This holster design is named for the creek which headwaters one of the best known landmarks in all of Texas... The Palo Duro Canyon.  Palo Duro Creek rises (at 34°58' N, 102°56' W) in western Deaf Smith County and flows east forty-five miles into central Randall County, where its junction with Tierra Blanca Creek (at 35°00' N, 101°54' W) near Canyon forms the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. There Palo Duro Canyon begins and the headquarters of the T Anchor Ranchqv was established in 1877. The creek's upper portion was part of the XIT Ranch'sqv Escarbada Division. In western Randall County the stream is dammed to form Bivins Lake, a main source of water for the city of Amarillo. The creek flows in a flat to rolling area with local escarpments. Hardwood forest, brush, and grasses cover soils that are mostly deep, fine sandy loams.

Man has inhabited Palo Duro Canyon for approximately 12,000 years. The Clovis and Folsom people first resided in the canyon and hunted large herds of mammoth and giant bison. Later on, other cultures such as the Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas utilized the canyon's abundant resources.

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. However, an American did not officially discover the canyon until 1852 when Captain Marcy ventured into the area while searching for the headwaters of the Red River.

In 1874, Palo Duro Canyon was a battle site during the Red River Wars. Col. Mackenzie, under orders from the US Government, apprehended the Native Americans residing in the canyon by first capturing 1,400 horses and then later destroying the majority of the herd. Unable to escape, the Native Americans surrendered and were transported to reservations in Oklahoma. Then, from 1876 until 1890, most of the canyon belonged to the J.A. Ranch and was operated by Col. Charles Goodnight.

I like to point out Palo Duro Canyon (above) and Caprock Canyons State Park, (below) dispel the notion some people have that Texas is a flat featureless desert plain.  These Canyonlands of the "South Plains" of North Texas are but two examples of the abundant variety of landscape that can be found in our fair state.  When you see these areas, it's not hard to imagine why so many Western novels are written concerning this region.  And it is easy to imagine what it might have been like to have wintered here with the Kiowa or with the Comanche tribes.  Buffalo also took winter refuge here, so there was plenty of food, water, fuel, and shelter from the cold winter wind...

History: Caprock Canyons State Park, 100 miles southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County, was opened in 1982. It consists of 15,313.6 acres (including the Trailway, a 64.25 mile Rail-to-Trail conversion, acquired by donation in 1992 from a Railroad entrepreneur). This acquisition added recreational adventure, stretching from the western terminus at South Plains up on top of the caprock escarpment to the eastern terminus of Estelline in the Red River Valley. This multi-use trail (hike, bike, and equestrian), opened in 1993, stretches the park through Floyd, Briscoe, and Hall counties crossing 46 bridges and running through Clarity tunnel, one of the last active railroad tunnels in Texas. The 64.25 miles of the Trailway are open to the public from Estillene to South Plains.

Caprock Canyons is home of the

official Texas State Bison Herd.

The escarpment's scenic canyons were home for Indians of several cultures, including the Folsom culture of more than 10,000 years ago. A decrease or disappearance of some species, from Folsom times to present, indicates a gradual drying and perhaps warming of the climate. Later paleolithic hunters, associated with the Plainview culture, also occupied the area from 8000-9,000 years ago. Only slight traces of these people have been found at Caprock Canyons. As the climate became increasingly drier, the period of hunting and gathering cultures began. Smaller animals, as well as plant materials, made up the diet of the people. The Archaic period lasted from 8,000 to 2,000 years ago. Artifacts from this period include boiling pebbles for heating food, grinding stones for processing seeds, oval knives, and corner-notched or indented dart points. The Neo-Indian state was characterized by the appearance of arrow points and pottery. During the latter part of this period, 800 years ago until the Spanish exploration, permanent settlements were established, and agriculture was being practiced to some extent. These people traded Alibates flint for pottery, turquoise, and obsidian from the Puebloan groups to the west.

The region's historic era began when Spanish explorer Coronado traveled across the plains in 1541. After Spanish colonies were established in New Mexico around 1600, two-way trade between Plains Indians and New Mexicans began and gradually increased. The Plains Apache, present when Coronado arrived, acquired horses and became proficient buffalo hunters. They were displaced by the Comanche, who arrived in the early 1700s and dominated northwestern Texas, until they were finally subdued in the 1870s. During the Comanche reign, trade prospered and New Mexican buffalo hunters, known as ciboleros, and traders, known as Comancheros, were frequent visitors to this area. Las Lenguas Creek, a few miles south of the park, was a major trade area, and a site excavated on Quitaque Creek has produced artifacts indicating that it may have been a cibolero camp.

After 1874, Anglo settlement began, counties were organized, and ranches were established. Famed cattleman Charles Goodnight moved cattle into Palo Duro Canyon in 1876. In 1882, he bought vast areas of land for John G. Adair, who became owner of the noted J. A. Ranch. The land on which the park is located was included in the purchase. A railroad was built into this area in 1887, and by 1890, the town of Quitaque, with a population of 30, was a regular stage stop. The use of suitable lands for farming increased as more settlers arrived in the early 1900s, but most of the broken country is still ranch land.

The Palo Duro rig above and below was built for up to a 5 1/2" Ruger Vaquero.  This one is "double molded" to also fit a Colt SAA. This holster has lines very similar to the Pease River, except it is attached to the skirt with a loop formed by sewing it at the top back edge of the holster, and about 4 inches down on the back side, as shown in a photo below.  This eliminates the strap across the front  of the holster, and results in a very streamlined appearance. 

These holsters are done in a dark "medium brown" but in this photo they look for the world as if done in “mahogany.” This one is border tooled with a raised bead beside a rope border tooling.  (The belt does not match the holsters, but are included to show the “high ride” of the design.  This is a very comfortable “carry” holster.)  This design makes it very easy to draw and re-holster.

If you are accustomed to wearing a holster high on your belt, perhaps in concealed carry, you are going to like this holster.  It places the revolver high and our out of the way.  Therefore, this will make a rig that is comfortable to wear all day.

See Prices and ordering info: click here

Always measure the circumference of exactly where you plan to wear the gunbelt... over the kind of clothes you will be wearing with the rig.    Please click here to see the explanation near the bottom on the index page.

For all our holsters we use “heavy saddle skirting” from Hermann Oak.  This is vegetable tanned leather - the very best domestic hides, and tanned in America.

Unless your holsters are constructed using heavy skirting (at least 12 - 15 oz leather)  they will not hold their shape nor hold up to heavy use.

                 Fall Sale

Until the end of the year, when you order a double rig (2 holsters and any gun belt)... 

We will either build a 3rd holster at no cost...

Or two cartridge slides (shot shell or revolver) at no cost.

e-mail: Don Barnett

Phone: 281-659-3998 

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The Palo Duro