Neatorama gives us an article about the historical meme: The Old West Gunfight
As we take interest in this blog of American History and firearms, it seemed like as good an article as any to me.
In 1865, in one of the few actual documented gunfights (with evidence and valid testimony), James Butler Hickok (“Wild Bill” Hickok) had a bad quarrel with Davis Tutt in Springfield, Missouri. The fight was over a debt. At around 6PM, the two advanced on each other in the town square. The men drew guns at a distance of around 50 yards and blasted away. (emphasis Guffaw)
Tutt missed. Wild Bill didn’t. Tutt fell with a bullet through his heart.
Hickok was tried for manslaughter and acquitted. A sensational account of the gunfight appeared in Harper’s magazine in 1867. This account made Hickok a national celebrity. This fairly “Hollywood” gunfight, although it did occur, was a rarity. The 50 yard distance was questioned by skeptics, but was verified by several onlookers.
Hardly the equivalent of the modern day – arm’s length gunfight. Go and read the whole thing at the above link.
h/t Miss Cellania