Artifacts: Western Posters, Art & Sculpture

Colonel Tim McCoy

During his career, Colonel Tim McCoy (1891-1978) was an Indian Commissioner, a veteran of both World Wars, and a silent and sound film star. Between the years of 1923 to 1965, he was in over ninety movies and for a time was MGM’s resident cowboy, noted for his "steely stare”.

Tim McCoy was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1891. At age 18 he went West. He learned the skills of a cowboy, homesteader in Wyoming, and became a rancher. The Indians of the area, the Arapahoes and Shoshones, saw in him a man of their own spirit.   He learned their language and was given by them the name "High Eagle”. He served in World War One as a cavalry officer and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. A crack shot, Tim was famed for his fast draw.

His film career began in 1923 as the technical adviser for filming of the epic "The Covered Wagon”. In addition, he acted a liaison between the director and the hundreds of Indian extras. When the picture was released in Los Angeles at Graumann’s Theater, McCoy was their first cowboy hero star.

From 1934 to 1938, McCoy went on the road with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, with such success that he was persuaded to put together his own Wild West Show.

The Tim McCoy Real Wild West and Rough Riders of the World was the last of the Wild West Shows. The large poster in the center of the Pioneer dining room hung on Tim’s stagecoach in this show.

Tim went on to host his own television show in Los Angeles from 1950-53. He was probably the most authoritative cowboy-hero ever on television, being a virtual living link with the old West. Tim’s friend "Iron Eyes” Cody appeared regularly on this show as an Indian storyteller.

In 1973, Tim McCoy was inducted into the Western Performers Hall  of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His book, "Tim McCoy Remembers the west : An autobiography”, was published in 1977, a year before his death.

In 1976, Tim came to Sun Valley for the Western Film Conference. Some photos from this event hang on the wall to the right of the front window. With Tim are Iron Eagle and Clint Eastwood. Tim signed an original Real Wild West and Rough Riders poster for Sun Valley resident Janice Belson and that poster is on the wall just inside the entrance to the Pioneer dining room.

Tim McCoy was more than a host, performer and sharpshooter. He was a legend and the real McCoy.

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