Tobias “Toby” Sauer, When a Storm is on the Horizon Carry a C. Sharps, oil painting and Sharps rifle, 40 x 30 in., Lot 94

“It’s your decision ma’am. I don’t aim to take anything that’s dear to you.”

Sophronia’s eyebrows were creased over her puffy, red eyes. She looked down at the rifle, clutched in her hands, and contemplated his words, and the gentleness in his voice, which did not correspond with his rough exterior. His tall frame was weather worn and hard worked, but strong and tireless. He was a good man, she decided. Her tense face relaxed a bit and she thrust the gun into the cowboy’s hands. “Nonsense. What do I need with all of these rifles? Judd only needs one or two guns to keep after the place, and he’s keeping at least three. Barney would want-” Sophronia swallowed the catch in her voice, “-he would want his guns to be put to good use. Especially his Old Reliable Sharps.”

Cassidy took the gun gratefully and inspected it. It was a 44-90, giving it immense long range capability and knock down power. It was a heavy barrelled sporting rifle with falling block action, its original telescopic site had been replaced by a more robust and reliable barrel site, just as Cassidy preferred. Its serial number still looked clean and clear on the receiver, #C53055.  Cassidy observed the row of Sharps rifles in the front room. “He had quite the collection. And I know by reputation he was quite the marksman, and quite the man.” He paused, searching for the right words, “I’m sure your boy will take after him, and make you proud.”Sophronia smiled.  “I know he will.  And you will too.”

After paying Sophronia and making his way outside, Cassidy mounted his sorrel horse, secured the gun, together with the shells and gunpowder, and started the 2 hour trip home. As he rode he hoped his wife and new baby were staying warm. There was a new bite to the fall air, and he had not yet finished installing new chinks in their log cabin. He passed the general store as he rode through town. He could have purchased a new gun there, but was pleased he had procured a Sharps for a good price- a used Sharps, well taken care of and with its reputation as Old Reliable, would outshoot some of the guns produced by the fly-by-night companies that were churning out chintzy rifles no better than a pop gun, that couldn’t protect his family worth a damn. This gun was owned by Barney Day, veteran, buffalo hunter, former sheriff, county commissioner, and collector of Sharps rifles. He knew it had to be well taken care of, and so maintained its long-range capability and accuracy. He knew he would sleep a little better knowing this rifle could ward off a hostile Indian, bear, or other intruder, and protect his humble herd of cattle from other predators.

Cassidy made his 2 hour ride in just over one and a half, excited to get back to his sweetheart. He opened the door to her beautiful smile and sweet baby boy. He held them tight and whispered, “We’re going to make this place great.”

*While the details regarding Barney Day are historically accurate, Cassidy’s story is fictitious.

This rifle was manufactured by C. Sharps Arms, of Big Timber, Montana, as a replica of Barney Day’s actual rifle, serial #C53055.* The only variation is that it is a 45/70, in order to enable the new owner to more easily obtain off-the-shelf ammunition. It also contains TES, the artist’s initials (Tobias Edward Sauer) as part of the new serial number, #C53055-TES. A term born from Sharps’ reputation on the frontier, the original Sharps Rifle Company began using “Old Reliable” in its marketing and on its barrels in the mid-1870s. C. Sharps Arms registered Old Reliable as their trademark in 1981 and have proudly stamped it upon the barrel of every rifle produced since.