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Books, Print Media, Newsletters

Several folks have asked about books and print media related to cowboy films and cliffhangers.  I'm not peddling books and periodicals, but the following info and weblinks may help you locate some interesting readin' and reference material.

Links below are to many businesses and companies. Ye Old Corral webmeister gets no freebies, commissions, or compensation if you buy using these links.

Purchase & Search for New, Used, Rare, Out-of-Print books:
eBay Auction website - books
AddAll Book Search Search
Barnes and Noble
Advanced Book Exchange
Powell's Books (New & Used)
Hamilton Bargain Books has a lot of film-related books
The official websites for Gene Autry and John Wayne have books:
Autry National Center of the American West
John Wayne Birthplace Museum
The following publishers have a lot of books on cinema, TV, and radio:
McFarland Books
University of Oklahoma Press
Bear Manor Media

John H. Conley, Jr. is a kid from Indiana who wound up in Arizona, and he loves the cowboy and the west. His The Heart of a Cowboy is a fun mix of the old and new and the real and reel west.

The 6 x 9 softcover book is a very pleasant read because of John's writing style ... and there are scores of chapters/sections, each with a handful of pages highlighting a particular cowboy hero, TV show, stunt person, movie horses, etc. There are also profiles on current western tunesmiths and groups, western book authors, western painters, more.

You can order from amazon:

Amazon also has some book excerpts online for you to peruse. In the left side menu, you can also click to view the extensive table of contents:

Fall Girl: My Life as a Western Stunt Double is a great book by stunt woman Martha Crawford Cantarini and Chrystopher J. Spicer. Martha writes about horses, stuntwork, and doubling for stars including Eleanor Parker and Jean Simmons. The book also includes Martha's insights on Clark Gable, Audie Murphy, Robert Taylor, stuntman Joe Yrigoyen, others. This softcover has about 235 pages and was published in 2010 by McFarland & Company.

You'll find more about Martha and her days in Hollywoodland in the Stunt Men and Women section on the Old Corral.

You can order from Amazon and the following webpage includes some very positive reviews by book buyers: had the book, so check websites for prices.

There's a great book on movie horses - Hollywood Hoofbeats: Trails Blazed Across the Silver Screen by Petrine Day Mitchum with Audrey Pavia. Petrine Day Mitchum is Robert Mitchum's daughter. This is a topnotch hard cover with 216 pages, lots of B&W and color photos, and the book measures about 10 1/2 high x 11 1/2 wide. Printed on high quality stock, this book is superb ... and heavy.

Silent and B-western cowboys are covered, but not in super detail. But this is not a book about B-western heroes and their hosses - it's a history of the movie horse from the early days to today. So you have info and photos on Tom Mix, John Wayne, Hoppy and Topper, Gene and Champ, Roy and Trigger ... there's info on trainers and rental stables such as Fat Jones, Ace Hudkins, Glenn Randall ... lots of info on horses in A grade films such as NATIONAL VELVET, MY FRIEND FLICKA, BEN HUR, LORD OF THE RINGS ... there's TV western horses ... much more. And there's also great writeups on stunts as well as the device called the "Running W" (which was used to trip the horses). Well covered is the outcry against the equine deaths in film stunts, and more on the treatment of movie horses over the years. has used and new copies of the book and you can preview some pages:

As I was doing the writeup on Handlebar Hank Bell, I was reminded of a great book that I bought a long time ago. It is Diana Serra Cary's The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1975). Diana was "Baby Peggy" and she starred in over a hundred comedy shorts in the 1920s. Her father was Jack Montgomery, a real life cowboy who came to Hollywood and became one of the silent and sound B-western performers and stuntmen.

The book is a good read for those who want to learn more about early film making, and in particular, the story of real cowhands that exited the ranches to work in motion pictures for $5.00 a day and a box lunch ... because the work was steady and easier than punchin' cattle and repairing fences. Montgomery's friends included Hank Bell, Charles 'Slim' Whitaker, Bill Gillis, and many others. The cover on the right is from my 1975 hard cover edition.

A trade paperback was issued by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1996 and is available from Amazon for about $25.00:

Link to the book at the University of Oklahoma Press:

If you check the used book outfits above, you can find both the original hardcover and the newer softcover for $5.00 - $15.00.

The Films of Whip Wilson by David L. Godwin is a great read about a western movie hero who came along during the end of the B-western era.

This softcover is about 8 1/2 x 11 inches, has 260 pages, and includes a very detailed biography and filmography as well as personal appearance details, his comic books, Monogram contract info, tradepaper reviews, comments from people who worked with Wilson, info on trusty white hoss Bullet, and lots more. And there's many photos and movie adwork from Whip's films as well as photos and insights from the Wilson family. The book also provides a good perspective and "history lesson" on what it was like working for Monogram and being under a contract. The tidbits and nitty gritty in this well researched volume reminded me of Merrill McCord's excellent bio on the Randall Brothers.

November, 2016 update: e-mail David at: and see if he still has copies available. His mail address is: David L. Godwin, 7056 NC 50 South, Benson, North Carolina 27504.

William Boyd and Hopalong Cassidy fans can rejoice as there are now two books available.

Hopalong Cassidy: On the Page, On the Screen covers each of Clarence Mulford's books and each of the Cassidy films and TV shows. A comprehensive index enables readers interested in almost anything linked to the books or films - including eventual stars like Robert Mitchum, George Reeves, Jan Clayton and Barbara Britton - to find the relevant material instantly. Authored by Francis M. Nevins the book has 500+ pages. book is $40.00 (+$5.00 shipping) and can be ordered via the Museum of Lone Pine Film History. When you get to their website, click on "Shop" and then on "Books" and when checking Amazon in November, 2018, both hardcover and softcover versions were about $30.00:

Another good Hoppy read is Hopalong Cassidy - An American Legend by Michael Cochran and Grace Bradley Boyd. Published by Russ Cochran but when I checked in early 2019, he was no longer selling paperback copies at his website. All that was available was a leather bound deluxe volume at about $300.00:

However, Amazon has a few copies selling for $100.00+ ... and you may want to search used book sources:

Gene Autry Westerns - America's Favorite Cowboy by Boyd Magers was published Summer, 2007 and is a detailed look at all of the Autry films and TV shows and includes plot synopsis, negative costs, info on cast members, tunes, stunt folks, etc.

The official Gene Autry website notes that the book is out of print / sold out:

Amazon has new and used copies:

Public Cowboy No. 1 - The Life and Times of Gene Autry by Holly George-Warren is the ultimate biography on Gene. The softcover version is about $18.00 and the hardcover is about $28.00.

The official Gene Autry website has book details:

and the book ordering info is at:

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