Originally written in the 1950s, Guns of the Old West is a factual account of the guns used during, and after, one of the most romanticized and often misconstrued periods in American history. It covers a wide array of firearms, from the smallest of hideaway pistols - the Derringer - to the largest of Colt's single-action revolvers, the more recent Mauser "broomhandle," and the Colt 1911 auto pistol. Illustrated throughout, this book describes not only the evolution of fighting pistols and rifles during the 1800s and before, but also the men who created and used them. Of particular interest is the chapter titled "Frontier Life Insurance" that defines the code by which men lived and fought with their pistols. It was a time when the handgun was both a defensive and offensive weapon, much more than today, when it is considered mainly for defense. The chapter on "The Long Guns" covers the development of frontier rifles, from the famous Kentucky rifle of the plains and the mountain man's Hawken to the ever-popular Winchester lever actions.