From 1996, this shirt features choice dialog from the Pageant and crowd-favorite Buckshot Roberts, who was portrayed for many years by local Dan Storm. The role of Buckshot and other cast members are largely filled by residents of Lincoln County and neighboring counties, making it a true folk pageant and probably the oldest continually performed event of its type in the nation. The “actors” perform in pantomime and the dialog is spoken by other locals reading from the script over the PA. The gunfire (with blanks, of course) is provided by the actors on stage. During the actual shoot-out, the Murphy-Dolan leaning Roberts single-handedly held off a group of thirteen Regulators, including the Kid. Regulator leader Dick Brewer was shot between the eyes by the mortally wounded and defiant Buckshot.
From 1995, which is probably the year we went with the kids to Pageant. We had to cut the trip a little short because of my daughter’s medical issues. On the back of the shirt is a bit of dialogue from the pageant relating to this scene, which was the bloody climax to the Lincoln County War. After several days of stalemate between the Murphy-Dolan faction and the Tunstall-McSween party, Colonel Dudley’s troops arrived in Lincoln, camping on what is now Becky and Matt’s property. The “non-interference” of the federal troops allowed the Murphy-Dolan group to set fire to McSween’s home. The besieged Regulators retreated from room to room as the conflagration slowly spread. Under the cover of darkness they made a desperate escape, guns blazing. McSween, Romero, Zamora and Morris were killed by the Murphy-Dolans. Yginio Salazar was left for dead, later crawling away to safety. The Kid and several others escaped with little or no harm. Then the victors inspected the corpse of McSween:
Mathews: “Why, what’s this he was a-carryin’? Looks like a book. Well, boys, he died with a Bible in his hand.” (examines book) Where’s his gun, ya reckon?”
Long: ” ‘pears like, he warn’t a-carryin’ one.”