Kevin Costner stars as Charlie Waite in the movie "Open Range". With perfect casting, Charlie carries a holster and cartridge belt born in Texas towards the end of the Great Cattle Drive Era. The movie takes place in 1882. The open range is being fenced off into ranches. In Texas, cattle spreads large and small, build thousands of miles of barbed wire fences to contain their herds. Many cowboys adapt from the days of the long cattle drives to maintaining ranch livestock.
With this change, the tools of the trade, even the saddles, begin to change. Now cowboys are sleeping with regularity in bunk houses. Pistols, holsters and cartridge belts are changing too. With the advent of reliable cartridge weapons, the holster no longer needs to cover the whole cylinder to keep the percussion caps dry. Cowboys begin to accumulate personal items, including fancier side arms. All these circumstances culminate in a new style of holster. Many Texas examples exist of holsters cut down with jack-knives to show-off more of the pistol and make for a faster draw. Saddle shops begin making these new low cut holsters.
In the movie, Charlie Waite carries a simple shop made holster. Nothin' fancy, but it's one of the first of the new styles of holsters. The holster itself still has the classic lines of earlier days, but the throat is scooped out for easy and quick access to the gun. This is the perfect holster for Costner's character. Charlie Waite is a hold-over from a bygone era. He still carries a long barreled Colt. Charlie is a killer. He isn't the "fast gun" of Hollywood invention, he is a man who makes up his mind and acts without hesitation. With close to twenty years of living by the gun, Charlie shoots instinctively. The front sight has been removed from his gun, he doesn't use it. He simply points and shoots out of familiarity. The removal of the front sight may have been to reduce the chance of snagging the front sight while drawing the weapon. It would certainly help when the pistol is lifted far enough to twist the gun in the holster, letting the trigger guard rest on the cut-out throat of the holster, for quick access.
Fewer cartridges are carried on the belt, because the cowboy seldom travels too far from his resupply. The loops for the cartridges are narrower, not the heavy loops of the past. The rig is a prefect representation of a holster and belt used towards the end of the Open Range.
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I have patterned this holster and cartridge belt after the one used by Kevin Costner's character, Charlie Waite, in the movie, "Open Range".