In the romance of some historical eras, there are times when the truth is stretched to fit the needs of the story. An example of this phenomenon comes from the years of the wild west and the popular character of Wyatt Earp. A biography was written by Stuart N. Lake about the famed Wyatt Earp and published in 1931. While a large part of the story was true, there was one notable exception that featured a variation of the Colt Peacemaker revolver that was in common use at the time.
The legend is of a pistol called the Colt Buntline, which featured a long barrel that measured around 12 inches. According to Lake’s biography, the creation of the Colt revolvers was done as a commission from noted novelist Ned Buntline. According to company records, the Colt Buntline is mere mythology and was never commissioned or produced. The story goes on to say that the novelist Buntline gave each of the five Colt revolvers to lawmen that went above and beyond the call of their jobs. As such a lawman, Wyatt Earp was said to have received one of these pistols. Other lawmen that are said to have had a Colt Buntline include Bat Masterson, Neal Brown, Bill Tilghman, and Charlie Bassett.
In later years after the book was published, the author admitted that there were some fictional portions of the supposed biography. Still, many gun collectors believe that the fictional version of the Colt Peacemaker really exists. If one should turn up at a gun show or auction, there is no doubt that it would become one of the most highly sought firearms of all time. However, most experts in gun collection do not believe that the Colt Buntline is a real gun, much less that it was carried by the famous Wyatt Earp.