GENERAL TOPICS > Saddlebag Tales

The Texas Kid's Gun


Texas Kid’s Gun
By Rio (a.k.a. Phillip G. Stricklin)
“The Twins” are a matched pair of Ubertis, imported by Allen Firearms in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I purchased these in 1984 after reading an article in “Guns & Ammo” magazine about the first Italian replica with the “black powder frame” (no traverse cylinder pin) and the all steel grip frame. Allen Firearms furnished the all the guns in the hit movie at the time, “Silverado”, hence the “Silverado Twins”.  They are the direct predecessors of the Cimarron Model P.

After taking delivery of these two little jewels, the first thing I did when I got them home was to give them good action jobs. The first one that I started on had a five-digit serial number, tuned out quite nicely, and I did not have any problems with it. The second with the four-digit serial number, however, tended to be a “problem child” and actually took about three times as long to get to a point where I was satisfied with the action on it.  The “problem child” is the subject of this story.

                                 Allen Firearms Old Model - the “Problem Child”

I was a member of “Guns for Hire of Arizona,” the largest Old West theatrical agency in Arizona at that time. I signed on with them in August of 1978, having experience with another group some 2 years earlier. We did gunfights and Wild West shows for the tourist attractions in the Phoenix valley like Rawhide, Pinnacle Peak Patio, and Apacheland Movie Ranch. We also did extensive convention work for just about every resort in the valley.

One of the first persons I met when I signed on was one of the owners of GFH, Ed Lewis. I was told by a friend of mine, whom was instrumental in getting me to join Guns for Hire that I was going to love working with Ed. That proved to be an understatement. In the 8+ years that I worked actively with GFH, Ed and I shared many a campfire on the side of the road, waiting for another bus load of “pilgrims” to scare the bee-jeebers out of, when we would hold up their buses like a stage holdup. We spent many an hour between shows discussing such things as which faction of the O.K. Corral shootout was in the right or wrong and other cowboy/gunfighter-related topics.

Getting back to the story, about a year or so, after I bought the Allens, Guns for Hire was contracted by the world famous Pinnacle Peak Patio to perform 2 shows a night, four days a week, for a year. Ed would be the director and would pick the crew that he wanted to work up there. So he asked me if I would consider being a member of his crew and of course, I accepted without hesitation. So I ended up working side by side with Ed, four nights a week performing the “Old Timer” show, once a night, every night, something the Peak management wanted as part of our contract.

In that show, Ed played one of the main characters, “Texas Jack Slade, a.k.a. the Texas Kid”, and I played his bumbling partner, “Rio”.  As a result of this, the “Kid” and “Rio” became very close friends and we began addressing each other as the ”Kid” and “Rio” rather than our given names, even when we were not performing. I have always thought of Ed as one of my mentors when it comes to the “Cowboy Way”.
                                            “Guns for Hire of Arizona – 1980”

During this period of time, I had contracted the “9MM auto-Bug” from some of my co-workers at my day job, and when Ed offered to trade me a S&W Model 39 for one of my Allens, I jumped on his offer. Ed really, really wanted one of the Allens and I really, really wanted his Model 39, so I gave him his choice between the two Allens, he picked the “Problem Child” and we both came away happy.

Moving ahead in time about three years to early fall of 1988, my wife and I had decided to leave the Phoenix valley to accept a job offer in Mayfield, Kentucky. By this time, the Smith and Wesson Model 39 that I got from the “Kid” had long since been traded. As a matter of fact, at that time, the only firearm that I owned was a Llama Commander-type, .45 auto, and my wife, Wendy, did not care for it much because it was hard for her to rack the slide back on it. Raising a family sometimes means sacrificing to make ends meet and I had sold off all of my “cowboy” guns. I had placed myself on the inactive list with “Guns for Hire” and had not done a show in probably six months or more, so I really did not have a need for the “cowboy” guns.

Before we were to leave for Kentucky, I decided to take the Llama .45 to a gun show to see if I would wrangle a deal for a Cattleman or a Dakota .45. On the way to the gun show, I would have to pass right by the “Kid’s” house, so I stopped by to pay him a visit. Ed had some very serious health problems and had been forced to take medical retirement from his job and also from the gunfights with “GFH”. It had been a couple months since I last seen him and I wanted to see how he was doing and to make sure he knew when we were leaving for Kentucky. The “Kid” met me at his kitchen door and after exchanging pleasantries, asked me what I was up to. I replied to him that I was on my way to the gun show to trade the Llama Commander for a Dakota .45 because Wendy did not like the auto-loader. He said, “Well hell, Rio, I’ve got a Dakota that I’d trade you for it.” I was pretty much thrilled about that prospect, because about a year earlier he had bought a brace of matching Dakotas and I had done the actions on them and knew what I would be getting. I told him that would suit me fine, and I would go get the Llama from my car.

When I got back in the house with the Llama, he was standing there in the living room with a gun wrapped up in an old sock (remember this part), I handed him the case with the auto in it and he handed me the sock. When I pulled the gun out of the sock, I felt that he had picked up the wrong gun, and I told him, “Kid, I don’t think you want to trade this gun. This is the Allen that I traded you.”

He looked me square in the eyes and said, “I know it is Rio, I want you to have it.” I could have not been any happier if he had handed me a brick of gold.

Not having to go to the gun show now, I stayed and visited with the “Kid” for a couple hours until we said our last good byes knowing that I would probably not get a chance to see him again before we left for Kentucky. I started home with a really good feeling with the “the Texas Kid’s” gun sitting beside me on the car seat, but a little sad at the same time, knowing that the “Texas Kid” and “Rio” would never step out into the street with intentions of robbing the bank again.
Jumping ahead to the spring of 1991, our family had been settled in Kentucky for about two years now. I had been keeping in contact with the Kid, calling, writing, and sending Christmas cards and such, but this year, I did not get one in return from him. I felt this was a little odd but I did not think too much of it at the time.
Being the gun nut that I am, I naturally sought out most of the good gun shops in the area, and became friendly with a couple that I frequented on a regular basis. One of them was Jerry’s Sporting Goods in Mayfield. After I had gotten to know Jerry, the owner of one shop, pretty well, I asked him to keep an eye out for a Colt Peacemaker .22 for me. I had owned a couple of these sweet shooting .22s in the past, and at that time I felt like I couldn’t live without one.

Well, low and behold, after about six months, Jerry called me at home and asked if I still wanted a Peacemaker .22. I told him that I did and he said that he’d just got a nice one in on a trade. I asked him how much he was asking for it. He told me the price and I knew that it was reasonable, but I had just put new tires on my wife’s car and things were a little tight. So……I did the unthinkable. I asked him what kind of trade he could give me for an Allen .45 Old Model (the Kid’s gun). He told me he would have to take a look at it first, but he thought we would be close, if not even on it.
So I took the Kid’s gun down to him and we ended up trading even on it.

I was pretty happy about having the Colt, but I was having regrets about trading off the Kid’s gun for it. But I figured maybe a couple weeks down the road, I’d have enough extra cash to buy it back.

That did not happen.

About two months after I traded the Kid’s gun off, I called an old friend of mine back in Phoenix to ask him a question about M1-.30 carbines. Leigh is one of the owners of GFH to this day, and one of the most knowledgeable people about firearms that I know.

Anyhow, after he answered my question, I asked him how everybody in GFH was doing. That is when I learned that the Kid had passed away about six months previous. I was devastated. I asked him why I hadn’t been notified, and he told me that about three or four of the GFH guys had tried to get in contact with me but none of them had any luck doing so. He told me that the Kid had passed on due to complications from the illness that had forced him to retire. When I got off the phone with Leigh, I really felt down and it all started to sink in on me. I had lost a VERY good friend and did not get a chance to say good-bye or to even pay my last respects to my partner. And I had traded off his gun! Guilt set in then.

Immediately, I called Jerry to see if he still had the Kid’s gun down at his shop. My heart sunk when he told me that he had just sold it the week before. I asked him for the name and telephone number of the person who had bought it; he told me that he could not give that information out. So then I told him about the gun and what had happened. Jerry said that he could call the guy, explain it to him, and give the guy my telephone number. I told Jerry that would be fine.

I kept checking back with him to see if he had been able to get hold of the guy, but he had not been having any luck at it. It seems the guy was retired, and he and his wife would go off on long trips in their motor home, sometimes for a six month stretch. Jerry never was able to get in contact with him and eventually, I resigned myself to the fact the Kid’s gun was gone forever.

Time warp ahead about a year and a half.

My wife and I had become involved in Cub Scouts with our two sons, my wife being a Den Leader for the Tigers, which my youngest son was in, and I had just been elected to Advancement Chairman. The Cub Master at the time was an older gentleman named John Bruce. He has been donating his time to Scouting since his son was in it, and he was long grown up and started with his own family by this time. John is one of the kind of people that makes Scouting work. He is a recipient of Silver Beaver, Award of Merit, and the God and Country Award (which is no small feat).

Anyhow, after I first met John, I found out that he too, was a gun person like myself, so we ended up being very good friends. As a matter of fact, John was one of the people that talked me into running for Advancement Chairman. We had known John and his wife Anne for about two years now, and they had become family to us. John would come over to our house frequently on Scouting business, and it was on one of these occasions that this story takes a turn.

John had come over to help finalize plans for our “Blue and Gold Banquet”. When we had that business out of the way, I just had to show him my newest acquisition. It was a 5 ½”, .44 Special, Great Western single action that I had just gotten from another friend of mine. After I retrieved it from my gun safe and John gave it a good examination of the action and such, John remarked that he needed somebody to take a look at his .45 single action. Whoever owned it before he bought it, must have been a fast draw expert or something, because the trigger pull on it was way too light for his liking.
That somewhat aroused my curiosity, knowing that the little town of Mayfield, Kentucky is not a place that I would think there would be very many fast-draw enthusiasts, I asked John what kind of .45 he had. He replies that he doesn’t remember the name of it, but it was made in Italy. So I ask him about the barrel length, and he replies it is the same as the ejector rod. I asked him about the cylinder pin, if it was held in place by a spring traverse pin or a screw in the front of the frame. He said a screw in the front of the frame. “John”, I said, “I think you may have my gun.” So I start telling him about the Texas Kid’s gun.
“Well, the next time I come over, I’ll bring it and let you take a look at it,” he tells me. And true to his word, about a week later when he comes over on Scout business again, he brings it along. John comes through the door and hands me a gun, wrapped in a sock! I pull it out of the sock and it is the Kid’s gun!!! I damn near fainted!!

“John, this is my old gun,” I tell him. So I go off to my gun safe and bring back my logbook and show him the entry for it and the serial numbers are a perfect match. But I did not need the serial number to know that it was the Kid’s gun.

I asked him how he had acquired it, if he had bought it from Jerry’s gun shop and he said no, that he had bought it from an acquaintance of his that had since passed away. Well, I offered to buy it from him right on the spot, but he refused the offer, telling me that it was the only .45 Colt that he had and would like to hang on to it. But he did promise me that if he ever had the inclination to sell or trade it that he would give me the first chance at it. That suited me fine, because I knew John’s word was as good as gold.

After seeing the Kid’s gun and mulling about it for a few weeks, I decided to buy myself a new EMF Hartford .45, with light engraving and nickel plating. I wanted one that would be a copy of Arizona Ranger Sargent Jeff Kidder’s “Sunday go to meetin’” gun. I had contacted EMF and found out what this little project was gonna cost me, and had come to the conclusion that in order to complete this project, something else would have to be sold in order to have the funding needed. My Winchester M1 Carbine seemed to be the best candidate for this.

As a matter of courtesy to John, knowing that he liked the M1 carbines and especially the Winchester variety, I let him know that I was about to advertise my M1 in the local paper, in case he was interested. John asked me why I was gonna sell it? “I ‘m getting ready to buy myself another .45 hawgleg, and I need the money for that,” I tell him. Well, he like thinks it over for a few seconds, and says to me; “I‘ll do you one better than that, Phill. I’ll trade your .45 for it.” Which my immediate reply was, “What time do you want me bring it (the M1 Carbine) over to your house tomorrow?”

So, the next morning at the arranged time, I took the Winchester M1 Carbine to John, and came home with the Kid’s gun and came away with the feeling that I had a lot of help from friends above, retrieving the Kid’s gun.

I have since replaced the grips with faux ivory, but replaced those with a new set of walnut one-piece grips to put the gun back the way the Kid had it. At this writing, I will be attending Winter Range next week, and I plan to take the Kid’s gun along to have “the Texas Kid” engraved on the backstrap by one of the attending engravers. I think a fitting finale to this story. Not quite.
You are all probably wondering what happened to the mate to the Kid’s gun. Well, one of my old GFH partners, Dave (a.k.a. Ric-o-shay), still has it and as a matter of fact, gave it to his wife and it is one of her main CAS guns now. We have since started referring to it as “Rio’s gun”.
Kate and I are in negotiations about it even as I write this. I am confident that it will eventually be reunited with the Texas Kid’s gun.

Rio's Gun pictures, courtesy of Ric-o-shay

The “Siverado Twins” together again.

I read the same article in G&A and I ordered one in 44-40 43/4" barrel. It was one of my favorites and used it for cowboy action for years until I decided to use my two Colts in 45LC. I don't have it anymore as I gifted it to my son. I never had any issues with it. He was shooting it one day and snapped the hammer spring. He replaced it with a NOS Colt part  and had it up an running in no time. I have seen a few Allen SSA's on GB and have been tempted to buy it now, for old times sake, but passed.

It did sit very well in my Arvo Ojala forward rake FD rig!!

Major 2:
I enjoyed that read, Rio

There is Nothing quite like nostalgia, ol' friends and good memories.

I can relate, in my case its John's gun, it's not a SAA but a very cool auto-loader, but the same sentiment is there.
Glad the Kid's gun is HOME  :)



--- Quote from: Crossdrawnj on January 30, 2023, 09:21:07 AM ---I read the same article in G&A and I ordered one in 44-40 43/4" barrel. It was one of my favorites and used it for cowboy action for years until I decided to use my two Colts in 45LC. I don't have it anymore as I gifted it to my son. I never had any issues with it. He was shooting it one day and snapped the hammer spring. He replaced it with a NOS Colt part  and had it up an running in no time. I have seen a few Allen SSA's on GB and have been tempted to buy it now, for old times sake, but passed.

It did sit very well in my Arvo Ojala forward rake FD rig!!

--- End quote ---

Arvo supplied some of the gun leather and was the gun coach in "Silverado".


[0] Message Index

Go to full version
Powered by SMFPacks Ads Manager Mod
Powered by SMFPacks Likes Pro Mod
Powered by SMFPacks Menu Editor Mod