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The American Plainsmen Society

Updated on April 6, 2013

Introducing the American Plainsmen Society

The American Plainsmen Society covers the period of 1840 to 1865. The day of the Mountain man had seen the end and the day of the Cowboy had not yet began.

This was the period of expansion for the United States of America. Oregon was being settled and Gold had been found in California.

The American Plainsmen Society is a gathering place for those intrepid souls that have an interest in this period of the United States. It does not matter if your interests include shooting, re-enactment, Living history or just a deep interest in learning more about this exciting period in U.S. history, The American Plainsmen Society has a place for you.

Mission Statement

The goal of the American Plainsmen Society is to honor the memory of the people that made the United States Great. People that risked everything including their lives in search of the American Dream during the years 1840 to 1865. It is the intention of the American Plainsmen Society to accomplish this through sharing knowledge and through active participation of historical reenacting, living history and social gatherings.

Membership is open to anyone of any age or gender that shares an interest in the history, clothing, weapons, lifestyle and equipment of this period.

It is required that all members conduct themselves at all times with respect and courtesy toward other members and visitors.

Selecting a Persona

So many choices which is correct for you

Possibly one of the hardest parts of any reenactment is choosing a person or type of person you would like to portray. The period of the 1840 to 1865 may give a broader range of portrayals than any other reenactment time frame. Just to list a few of the different types you might choose.





Store keeper

Mule skinner


Gold Seeker

Native American


And this is just a brief list and even each of the people listed have many variations including nationality. What would life be like for the person you select? Why are they on the Great Prairie? What type clothing would they have worn? What possessions would they have had?

Answering these and a hundred more questions is a major part of reenactment. We gather once a month or even less depending on the group, but we can study every day finding new items, making new items and improving on the character we are portraying.

Firearms of the Plainsmen Society

Thunder and Lightning in your hand

The American Plainsmen Society for purposes of shooting competitions focuses mainly on the Revolver. Colt patented his revolver in 1836 and that increased the firepower of the individual 6 times over. Previous to this period, people were limited to single shot muzzle loading arms. If a person carried a Rifle and two Pistols, they had at their disposal 3 shots before needing to reload. Using this same formula of 1 single shot rifle and two revolvers a person had 13 shots before needing to reload. That can be a huge advantage in a life threatening situation.

The rifle selection would be a percussion rifle, any type from a Hawken to a 1859 Sharps Rifle . Your character might carry a shotgun or a smooth bore musket. The key element for purposes of the American Plainsmen Society is the ignition system would be percussion or flintlock.

If you already own a percussion revolver, it will make it easier for you to choose a time period for your character. If you have a Colt 1851 Navy revolver, then your character would be after 1850. If you have a Remington New Army your character would need to be after 1862.

If you do not have a percussion revolver, then decide what time frame you are and select your revolver accordingly. If early 1840 then you would probably choose the Colt Paterson. If you select a time frame of 1846 then you choice increases to include the Colt Walker. Again we have come complete circle back to the historical research element of reenactment.

All American Plainsmen Society firearms use a percussion ignition system.

The Joy of Research

There are flakes of gold in the pages

I was born on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Near my home was the Bear Creek. Over the years I lived in many different places in Southern Oregon. Reading journals for research often turns up those small moments of pure gold. Here is one such find and joyful moment I got while reading a journal.

"After going down Bear Creek for some time, the train crossed Rogue River, went through Canyonville and crossed Myrtle Creek. After crossing the creek, they turned East and after traveling about ten miles they came to Parrish's place, which was about eight miles from Roseburg.

They were very glad to reach the end of their long journey and were thankful that their mishaps and troubles had been few. There were no deaths or births on the trip and but very little sickness.

They arrived on the seventh of September, the trip being made in five months and eighteen days. They were called the "Lightening Train" by the trains that had been passed on the way."

I read this in Pioneers of 1859 by William and Lavina McCormick.

Books of Interest - The Plainmen period of 1840 to 1865

A large part of the historical reenactment hobby is research. Listed here are books that you might find of interest to add to your knowledge of the American Plainsman and that area of history

I would like to thank you for stopping by the camp of the American Plainsmen Society. We hope you have enjoyed your visit and will return often.

Take a moment and sign the log so that we know you have been here and perhaps let others follow along your journey.

Plainsmen Visitors Log

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    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens I enjoyed it. Some day when I have time and money I would like to try reenactment thing.