• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Indian Territory

Updated: May 1

I mention Rodd Redwing, a man of Chickasaw Indian and Brahman Indian parents, after seeing a post by my friend Jim Martin on a forum about the Hollywood gun coach. Jim knew Rodd personally. And then my encountering this image of Redwing while double-checking other info I had about Rodd:

This is called 'the border shift' and Eugene Cunningham holds forth on this technique -- a single Colt SA from one hand to the other, in an instant -- in his 1934 book,"Triggernometry".

And I use the term 'Indian Territory' because it was the name of the Eastern half of the territory that became Oklahoma in 1907; with the Western half then called Oklahoma Territory. Indian Territory was purposely restricted to what were called The Five Civilized Tribes who were Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole; of which Rodd's mother was Chickasaw. The objective of the Dawes Commission of that time was to assimilate the tribes into American culture by persuading the chiefs to send their children to Indian Schools; and that included both preteens who eventually called themselves Tom Three Persons/Threepersons. Jelly Bryce was part Indian and from his locale appears to have been part Kiowa.

In his post Jim reveals that Rodd, while he didn't make the holsters for the film, made the belt worn to hold them onto actor Jack Palance in Shane. The holsters were Heisers.

Shane! The 1953 film opened first here in Australia. I met Mr. Palance at a Hollywood party and he was all class.

For plausibility, notice that the billets of the Shane rig are laced to the belt. This was done so that these 'prop' belts could be adjusted to the actors without requiring an advance fitting; and was a feature of Rodd's sets for Hollywood. One of Palance's revolvers:

Rodd, who was a gun coach before Arvo Ojala appeared in Hollywood (in an article he reported that originally they used live ammo on the sets) to do the same, also lists these films in his c.v.:

1956's Jerry Lewis film "Pardners". Both rigs feature Redwing's laced-on billets. And the revolver that Jerry is tossing:

Again, with Elvis for 1969's "Charro"; and again with the laced billets:

The film's poster (above) shows the lacing better; note also the pair of cartridges ahead of the holster, both above and below and in the Pardners image, that also was a Redwing feature.

Why the pair of loops? My friend Roger Combs tells us why in 'Holsters & Other Gunleather' (1984). The model: another friend Bob Arganbright who checks in here on from time to time :-)

Rodd also was 'one of us'. Here he is at the 1963 Fast Draw championships alongside a host of other actors you'll recognize:

Rodd was educated in England (and records show his birthplace as both London and NYC) so had an English accent. He appeared in Key Largo as one of two Indian characters, and again in Creature From the Black Lagoon; and other classic films including Rancho Notorious, Sergeants Three, Flaming Star (not so much a classic, also with Presley), even the Ten Commandments. His first name was Rodric and he appears in records as Rodric, Rod and Rodd. His real name is a very long, East Indian mouthful.

Rodd lived 34 Aug 1904 to 29 May 1971. His wife, Erika, b. Germany and just a few years his junior, lived another two decades.

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