The Red Ryder BB Gun
The Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth, Michigan had been making farm windmills for years when in 1886, the company decided to include a promotional item with purchase: an air-powered rifle. Later, when the company was about to close down due to slow sales, they noticed that the popularity of the air rifles they were giving away greatly exceeded the popularity of their main product. The board decided to switch to producing air rifles for sale. "Daisy" was youthful, polite slang for something extraordinary, so soon thereafter the company took on the name Daisy Manufacturing Company in 1895.
Production continued through the Great Depression, when sales began to slump. New, aggressive marketing campaigns in the 1930's were employed to maintain interest, and out of these strategies came a tie-in with comic book hero Red Ryder
which was to strongly increase interest: The Red Ryder BB Gun
. A few years afterward, the company's production was converted to help in the war against the Axis Powers, but demand for the rifle remained strong.
The Red Ryder BB Gun became the most memorable promotion in Daisy Corporation's long history
, and was used as a historical detail by writer Jean Shepherd, whose partly fictional In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash
and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories
were mined for his screenplay for the film A Christmas Story
The rifle was later included in the post-apocalyptic game Wasteland, a game which also includes Red Ryder himself in a small, symbolic role. The gun is one of the game's most deadly weapons.
In the Fallout series, the rifle's symbolic encapsulation of a straight-arrow America closely matches the game's golly-gee,1950's-style ironic optimism. So while the rifle's presence references Fallout's spiritual predecessor Wasteland, it also helps add to Fallout's tone of shattered idealism. Like the real weapon, the Fallout version requires BBs (short for ball-bearings) as ammunition, and could carry 100 rounds at a time. In the first Fallout
, the Red Ryder BB Gun comes in two editions, the most common edition is relatively useless for most combat encounters, doing very little damage. The hard-to-find Limited Edition is dramatically more effective, though much more likely to shoot your eye out.