In the Wild West, it was most common for 6-shot revolvers to only be loaded with 5 rounds (the ‘Cowboy Load’). A live bullet in the chamber below the hammer of a 19th century single-action revolver can be set off with a sharp knock, hence it was not desirable to carry one fully loaded.
In 1850, California law made it legal for towns to pay bounties for Indian scalps. Shasta City offered $5 for every Indian head brought to city hall, expenses reimbursed by the state treasury. There were 150,000 Indians in California before the 49ers, by 1870 less than 30,000.