The Red River D Belt Buckle

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  • Folks, look, you really don’t have to spend a fortune for a handsome looking buckle to allow you entry into the old Red River D Ranch. There Are very economical options to dress up your old jeans by wearing a Red River D buckle.

    Parsley's Brass in Hanover, Virginia has specialized in high quality reproductions of Civil War belt buckles for over forty years. All items are sand cast in high quality brass. The pattern is formed from an original piece and the reproduction is an exact copy of it. If the original had some wear or small infraction it will be reflected in the reproduction. Each piece is individually hand worked and finished in the traditional way of the 1800’s. Parsley has grown to include making items for many other organizations. When a museum or an antique collector needs a replacement part for a piece of furniture or something Parsley's can make it for them.

    Parsley's Brass offer a brass reproduction of the 1948 version of the Red River D buckle. It is only $24.95. That is certainly a very economical price where almost anyone could afford to own one. Heck, your jeans probably cost more than that!


    So, let’s mosey in through the Red River D Ranch gate and join the party. There are plenty of Texas Longhorn steaks on the grill, Nadine Groot style beans in the pot, Chuck Wagon sugar cookies, Chisholm Trail coffee, along some fine Legendary Duke Wayne Spirits behind the bar. I also heard rumors there may be a few bottles of vintage Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo tequila hidden under the bar. Let’s sit around the warm bonfire and sing along to “Settle Down Little Doggies.”

  • I got a tip from one of the ranch hands at the Red River D that there is a unique company in Cashmere, Washington located on a road named ‘Deadman Hills Road’ of all places that sell all kinds of interesting old west products.

    At Western & Wildlife Wonders, the proprietors Don & Connie Holman, for decades have been hand-making authentic custom gun grips, real leather holsters, and much more. They handle all kinds of old west gear, including spurs, ponchos, badges, jewelry, riatas, lariats, whips, non-firing vintage revolvers and rifles, and they are constantly coming up with new quality Western products and memorabilia to sell.

    The Red River D buckle that they offer is the 1948 film release version made of polished solid bronze or silver bronze. The buckle size is 2 5/8” X 3 1/2". It is sold at a very economical price of $30.

    Link: https://westernandwildlifewond…western-icon-belt-buckle/

    They also offer a combo deal with the buckle and your choice of a black or brown belt for $55.

    Link: https://westernandwildlifewond…n-bucklebelt-combination/

    What other kind of other combo offer would you really need? One with jeans, boots and a hat too?

  • Do you collect all the versions of the Red River D belt buckles that you find, Drpmpk? That would be a mighty, if not expensive collection to have.


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • No, I'm not a collector at all Mark. It indeed would be very expensive to collect them all, especially when acquiring the one's made by The Bohlin Company.

    All I have is two. A solid brass one that I purchased from Ebay a few months ago and a custom handmade one by Gary Mathis from Gary's Custom Saddlery & Silver that I recently received.

    I have another solid brass buckle of the one that John Wayne wore in 'True Grit' and 'Rooster Cogburn.' He also wore it in the first part of 'Rio Lobo' when he was a Union Officer in the Civil War.

    I understand that John Wayne commissioned it. It was fashioned from a Civil War original and converted it from a two piece to a one piece buckle and put a modern back on it so it could be worn on a normal pant belt. I would welcome more information about this particular buckle if anyone knows something about it.

  • Here is a unique "Red River" key-chain that I’ve seen for sale only in one place.

    There is a seller on Ebay with locations of Conroe and Montgomery, Texas that lists these key-chains made in 2-tone style for $17.88 plus $3.25 shipping or made with a pewter finish for $13.88 plus $3.00 shipping. Occasionally I have seen them listed as made with a copper finish. They also sell a John Wayne lapel/hat pin for $9.88 plus $2.95 shipping.

    The Seller also sells some of the common designs of the Red River D buckle in various metals and finishes.

    Since the seller doesn’t have an actual website, only a seller ID, I’ll leave it to you to search and find out where to get them. Like I said, this is the only place I have seen these particular items for sale.

    Folks, that’s all I can provide for now on places to get a replica of the famous Red River D belt buckle. I’ve scanned the World Wide Web and checked my notes for sources. If anyone else knows any other place the buckles can be found I sure would like to know.

  • I understand from reading articles that John Wayne wore the Red River D buckle in nine of his films beginning with 'Rio Bravo' in 1959.

    I never have seen a list of all all of the films though.

    Can someone please enlighten me with a complete list of these films from one thru nine?

  • I found out some information right here on DUKEWAYNE.COM of all places!

    From a July 13th, 2003 post on a thread I found a list of films of John Wayne wearing the Red River D buckle.

    “Robbie” the member that posted it was thought that the 1st movie he wore it in was "Island In The Sky" from 1953. I looked through several photos from the film but John Wayne was wearing a coat in all of them and it was not possible to know if he was wearing the buckle.

    Recently while looking for John Wayne photos on Ebay I found this listing, “THE TRAIN ROBBERS JOHN WAYNE 8X10 PHOTO.” When you look close at the Ebay photo the buckle is reversed imaged. The seller informed me that the scan was reversed but the actual photo would be correct.

    Here is a list of eleven films. I put a “?” after the films ‘Island In The Sky’ and ‘The Trainrobbers’ for now.

    1953 “Island In The Sky” [?]
    1959 “Rio Bravo”
    1961 “The Comancheros”
    1962 “Hatari!”
    1963 “McLintock!”
    1964 “Circus World”
    1965 “The Sons Of Katie Elder”
    1966 “El Dorado”
    1967 “The War Wagon”
    1970 “Rio Lobo”
    1973 “Trainrobbers” [?]

  • This board has been here a good while, and plenty of information and discussions have been had. So much so, that we can't remember everything said and done. I'm glad you dug a little and found what you were looking for. :thumbup:


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "


    Have you ever wondered what happened to the location where the 1948 Howard Hawks’ film ‘Red River’ was filmed?

    Location shooting for the Howard Hawk’s film ‘Red River’ began early in September 1946 at the vast Rain Valley Ranch near Elgin, Arizona, and production ended in December 1946 after more than 70 shooting days.

    Unfortunately, The Rain Valley Ranch lived up to its name during shooting. Bad weather added extra production days that drove up the film’s cost.

    In the film the San Pedro River stood in for the Red River. Several dams had to be built across portions of the San Pedro River so it would rise to the appropriate level for shooting.

    The Ranch Valley Ranch straddles the Santa Cruz-Cochise county line off State Route 82. It is a historic working cattle ranch and is also a priority conservation area for nearby U.S. Army Fort Huachuca. The Arizona Land and Water Trust has been a trusted partner to ranchers and farmers of Southern Arizona for 40 years. The Trust achieves its mission to protect land and water by working with private landowners who are interested in voluntarily conserving their lands. The Trust also works with public entities to develop local and community conservation plans and goals, and often serves as a bridge between public entities and private landowners.

    In partnership with the Arizona Land and Water Trust, Fort Huachuca has a program, which seeks to limit development around military installations that may inhibit the use of existing Department Of Defense facilities for training, testing, and operations. The program prohibits mining, the generation of certain electromagnetic frequencies, and most construction, the easement does not interfere with ongoing cattle operations for the Rain Valley Ranch and other nearby ranches in this trust. The property, will be free of most development “forever and in perpetuity,” as per the terms of the easement.

    Fort Huachuca is home to the Army’s only unmanned aircraft systems (UAV/UAS) training center, which trains Army and Marine UAS operators and repairers/maintainers for the Shadow, Hunter, Warrior A and the Gray Eagle, the Army’s newest UAS platform. The training center supports over 20 programs of instruction, operating 24 hours a day on three shifts, and flies over 5,000 hours a year.

    UAV facilities at Fort Huachuca are not only integral for national defense. They help make Arizona a hub for development and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles and systems.

    Ranchers have grown used to the sound of drones flying over their spreads. Cows actually don’t mind the drones, though people sometimes complain about the noise. With the protection from the Arizona Land and Water Trust the Rain Valley Ranch and surrounding ranches offer protection to white-tailed deer, pronghorn, javelina, coatimundi, black bear, and other mammals as well as numerous birds, lizards, and other creatures lurking in the grasslands of the ranches.


  • I have recently located information on another Red River D belt buckle from the 1946 production of Howard Hawk's 'Red River.'

    I found a video clip from the PBS TV show "ANTIQUES ROADSHOW" showing the appraisal of the buckle belonging to John Datu Arensma. John was born December 30, 1896. He was an Art Director and Illustrator for the majority of his career. In 1946 Datu did the art direction for the movie 'Red River.' It is known that he worked in the film industry up until the 1970's. He was also an accomplished illustrator and produced many fine works. John Datu died December 12, 1985 in Orange County California.

    The buckle was appraised at the Hotel del Coronado by Laura Woolley's in season 23, Episode 7 of the show in 2019.

    Appraisal: 1946 John Datu Arensma "Red River" Belt Buckle | Season 23 Episode 7 | Antiques Roadshow | WHYY

    It looks like the buckle needs to be shined up a bit!

  • Would cleaning it up hurt the value? You never know anymore.

    If it was yours, could you ever sell it?


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • This is interesting, I found a gold plated Red River belt buckle for $180 on the Kubiack site.

    "A people that values their Privileges above it's Principles. Soon looses both." Dwight Eisenhower

    Edited once, last by colkid60 ().

  • What's really sad is that fewer and fewer people especially kids don't know who's buckle it was.
    Last time I wore mine no one knew what it was.
    What the hell is the country coming to ?
    Big Iron

  • Yes, I've been wearing my buckle since November 2018 and I have not had even one person to ask about it when out in public.

    It could be, however, that people are curious about my Red River D buckle but frightened of me. Maybe I need to go to places where it would be more recognized. But where would that be? Perhaps, rodeos, cattle auctions, Civil War reenactments, I don't know. Any suggestions where I could wear my Red River D buckle and be recognized?

  • I've worn my buckle to Western Festivals and Ft. Worth Stockyards and nothing. Wonder if we wear it to Wayne's Birthplace in May if anyone would notice. Maybe it's me, too big and ugly for anyone to ask.
    If you're interested there's a nice picture of Wayne on the Wild Goose wearing his buckle in vol. 28 of THE OFFICIAL COLLECTOR'S ED. OF JOHN WAYNE magazine.
    Big Iron

  • Sounds great to me, pour me a cup and make it hot and black.

    I was wondering if I had missed something earlier, why didn't Wayne put the "M" on the right lower corner that he made in the sand at the end of the movie ?
    Big Iron
    P.S. Happy Mother's Day if it applies.