auctions. I don't know who bought them, or where they are now.

I was also interested in the musket that was used by Victoria Racimo:

Victoria Racimo (2).jpg

I believe that is the same gun as the one in this photo of Stephen Macht, as "Heavy Eagle":

Stephen Macht - Mountain Men.png

That looks like a nice gun, and the view of the muzzle in the photo of Victoria Racimo shows a pretty big bore. Someone suggested it might be one of Curly Gostomski's early North Star West guns, as he was known to have made some in the larger gauges, and I thought the same thing myself. However, I found this on the Gunboards forum, written by Buck Conner in December, 2014:

“Victoria Racimo used a Northwest Trade Gun built by Frank Hall of Ft. Collins CO (5) years before that movie was made. Jerry Crandell saw it at the making of "Centennial" in Estes Park, Colorado a year before "Mountain Men", I know this is correct as it was one of (2) I had for sale at that movie. Jerry told one of the asst. directors about it and Reb Brown (movie actor) loaned him the money to purchase it. Brown was Bridger in this movie and later he got a series on Sat. morn. Kid’s programing as "Capt. America", whatever.

They the movie people beat the hell out of the weapons and everything else they used, sad. Made me sick seeing that NW gun and the shape it was in at the end of the movie.”


That's about all I could find about the musket. I did not see it in the Little John's catalog, and there's no telling where it is now.

I don't think we are allowed to post links to other forums, but if you Google "victoria racimo northwest gun" you should be able to find the thread on the Gunboards forum. In his post on that board, Buck went on to describe two GRRW flintlock Leman Indian rifles and an antique percussion Greener shotgun used by Charlton Heston, and he said the rifle used by Brian Keith was "...a Dixie Hawken percussion rifle built by Jack Gardner [sic] of Tenn. Valley Mfg." I guess we can reconcile the inconsistencies by assuming there were a lot of guns handled by Heston during the filming of this movie. However, it was the two percussion rifles that were sold by RIA that we associate most closely with John Tyler and Henry Frapp. Those were the rifles the boys were holding when they posed for their portrait:

Heston & Keith - Mountain Men.png

Those were Shinin' Times.

Notchy Bob
 
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I found a little more about the guns used in this movie, for those who are interested.

First, The NRA's National Firearms Museum website has a page devoted to the flintlock rifle used by Charlton Heston, and they show a pretty good photograph of it:

View attachment 171401
They also have a 7+ minute video of Senior Curator Phil Schreier talking about the rifle. I was not impressed. He never actually said who made the rifle, just saying it was "Italian." He seemed to think it resembled an actual Hawken rifle (although he did acknowledge that the originals were heavier), and he called the brass tacks "beads." There really wasn't much said about the rifle itself. You can check out the webpage here: Charlton Heston Rifle

It appears that many of the guns used in The Mountain Men, including the two percussion rifles in post #74 and the flintlock shown above, were owned and provided to the movie-makers by Stembridge Gun Rentals. This outfit was started in about 1920, and it had a colorful history that is worth looking up if you are interested in this sort of thing. However, in 2007, Stembridge sold off most of their guns, many of them through Little John's Auction Service. If you click that link, it will take you to a PDF of a Little John's catalog for an auction on June 5, 2007, featuring quite a few guns in there that were connected with The Mountain Men, including the three rifles shown in this thread. There is an index on the second page of the catalog with movie titles, and page numbers for listings of firearms associated with each movie. The guns used in The Mountain Men are scattered all through the catalog.

So, these guns have evidently changed hands a few times. The NRA ended up with the flintlock, and the two percussion rifles were sold again in 2018 via the Rock Island Auctions. I don't know who bought them, or where they are now.

I was also interested in the musket that was used by Victoria Racimo:

View attachment 171408

I believe that is the same gun as the one in this photo of Stephen Macht, as "Heavy Eagle":

View attachment 171409

That looks like a nice gun, and the view of the muzzle in the photo of Victoria Racimo shows a pretty big bore. Someone suggested it might be one of Curly Gostomski's early North Star West guns, as he was known to have made some in the larger gauges, and I thought the same thing myself. However, I found this on the Gunboards forum, written by Buck Conner in December, 2014:

“Victoria Racimo used a Northwest Trade Gun built by Frank Hall of Ft. Collins CO (5) years before that movie was made. Jerry Crandell saw it at the making of "Centennial" in Estes Park, Colorado a year before "Mountain Men", I know this is correct as it was one of (2) I had for sale at that movie. Jerry told one of the asst. directors about it and Reb Brown (movie actor) loaned him the money to purchase it. Brown was Bridger in this movie and later he got a series on Sat. morn. Kid’s programing as "Capt. America", whatever.

They the movie people beat the hell out of the weapons and everything else they used, sad. Made me sick seeing that NW gun and the shape it was in at the end of the movie.”


That's about all I could find about the musket. I did not see it in the Little John's catalog, and there's no telling where it is now.

I don't think we are allowed to post links to other forums, but if you Google "victoria racimo northwest gun" you should be able to find the thread on the Gunboards forum. In his post on that board, Buck went on to describe two GRRW flintlock Leman Indian rifles and an antique percussion Greener shotgun used by Charlton Heston, and he said the rifle used by Brian Keith was "...a Dixie Hawken percussion rifle built by Jack Gardner [sic] of Tenn. Valley Mfg." I guess we can reconcile the inconsistencies by assuming there were a lot of guns handled by Heston during the filming of this movie. However, it was the two percussion rifles that were sold by RIA that we associate most closely with John Tyler and Henry Frapp. Those were the rifles the boys were holding when they posed for their portrait:

View attachment 171412

Those were Shinin' Times.

Notchy Bob
thanks for sharing this photo of Heston and Kieth in costume.
 

waksupi

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Phil Spangenberger said and I quote
"When I was the black powder editor at Guns & Ammo Magazine (G&A), Syd Stembridge called and asked if I could help prop man Bud Shelton select some authentic firearms for Charlton Heston’s then-latest movie The Mountain Men (1980). Bud had purchased several commercially produced, so-called “Hawken” muzzle loading rifles, but they were too modern looking with their polyurethane coated stocks, short blued barrels and brass furniture. Unfortunately, Shelton said he’d already purchased them and had to use them. When I suggested that I knew an artisan who could give them a proper 1830s look, he agreed to have them “uglified.” The guns were sent to my longtime pal Frank Costanza, who within about ten days, transformed these modern-looking smokepoles into what looked like well-used, cut-down, tackdecorated with rawhide repairs, frontierera Plains rifles—the real deals!"
Frank was a real treat. My X and I would go visit he and Leanna. Frank and I would work in the shop, and the gals would do gal stuff.
 
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Mountian men with Charlton Heston and Brian Keith; mOvies not being accurate, I did notice in the opening scenes thier muzzle loaders had very short barrels: Anyone note make/model and time period accuracy?
Do you mean that they use the wrong guns in the movies? LMFAO! Only people like us would notice that. lol. Older movies are the worst for that.
 
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