Vin's Story...

An ex-bounty hunter, Vin Tanner now carries a price on his own head. Sentenced to hang after being framed by an outlaw named Eli Joe for the murder of an innocent man, Vin escaped and is now wanted by the law in Tascosa, Texas. Upon arriving in Four Corners, he took a menial job at a hardware store, and a week later met up with gunfighter Chris Larabee when the two of them intervened to stop the lynching of Nathan Jackson.
Eli Joe subsequently reappeared with the intention of silencing Vin permanently, and he was killed by Chris before it could be proven that Vin was innocent of charges against him. Vin is determined to return to Tascosa eventually and clear his name, but, having been hired along with the other six by federal judge Orin Travis to keep the peace in and around Four Corners, he is honoring his commitment.

Vin's nemesis, the outlaw
Eli Joe (Vincent Castellano)

Details of Vin's life before joining the Seven are sketchy, but it is known that his mother died young of putrid fever (an archaic term for tonsilitis, diphtheria or other throat infection that had progressed to gangrene) when he was only five years old. At some point in his life, he was a buffalo hunter, and learned his tracking skills while living with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes. He is a skilled marksman, the "sharpshooter" of the group. Vin speaks Spanish and at least one Native American dialect, and he is also an accomplished poet, even though he does not know how to read or write. It is not known if "Vin" is short for a more formal name.

Vin's characteristics inlude his tradmark posture - which fans refer to affectionately as "The Lean." This affectation was suggested by Eric Close's wife, and is intended to hint at a mild case of scoliosis (an abnormal curvature of the spine which develops in late childhood).

Eric chose to play Vin as a man of few words because, "People are uncomfortable with silence, so that gives Vin an edge, a menace, a bit of danger." Though quiet, unassuming, and a loner by nature, Vin doesn't back away from a fight and has formed a bond with the Seven's dynamic leader, Chris Larabee.

With the exception of JD Dunne, Vin is the youngest of the Seven. Even so, the others have demonstrated their willingness to accept him as their leader in Chris Larabee's absence.

Renowned buffalo hunter Wild Bill Hickock (right), was the inspiration for Vin's shoulder-length hair. After seeing a picture of Hickock, Eric decided that the longer hair would give Vin a more rugged and mature appearance. Unfortunately, Eric's own hair was not long enough, and, in early episodes, it was supplemented by extensions.

Wild West legend, Wild Bill Hickock

Vin's gun is actually a sawed-off Winchester rifle with an enlarged lever that he carries in a holster as a sidearm. The gun is virutally identical to the weapon carried by bounty hunter Josh Randall (Steve McQueen, right) in the 50s TV series Wanted, Dead or Alive. This type of modified firearm was originally called a "hog's leg." It was McQueen who gave it the nickname "mare's leg," a term often used by M7 fans.

Vin's rifle resembles a .44-40 Winchester 1873, but is probably a .30-30 Winchester '94 (which would post-date the series' time frame). Riflery is a real-life interest of actor Eric Close. [CLICK HERE to read more about the Seven's firearms.]

Vin's other possessions include a sizeable wardrobe of bandanas and colorful shirts, a "slouch" hat (often worn by members of theU.S. Cavalry), a nautical spyglass, and a harmonica, from which we are unlikely to ever hear any actual music. Eric's interpretation is that rather than appreciating the harmonica for its musical potential, Vin takes simple pleasure in the melodic sounds it makes, perhaps because they remind him of the wind and the wilderness whereVin feels most at home.

Vin's horse is played by two equine actors, Peso (above left, the horse most often ridden by Eric Close) and Quinn (above right). Both are black geldings with a white blaze. Quinn's blaze is somewhat wider, and Peso has one white sock, on his right hind hoof, while Quinn has them on both hind legs. (If Vin has a name for his horse, he hasn't mentioned it.)

Where Vin lives was a mystery until the second season, when his "home" was revealed to be a covered wagon. Fans instantly dubbed the traveling domecile the "Vinnebago."

Vin was an original character in the classic film The Magnificent Seven, and was played by legendary film star Steve McQueen (right, leaning into the part of "Vin") in one of his most memorable roles.

Vin Tanner Fan Fiction

Screen Captures of Vin

Jo's Vin Tanner Page


This site was involuntarily
removed from the
Vin Tanner Webring
on June 12, 2000

The Owner
regrets the inconvenience this will cause to fans of
Vin and The Magnificent Seven.

In a kinder, gentler world, it would still be part of the ring.