post Q&A

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:11 pm

I heard about an old game called ‘Mumblypeg.’ How do you play it?


Mumblypeg! What a great word. I expect you also watched Gunsmoke this week since it was mentioned there. An astonished Festus Hagen was telling all who would listen, ‘Hey, did you know Doc Adams plays mumblypeg?!’ I wondered about it too.

Mumblypeg (also called mumbledepeg, mumblety-peg and mumble-the peg) is an old game of chance that was popular among boys many years ago. It was certainly popular in the Old West. The game was played using pocket knives, which explains its decline in popularity. With today’s child safety laws, schools would never permit it and neither would most parents. I understand a few people still play it but the children are taught to use sharpened pencils instead of knives. I’m not sure how well the point of a pencil measures up for this game.

Two players stood face to face with their feet about 18” apart. The aim of the game was to have each player throw his knife (called a peg) and have it land, point in the ground, as close as possible to… their own foot! Oh dear. Should the knife land anywhere in the foot, which did happen, the player won by default. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. I’m not sure I’d feel like much of a winner if that happened to me. The loser had to pull the knives from the ground using his teeth. Presumably, this led to his grumbling as he did it, hence the name Mumblypeg. Aside from the cuts, think of the tetanus risk this game presented!

And now a question for fans: Can you recall a scene where Buck and Blue play a form of mumblypeg?


What’s the difference between a bandito and a comanchero? They both seem like bandits to me.


A bandito, or bandit in English, is and always has been an armed thief or outlaw, usually belonging to a gang but can also travel alone. The word bandit comes from the word bandire meaning banned or to banish. Comancheros were originally nomadic traders of New Mexico. They adopted the name comanchero because the Comanche Indians were their best customers. In other words, the name came to represent those who traded with the Comanche. Their goods were not always the best quality and their sources sometimes questionable. This opened the door for the sales of stolen goods as well as those legitimately come by.

In 1961 the classic John Wayne movie, The Comancheros featured a band of criminals of mixed races; Indian, Mexican and white, all joined together to sell firearms and liquor to the Indians. They were called comancheros. It is probably this movie that led to the comancheros losing their identity as peddlers. Other movies followed, also presenting comancheros as gangs of bandits who either attacked towns and villages and/or sold stolen goods. Over time, what was originally a group of nomadic peddlers evolved into another form of bandit. The only difference between these ‘new’ bandits and the original banditos seems to be that while banditos tended to be the same race, the comancheros were a motley bunch of marauders that allowed for a mix of races to band together.

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