COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS
How Love Won The West !
And Loving Horses Too!
Over One Hundred and Fifty Years of U. S. Pioneers Out West,
but it wasn't until after the civil war that
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show attempted to portray this saga.
Buffalo Bill and
and all the Cowboys and Indians put on such a great show!
Then times changed and new technology enabled a new era of the West, the movies.
This is where this page of history begins. We have selected a nice series of 40 pictures
from many of the great movies that portray this great Western saga.
A saga of hard ridin', ropin', drinkin' cowboys and gunfighters,
but more than the guns, the lawmen, the barbed wire, the cattle, wagons and trains etc.
it was "Love that Won the West". To make the West a place to bring Women, have families
and settle down, work the farms and ranches, build civilized towns and prosper, it took Love.
THE EARLY DAYS, TURN OF THE CENTURY:
It all began with some tough guys and cowgirl queen in a Cripple Creek Saloon in 1898,
who said, "Hey, pardners, lets make a Western movie and some big bucks!"
But it took a real cowboy to pull it off, George Barnes, 1903,
and some great new new movie making technology from Edison.
Then "A Race For The Millions" in Westerns took off,
A virtual reality of Wild West times was created by 1906.
Then a cowboy named Broncho Billy Anderson showed them all real Western Cowboy Class.
Then of course, Hollywood got into the action, such as Thomas Ince,
who maintained a huge staff of Western stars, such as Chief Eagleshirt, much like Buffalo Bill had.
David Griffith created many great films before WW I also, of which
"Goddess of Sagebrush Gulch", 1912, with Blanche Sweet is still one of the greatest.
Then another great Cowboy rode into town, William S. Hart.
He was the embodiment of the strong silent Western Hero, the first great Western "Star".
Pictured here with Louise Glaum in "Triangle", 1916.
John Ford then took Westerns to new levels, making 60 great films,
including many filmed in real Western places such as Monument Valley.
Of course Indians played major parts in many westerns.
"Indian Massacre", 1912, with Ann Little and Frances Ford was the stereotype for decades.
Pearl White and Crane Wilbur starred in "The Perils of Pauline", 1914.
Hats off to them for this great pre-war classic.
Ruth Roland, Queen of the Silent Westerns, was such a classy Horsewoman,
a real credit and role model for Western Women ever since these early days.
Western Women, like Anita Stewart, 1920, finally got into the swing of things out west,
shedding the Victorian clothes, and puttin' on some Buckskins and Guns in "Fighting Shepardess".
Women also took up other Western roles, such as Saloon Girls,
as portrayed by Fritzie Ridgeway in "Hell's Heroes", 1930.
Helen Twelvetrees knew how to handle a Winchester and Clark Gable also,
in the classic, "The Painted Desert", 1931.
THE "B" WESTERN BOOM TOWN DAYS:
Bill Elliott, Tim McCoy, Willian Boyd, Gene Autry, Bob Steele and many more
really added much style, quality and dimension to the Westerns of the 30's.
Bob Steele was my personal favorite of this era, although
"Hoppie", Wm. Boyd, is dearly loved by us all, and Gene Autry is the greatest legend.
Ken Maynard did "Honor of the Range", 1933 and surely did it Honor.
This photo also shows the classic "Shiplapped" and "Board and Batten" Western sets.
Then a superstar emerged, "The Plainsman", Gary Cooper as Wild Bill Hickok,
along with Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane in this Cecil B. DeMille 1936 classic.
A special "Western Love Affair" also developed that year in "Rose Marie".
Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy,
rode, camped and sang their way into everyone's hearts.
My favorite sweetheart of this Era was Frances Dee, in Wells Fargo, 1937,
with the tall cool Joel McCrea. Note the authentic Motherlode Stagecoach in this pic.
Randolph Scott and Joan Bennett also stole many a fan's heart.
"The Texans", 1938, was a "Texas Sized B Western" and remains a great Love classic.
THE WW II YEARS, THE FIGHTIN' ERA:
Certainly, fightin' wasn't just reserved for the men, by 1939 with War breakin' out,
the women, Marlene Dietrich and Una Markel, were getting into the action as well !!!
Bad Cowgirls became popularized in the 40's, with Belle Star, The Bandit Queen, 1941,
staring Gene Tierney, and Randolph Scott.
Jane Russell in "The Outlaw", 1943, was a sensational Cowgirl.
Outlaws were "In", The Dalton, James and Younger Gangs rode hard through the West.
Still Love wins out, as Gary Cooper showed in "The Westerner", 1940,
with Doris Davenport.
"The Spoilers" and "Tall in the Saddle" with John Wayne, 1940's
also showed us the Good Guys and Love wins out.
The Good Guys always win, like Anne Jeffreys, Bill Elliott and Gabby Hayes.
Cowboys not only fought Western Mesquiteeers, but also beat the Germans and Axis powers!
Audrey Long and James Warren epitomized the classic Western Cowgirl and Cowboy style,
in "The Wanderer of the Wasteland", 1945.
But the fightin' years continued, perhaps in part due to the Cold War?
So Cowboys such as Rory Calhoun kept our fightin' spirits alive in 1949.
THE TELEVISION YEARS, A NEW MEDIA ERA:
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans moved Westerns into the television era.
Their incredible real life saga of Love truely did win the West, Love conquers all!!!
Probably the most romantic of all actors, Clark Gable, played in many westerns such as,
"Across the Wide Missouri", 1951, with Maria Elena Marques, a great story of Love.
Robert Taylor is "Ambushed" by Arlene Dahl in this 1950 classic.
Robert became a popular Western Star, living just West of Hollywood, near Will Rogers.
Perhaps none portrayed the "End of an Movie Era" better than "Shane", 1953,
That kid callin' out for Alan Ladd, symbolizing every kid's desire for more Westerns!!!
Many great actors: Wayne, Lancaster, Palance, Massey, Murphy, Douglas,
Van Cleef, Widmark, Eastwood etc.
made great Westerns, many great TV series such as Madison, Bond, Boone, Connors, Arness and Angie Dickinson (Rio Bravo, 1959)
Guy Madison and Andy Devine in the Wild Bill Hickok TV series,
were two of the greatest side-kicks since Laurel and Hardy.
"How The West Was Won", 1964, with Jimmy Stewart and Carol Baker
was a great attempt to recreate the Wild West, with exciting locations, photography and spectacle.
James Arness and Dennis Weaver in Gunsmoke is a legend bigger than anyone ever imagined.
Years of re-runs never faded all the great characters of this immortal 60's Western TV Series.
THE SIXTIES, END OF THE WESTERN?:
One of last, but one of the grestest, Westerns was "Ride the High Country", 1962,
staring Scott, Starr, McCrea and Mariette Hartley, a rising star.
One of my favorites was "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence", 1962, Lee Marvin and John Wayne.
This pic of Lee Marvin and Jean Seberg (with a gun on 2nd husband!) is from "Paint Your Wagon".
This era produced some truely great films: Gregory Peck in "The Stalking Moon", 1969.
Many great Western Stars "Rode into History" and "Crossed the Divide" in the Sixties.
But, its not over ! Great stars just can't resist the Westerns, the "True Grit" of it !
Rachel Welch sure couldn't resist "100 Rifles", 1969, with Burt Lancaster and Jim Brown
and fans couldn't resist her great pioneer Cowgirl spirit and skill with a Winchester.
Another Great Western Star Crosses the Divide:
Richard Farnsworth died 10/6/00 at age 80 of a gunshot.
We all loved his many great roles over 20 years,
The Grey Fox, The Natural, Tom Horn, Rhinestone & Resurrectiuon.
We pray for his.
KNOV Country Western Radio
The Ranch and Farm Office
Utopia Springs Ranch Gallery
We hope you enjoyed this pictorial history of Cowboy & Cowgirl Movies.
Pictures are courtesy of the great Western producers, curators, archivists and
William Everson, Pictorial History of Western Film,
Citadel Press, NY, NY, 1969.