Drugstore Cowboys

Though he usually did his own stunts and avoided showing off, Tom Mix -- the son of a lumberman, a champion rodeo star, and a Texas Ranger -- was a capable cowboy. One day he was visited on the set by a loud-mouthed Texan who began to make fun of movie cowboys. No real cow-puncher, he boldly declared, would waste his time on moving pictures. Mix politely asked the Texan for some pointers. Indicating a peg on the stage, he told the man that he had been unable to get a rope around it. The Texan tried, and failed, to rope the peg, declaring that no one could do so from such a distance. Mix asked to try and, to the man's chagrin, promptly roped the peg without breaking a sweat. The visitor then challenged the "phony cowboys" to a shooting match. Mix agreed and found a can. The Texan did well, but missed his last shot, whereupon Mix sent it well out of sight.

By this point the Texan was eager to leave. Mix, however, was still having fun and asked him to demonstrate the "Indian-grip." The Texan sat down at a table opposite Mix and locked arms with him. Within a few minutes the cow-puncher found his arm flat on the table, where Mix had bent it. At last, he left the set, having had enough of "drugstore cowboys" for a single day.

[Tom Mix is often said to have served as a sheriff-marshal in Dewey, Oklahoma, and was among the pall bearers at the funeral of legendary Wild West icon Wyatt Earp (in 1929).]

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