Colt and Its Collectors accompanied the major summer 2003 exhibition at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. It serves as a catalog for the Historical Center's exhibition called 'Colt: The Legacy of a Legend.' The display of approximately 800 carefully selected firearms, presented in the context of six thought-provoking themes, represents the most historically significant exhibition of Colt firearms during the past 100 years, according to Interim Curator Warren Newman of the Historical Center's Cody Firearms Museum. 'With a proud colt as his trademark, Sam Colt made his name and his guns international legends,' Newman says. 'They still are - more than 140 years after his death.' About 100 lenders from the Colt Collectors Association, additional private collectors and several museums are contributing to the display of firearms ranging from the earliest of Colt's products to those manufactured in modern times. This 'almost incredible' array of firearms will represent the legacy of Colt and its impact on our society, Newman says. Even people who are not interested in firearms will be intrigued to learn about Samuel Colt - a gifted man who lived his short life 'filled with intensity and inventive ingenuity' as he developed his ideas for a functional and reliable revolving cylinder handgun. 'He gave substance to his ideas by carving the parts for such a gun from pieces of wood,' Newman said. 'Those priceless carvings will provide one of the many highlights of the exhibition.' During his 48-year life, Colt pioneered the principles of interchangeable parts and mass production that would become hallmarks of the American Industrial Revolution. He explored advertising and marketing techniques that ushered in a new era in merchandising. Among its various themes, 'Colt: The Legacy of a Legend,' will provide a glimpse into Colt factories that operated much differently than the mundane and tedious manufacturing processes employed by most 19th and 20th century factories. 'Colt's factories in New Jersey and Connecticut were more than mere workplaces,' Newman said. 'These were communities of people, rather than just jobs. They provided well-paid workers with a sense of belonging to a worthy endeavor.' The Colt exhibition also explores the 'Myth of the West' as portrayed by historians, artists, actors in Buffalo Bill's Wild West, contemporary movie and television actors, and 'often imaginative journalists.' 'Through this imagery, we have developed remarkably similar mental pictures of cowboys and Indians, lawmen and outlaws, gunfighters and shootouts,' Newman said. 'They have become an integral part of the fiber of our nation, and the heart of the captivating story of the American West.' Visitors will especially enjoy the exhibitions treatment of historic firearms not only as tools of westward expansion, but also as works of art produced by 'extraordinary workers.' 'Their engraving, inlaying, metal finishing and woodworking skills created highly embellished special order and presentation firearms of striking beauty,' Newman said. 'The rich gaining of wooden stocks and handles was enhanced by checkering and elaborate hand carving.' Newman says the most 'unexpected' theme of the Colt exhibition will be the phenomenon of the collector and his collections. 'Sometimes considered compulsive behavior, collecting is a nearly universal activity,' Newman said. 'Almost everyone collects something. The impulse is diversely motivated by the desire to acquire, the profit motive, the pursuit of knowledge, a fascination with history and the excitement of discovery.' 400pp.