March 27th, 2012

Cost of living in 1870s America; effect of stab wound

Two questions (vaguely related):

1. Looking for any sort of information on the cost of living in the 1870s/1880s American West, particularly in the New Mexico/Arizona/Colorado territories (i.e., the places that didn't have gold rushes). I'm particularly looking for both what things cost and the average income -- it's of limited help to me to know that a good gun cost $50 if I don't know what you typical homesteader could count on as an annual wage. I've looked through the tags on this site and couldn't find anything that really answered my questions, and for some reason my brain just doesn't compute the site that translates historical prices into modern day equivalents. What would be really awesome would be any sort of source with a good list of what daily goods (like a box of bullets) cost -- right now I'm going off of half-remembered price lists from the Oregon Trail video game and that way can only lead to madness and historical sloppiness.

Searches: "cost of living" + "1870s America" + "daily wage" + most variations.

2. What are/would be the long term effects of a through-and-through stab wound to the hand? In the scenario I'm thinking of, a pissed off loser stabs a gambler through the hand with a bowie knife, pinning the hand to the table. Disregarding pesky things like blood loss and infection, what sort of complications could my character expect right away, and what sort of issues would he have down the road? From my searches it seems like there may be a chance of lasting numbness but what else? Looking at the anatomy of a hand, it seems like there isn't really much there that a knife could seriously injure if said knife went in through the center of the hand (in terms of tendons/muscles) -- but there's a reason I'm not a doctor.

Searches: "anatomy of a hand" + "stab wounds"