John Wayne's First Gun
This is an original Model 1863 percussion rifled musket made by the U.S. federal armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, for the Union Soldiers to use during the Civil War of 1861-65. It is fitted with a Springfield Armory Model 1861 hammer and is 58 caliber with a 40” long round barrel. Its walnut stock was later profusely carved in Northwest Coast Indian motifs. In the 1920s it became part of the Fox Film Studio arsenal and was selected for 22 year-old John Wayne to use in his first starring role, the 1930 epic Western, The Big Trail. Wayne uses it throughout the entire film and later carried it on the nationwide promotional tour heralding the film’s premiere. The underside of the stock is stamped, “FOX”, for the Fox Studios. Following the merger with Twentieth Century Films in 1935, this rifle remained in the 20th Century-Fox Studio arsenal until the Studio disbanded its Gun Room. It was then later sold as Item #112, at Little John’s Auction Service on Sunday, January 16th, 2000, which featured over 200 other firearms that were rented to the Hollywood film studios. It was subsequently displayed in the Real Guns for Reel Heroes Exhibition at the National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA, in 2002 and the John Wayne Exhibition, produced in conjunction with Wayne’s Batjac Company and family at the University of Southern California in 2008. Here is an original 19th century American rifle associated with the historic U.S. Civil War, the historic West, the American Indian and the Hollywood cinematic West, where it became the first gun used by John Wayne in his first starring role and his first Western.