Tom Mix was a popular movie draw in the 1920s. One of his big movies of the silent era played at the Ruby Theatre in Jamestown in 1925.
â€œThe Deadwood Coachâ€ was set in the Dakota badlands. It was based on a novel by Clarence Mulford who was the chief writer for the Hopalong Cassidy series of western novels. Later on Louis Lâ€™Amour wrote a few stories for the Hopalong series as well.
The movie The Deadwood Coach took a few liberties with the Mulford novel The Orphan. The book was set in the American Southwest and dealt with the Apache. For anyone interested, and with an ereader, the book is available as a digital download on the Internet.
The movie, as Iâ€™ve mentioned, is set in the Dakota Badlands with the Sioux as a protagonist.
Tom Mix, of course, was the headline star. The leading lady, Doris May, was a little farther down the show bill.
Right below Tony, the Wonder Horse.
The film was billed as â€œa thrilling romance of the Dakota Bad Lands with Tom at his best.â€
Tom should have known a little about romance in the Dakota Badlands.
From 1909 to 1917 Tom Mix was married to Olive Stokes. According to Stokesâ€™ biography she had married Mix in Medora, North Dakota. She had traveled there from Oklahoma to buy horses for the family ranch.
Mix had followed her there after knowing her in Oklahoma. After several weeks of courting and enjoying the Medora night life they were married in the home of the local Justice of the Peace.
Of course Mix wasnâ€™t a movie star back then but may have ridden in some of the wild west shows of the era.
And it may have been his advance to movie stardom that ended his real life Dakota Badlands romance. He divorced Stokes in 1917 and married wife number four, Victoria Forde , in 1918.
Forde had starred with Mix in some of his early movies.
Evidently she figured the only way to get billing above the horse was to marry the star.
Movies were very good to Tom Mix.
Even during the low wage days of the 1920s Mix was making wages approaching $20,000 per week. Total pay for his 336 movies was over $6 million. Adjusted for inflation it amounts to about $400 million today.
But a lavish life style and five wives, he divorced Forde in 1931 for wife number 5, Mabel Ward, left Mix pretty much broke during the Great Depression. His last exposure came when he sold his name to a radio series. Although the main character was called Tom Mix the actor never appeared in the show.
Tom Mix died in 1940. A convertible car he was driving at about 80 mph went into a washout in an Arizona road. A metal suitcase filled with cash and jewelry broke loose from its moorings on the back luggage rack of the car and flew forward and broke his neck.
If only he had been riding Tony the Wonder Horse.