Old West Lifestyle & Stories


On October 11, 1940, the famous cowboy actor Tom Mix is killed in a freak car accident near his ranch in Florence, Arizona. He was driving his single-seat roadster with luggage on the rear shelf of the car. Tom was traveling along a straight desert road, when he unknowingly came to a bridge spanning a shallow gully that was out. When his car went down into the gully a heavy suitcase flew off the rear shelf of his car and crushed him.

Tom Mix had been one of the biggest silent movies stars in Hollywood during the 1920’s, appearing in more than 300 westerns and making as much as $10,000 a week. Unlike most of the actors appearing in westerns, Mix had actually worked as a cowboy, and had been a Texas Ranger.

In 1906, Mix joined a Wild West show, and four years later he started acting in motion pictures. He helped define the classic image of the western movie cowboy as a rough riding, quick-shooting defender of right and justice, an image that would be copied by hundreds of other actors who followed him.

With the coming of talking pictures, Mix’s movie career stalled. When he died in 1940 at the age of 60, he had lost most of his wealth and was largely forgotten.

Today a black iron silhouette of a riderless bronco marks the site of Mix’s death on the highway about 17 miles south of Florence, Arizona.

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