GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK - A rifle made in 1882 has been found propped against a tree in a remote area of a national park in Nevada.
"Numerous questions surround the small piece of American heritage found and recovered by Great Basin National Park archaeologists in November," according to a post on the park's Facebook page. "The 132-year-old rifle, exposed to sun, wind, snow, and rain was found leaning against a tree in the park. The cracked wood stock, weathered to grey, and brown rusted barrel blended into the colors of the old juniper tree in a remote rocky outcrop, keeping the rifle hidden for many years."
With help from records kept at the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyo., officials at Great Basin National Park were able to determined that the rifle was manufactured and shipped in 1882, but details of who bought the rifle and where it was shipped were not available.
Known as the "gun that won the West," Winchester made 720,610 of the rifles between 1873 and 1916, when production stopped.
The rifle found in the park will be sent to conservators to stabilize and protect its condition, preserving the piece as it was recently found, according to the park's post. When that work is done, the rifle will be returned to the park and displayed as park of the park's 30th birthday and the National Park Service's centennial celebration....
The story behind this has to be amazing. I'm sure it was more along the lines of a lone cowboy struggling to survive against Indians, mountain lions and the elements that didn't make it, versus Little Mark done went and lost the rifle Pa bought him. Lucas McCain would never approve of these storage methods and bushwhackers would have taken the weapon. I bet they find bones nearby that may have been ingested.
Circle of life Simba.