Cowboys of the Silver Screen
William S. Hart
Issue Date: April 17, 2010
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.5 x 10.75
William S. Hart (1864-1946) was in his teens when he moved to New York City to become a stage actor. By the 1890s, he was one of the leading Shakespearean actors on Broadway. But it was Western plays, such as The Squaw Man and The Virginian, that Hart enjoyed the most.
In 1914, Hart moved to Hollywood to act in motion pictures. After playing supporting roles in two short films, he starred in the feature film The Bargain. Hart portrayed the “good” bad man – a cowboy who would fight, gamble, and steal, but was also kind, honest, and caring.
Hart insisted on showing the real Old West in his films. He went so far as to use real Indians, gamblers, prostitutes, and saloon entertainers in his movies. His gritty depiction of the Wild West was new and refreshing to moviegoers. This made him one of the most popular Western heroes of the silent movie era.
In 1925, Hart produced Tumbleweeds, a nostalgic look at the closing of the Old West. The movie is regarded as one of the greatest silent Westerns every made. In 1939, Tumbleweeds was reissued with a spoken introduction by Hart. The speech turned out to be his farewell to the silver screen.