58 / Heck Thomas

This post was contributed by my brother:

From the heady plains of Saturday morning pictures, three young boys emerged with slightly bowed legs from a long day in the imaginary saddles of riding along with The Lone Ranger on his white stallion, Silver. Six guns in holsters, we surged with masculine bravado along Chippenham High Street and ducked and dived into shop doorways for cover.

Alan Huston of the sticky-out ears, died convulsively, arrow through the heart, at the feet of astonished shoppers in the doorway of Woolworths. Scene over, he jumped to his feet to contribute towards our half-penny bag of blackjacks.

Out on the pavement again, I soon got a clear shot at Ray Walton, but "missed" he yelled, as he sprinted into Smiths.

Towards home with legs straightening, we made good speed, as hunger drove The Lone Ranger, Silver and Tonto from our thoughts.

What delicious kudos I could have gained, had I been able to tell them that the film we had just watched had been inspired by one of my distant relatives.

Heck Thomas was a legend as one of the Wild West's most effective U.S. marshals of his time, and was renowned for his gunfights and the tracking down of bandits. He was born in Athens, Georgia on 3rd January 1850 and "cut his teeth"  as a courier to the Front Line, in the battles of Virginia, at the age of 12. As a lawman, he rode a white horse and was the archetypal figure for most of the early cowboy films. Now what a story to tell that would have been!

Heck Thomas


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