Elmer H Johnson
Elmer H. Johnson
Biographical information
Date of birth1838
Age (1885)47
Age (1931)93 (deceased)
Physical description
Hair colorBlack
Behind-the-scenes information
Played byBurton Gilliam
"Marty wandered over to a booth at the far end of the line; one he hadn't looked at yet. Actually, it was a wagon, with an elaborate sign painted on the side: / ELMER H. JOHNSON / PURVEYOR OF THE WORLD'S FINEST / SHOOTING INSTRUMENTS! / Marty walked around to the other side of the wagon, and joined the crowd. / The other side of the wagon was open, and inside was an impressively elaborate shooting gallery, with metal bears peeking from behind boulders, ducks on revolving wheels, and mechanical gunslingers and Indians marching along on a belt-driven line. / A man in a bright chequered suit and derby hat stood before and a little to one side of the wagon, calling to the crowd — a fellow, Marty guessed, whose name was Elmer H. Johnson."
—From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 114 and 115)
"Now surely you're not afraid to try something that even a baby could do?"
—Elmer to Marty

Elmer H. Johnson was the Colt Peacemaker salesman at the Hill Valley Festival.


Johnson was so impressed by Marty McFly's expertise at the shooting gallery and ability to stand up to Buford Tannen that he gave Marty a Colt gun and belt free of charge — with the added caveat that if Marty lost, Johnson would take the gun back.

Painted on Johnson's sales wagon was, in large titling, the wording: Elmer H. Johnson, Purveyor of the World's Finest Shooting Instruments!

Behind the scenes[]

  • Elmer H. Johnson is referred to in the credits as 'Colt Gun Salesman'. He is portrayed by Burton Gilliam, who has been in numerous Westerns since his debut in Blazing Saddles, where he was a major player in the famous 'baked beans round the campfire' scene. Johnson also was a regular on the TV series Evening Shade.
  • On page 114 of the Back to the Future Part III novelization (see Quote above), a misprint resulted in the line metal bears peeking from behind boulders reading 'metal bears peaking from behind boulders' instead. This error has been corrected here.
  • Although Elmer H. Johnson is referred to on page 115 of the novelization as wearing "a bright chequered suit and derby hat", his suit is dark brown on-screen. However, he does indeed sport a derby.