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Gun writer Mike Venturino has been taken to task for using the moniker "Duke" in his byline in some of his recent articles. Lack of respect or somesuch, an unworthiness to carry the great one saddle bag much less crib his nickname, etc. Venturino's response was that he got the nickname up in the big sky territory from his faithful steed, Duke. Boon companions and all. Duke rode to the big pasture in the sky via a plot on Mike's spread.
Question is this. Didn't John Wayne originally get nicknamed "Little Duke" by the Firemen who watched his Airedale Duke at the firehouse while the later-to- be-named John Wayne went to school? And I heard the"little" part was dropped when he started getting a lot bigger than the Airedale.
Anyone know of this story? True or not? Embellished?

Sincerely, the webbshooter

P.S. Contention was made on the shooting side that accidental shootings exceeded all other forms of death combined on the westward migration. I say "Hogwash!" and suspected a made up statistic. This contention backed up the idea that without lethal force training people were too hazardous to innocent bystanders and hence should not use (Be allowed?) firearms to defend self or others. Suspiciouslly like an agenda-driven, gun-grabber kinda of sentiment that really seemed out of place on a shooter's forum. Were not infectious diseases the leading causes of death on the westward trails? Anyone savvy on this aspect of Western history?
Inquiring minds want to Know!
Again, the webbshoote
 

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Webbshooter,

Howdy! Sorry I haven't jumped in here to reply, been a bit busy. To answer your first question, yes. John Wayne got the "Duke" moniquer from his dog. I have, somewhere , a vidieo with his biography on it and it mentions this.

As to your Post Script, I only have an opinion. Many self defence shootings probably weren't reported. In fact,accidental shootings being reported probably only happened in larger towns where someone might keep up with such stuff. I don't think a regular cowpoke on the range, or a prospector or mountain man made it a point to write down or tell the Authorities if he was forced to shoot a bandit or wild critter or defend against indians. He might brag in the saloon later, but that would be it. Also, I wonder about some of the "accidental" shootings. The "it just went off! I swear!" phrase is one of the oldest murder coverups of all times. Modern ballistics can disprove such claims today but in the old days this technology just didn't exist. Hope this helps!
 

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Another cause of death was getting run over by a wagon wheel. In the book TRAILS THROUGH ARCHER, there are several accounts of people dying that way. In Scotland Texas by the blinking light is the grave of a young girl that fell out of the wagon and was run over and killed.
 

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I wonder how many accidental discharges it took before people realized that stuffing six bullets into a six-shooter wasn't a good idea.
 

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having been a student of statistics I still remember my old professor saying facts and figures can be manipulated to say what ever you want them to say. It is my opinion that the western writers are responsible for the "idea" that accidental or intentional shooting occurred often. Heck the story/book wouldn't sell if no excitement occurred. Just look at the Newspapers of today, they would go bankrupt if they didn't embellish the horrors of today's living. Of course people died on their trip out west but so did people back in the eastern states. Writers just didn't glamorize that except for the Civil War era. To my knowledge there is no way to make an accurate count of the people who died on the Westernside of the Mississippi. Please do not exclude the Native people in your counts. Most died from diseases spread by the Missionaries, whether intentional or not is up for discussion, instead of being shot. Heck, I don't know of anyone from that time period that is alive today.
 
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