Other Cowboy Stars – Tim McCoy

August 27, 2008

In 1935, Tim McCoy left Columbia Pictures to make westerns for Puritan films. Columbia needed a new cowboy star, and Charles Starrett got the job.

More observant men than I have noted that the studio gave Charles the same costume. Tim’s look was big white hat, white scarf, black shirt, black pants, white horse.

The similarities end there. Tim McCoy is short, sort of pudgy, with a roundish face. He rides his horse very erect. He talks to his horse alot – explaining plot points and his motivation. He rolls his own smokes and talks in a slow and lazy sort of way, with an “authentic” drawl. What must have been a real draw for him was the fact that he has this incredible intensity when he’s angry – great eyes.

Tim McCoy was the real deal, a cowboy from Wyoming, with a great past and a lot of schemes. Here is a good concise history of his life.

In “Texas Cyclone”, 1932, Texas Grant rides into Stampede, Arizona. He is mistaken by everyone as Jim Rawlings, missing for over 5 years. Texas decides to stick around and take this identity, cleaning up the town and settling Jim Rawlings’ old scores. So, like Charley often does, Tim has a double identity in this film.

(Interestingly, in most films Tim McCoy is named “Tim” Something.)

Other differences between a Tim McCoy film and a Charles Starrett film: lots of people and background action. Also, they speed up the action – fights and riding – alot, I mean, real fast. There are some featured horse jumps – like over a wagon – I’ve never seen anything like that in a CS flick.

Tim has a nice supporting cast here: Walter Brennan (was he ever young?) and a decidedly young John Wayne as his sidekick, Steve.

So this is Charley’s cinema-father. I like.

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