Back to prior page            Go to next page

McCoy's work at Columbia is his best. And generally recognized as his greatest film is END OF THE TRAIL (Columbia, 1932), a tale of cavalry, greed, the search for gold, and the white man's injustices to the Indians. Columbia spent some money on this one as much of the cast and crew went on location to the Wind River Reservation near Lander, Wyoming. There, members of the Arapahoe tribe were used in the filming.

Though I've never seen any of McCoy's MGM silents, the scenic locations for SPOILERS OF THE WEST (MGM, 1928) and WYOMING (MGM, 1928) were reportedly filmed in/near Lander, Wyoming (at that time, Tim still had his ranch near there). Supposedly, some of the stock footage shot for one/both of these silents was later utilized in Columbia's END OF THE TRAIL.

As mentioned earlier, Tim's career faded after his work at Columbia. He found starring roles in lower class productions, some of which are enjoyable, but these were not Tim McCoy at his cowboy peak. For example, in several of his post-Columbia films, he went undercover, disguised as a Mexican gent with a slick moustache and awful accent.

Thankfully, he returned to form in the Monogram Rough Riders series of 1941-1942.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, from L-to-R are McCoy, Wade Boteler, Luana Walters and Chief White Eagle ... from McCoy's END OF THE TRAIL (Columbia, 1932).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Cavalry officer Tim McCoy gets busted from the service in this scene from END OF THE TRAIL (Columbia, 1932). Likable Lafe McKee is on the left, and doing the 'busting' is Wheeler Oakman, the real baddie in the story. The man between Oakman and McCoy is Henry Hall. The other player is unidentified.

The End of the Trail

Tim McCoy passed away on Sunday, January 29, 1978 at the Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center/Hospital at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. There were some stories that he was buried in the military cemetery at Ft. Huachuca, but that information appears to be incorrect. Several contributors have e-mailed with info that the Ft. Huachuca post historian confirmed that McCoy was never buried there and his remains were cremated and given to family. We do know that about nine years after his passing, Colonel Tim McCoy was interred in the family plot at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan. Second wife Inga is there also.

(Courtesy of Bob and Nick Fiorentino)
Thanks to Bob Fiorentino - and his father Nick Fiorentino - for this photo.

Checked with the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History as to the location of this Tim McCoy historical marker. They replied:

"The marker is located in Morley Plaza in Downtown Saginaw, Michigan. Morley Plaza is located on the west side of the 100 block of North Washington Avenue."

Trivia - Tim McCoy short for MGM circa 1929

Les Adams writes: A NIGHT ON THE RANGE was a MGM short (musical) directed by Nick Grinde which was basically a voice-test for McCoy which, at least as far as MGM was concerned, he flunked.

Wrapup & Some Personal Thoughts

I always think of Tim McCoy as the older, wiser, veteran cowboy hero ... a mature man of the west. He also had that steely-eyed stare in a gunfight, and when he did a quick draw, I tended to think his shot was always high.

A similar screen persona was William Boyd in the Hopalong Cassidy films. McCoy was also one of the Hollywood western 'big guns' who never starred for Republic Pictures (which was not unusual - some others who did not were Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, Charles Starrett). And McCoy, (like Maynard, Buck Jones and others), was negatively impacted with the arrival and fan acceptance of the 'singing cowboy'.

If you look closely at the McCoy films, you'll see several soon-to-be cowboy heroes being groomed or tested. We've already mentioned John Wayne. Additionally, there was Bob Allen, who would get a brief mid 1930s series at Columbia after Ken Maynard exited. And in Tim's PDC/PRC films, you'll find rotund western singer Art Davis who, a few years later, would be one of the three leads in PRC's short-lived Frontier Marshals trio series of the early 1940s.

About a year before his passing, Tim (and his son Ronald) authored Tim McCoy Remembers The West and it was originally published in 1977 by Doubleday (ISBN: 0385127987). A softcover/trade paperback printing was done by the University of Nebraska Press/Bison Press in 1988 (ISBN: 0803281552). If you want a good read about the real and reel west, locate a used copy of either the hardbound or softcover editions. Used prices begin at around $10.00.

Tim McCoy Comics

(Courtesy of Bill McCann)
Above, Tim McCoy #19
Thx to Lansing Sexton for the following info on the comic book series of Tim McCoy:

Like most of the silent cowboy stars who made the transition to sound (Tom Mix is the great exception), Tim McCoy had a short comic book career. This is partly due to the timeframe involved, as comics didn't really hit their stride until the end of the 30s, some years after McCoy's generation of cowboy stars had peaked. However, Colonel McCoy holds a minor but noteworthy place in comic book history.

For his 1933-34 season at Columbia, Tim made a series of non-western action films, one of which became the first movie adaptation in comic book form. This was Tim McCoy, Police Car 17 published by Whitman Publishing Co. in 1934. It is an oversized comic (11 x 14 3/4) and is in black and white.

Colonel McCoy's next appearance was in issues #31 and #32, dated August and September of 1938 respectively, of Dell's long-running, aptly named anthology series Popular Comics.

Much later, in 1948, Charlton comics began Tim McCoy Western Movie Stories with issue 16 (taking over the numbering from a former unrelated title) dated October 1948. It ran for only 6 issues, the last dated August 1949. All had drawn covers of Tim, although the first featured a photo back cover of John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in RED RIVER. In an apparent effort to support Tim with younger heroes, issue 17 had a Rocky Lane story and issue 18 had a Rod Cameron story. Number 19 guest-starred Whip Wilson and Andy Clyde, while 20 featured Jimmy Wakely, and 21, the final issue, guest-starred Johnny Mack Brown.

Back to prior page            Go to next page