Cold Casing: The Mystery Of The Long-Lost Winchester Rifle

Jan 19, 2015
Originally published on January 19, 2015 7:32 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Here's a lost and found story. What we assume was lost more than a hundred years ago was a rifle. Archaeologist Eva Jensen found it during a survey in Nevada's Great Basin National Park. She was looking for Native American artifacts.

EVA JENSEN: Truthfully that's kind of what I was hoping to see in that rocky outcrop, but I guess I'll take a Winchester rifle.

SIEGEL: It was made in 1882, but who left it there and when remains a mystery. It had been there so long, its black barrel looked like a part of the juniper tree it was leaning against. Jensen says spotting it was a stroke of luck.

JENSEN: It just was the right time, the right light. Sometimes that makes the difference.

SIEGEL: The rifle will spend some time with the curators of the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum in Wyoming so it can be preserved. Afterwards, it will return to the park where it will be on public display through the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.