Famed 'Forgotten Winchester' Finds Permanent Home

May 24, 2019

You may have heard of a mysterious 137-year-old Winchester rifle that was discovered in Nevada's Great Basin National Park a few years ago. It sparked worldwide interest at the time. Now, it's found a permanent home.

The park service's Eva Jensen was conducting an everyday survey of the park in 2014 when she stumbled upon the rusted-out rifle leaning against a tree.

Eva Jensen works to remove the rifle from its spot against a tree. She says the rifle might have leaned there for 100 years.
Credit National Park Service

"It was so far out of the kinds of things we normally see that it really was a big surprise," Jensen says.

The National Park Service sent the rifle to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. From there, they learned that it was manufactured and sold in 1882.

Jensen says the firearm could have belonged to any number of people, from miners and ranchers to Native Americans.

"The things that we do know, from the condition of the rifle, from the cartridge that was found in the rifle, is that it potentially could have been there in the forest against that tree for 100 years," she says.

The "Forgotten Winchester" is now displayed at Great Basin National Park in Nevada, in front of a large image of the tree it was found leaning against.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUER in Salt Lake City, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2019 KUNR. To see more, visit kunr.org.