(John Ford, USA, 1950):  Legend has it John Ford cottoned to stunt-rider Ben Johnson's star potential when the young Oklahoman stopped a runaway wagon from hitting a wall during the filming of Fort Apache. He signed the genial, soft-spoken kid to a seven-picture contract, and...

(TV series, USA, 1956-58):  The Alamo's other principle legend rode onto TV screens a year after Disney's Crockettmania broke, and in most of the half dozen episodes I've seen, he's promptly shot right out of the saddle before the credits appear. It's Lousiana circa 1829...

(TV series, USA, 1954-57): The '50s TV frontier was as wild in its historical whimsicality as it was in its lawlessness, in fact a darned sight moreso: morality might have dictated a certain reticence when it came to violating flesh, but no such restraints kept...

(1864-1946): Not technically the western's first star -- the credit must probably fall to Broncho Billy Anderson -- but certainly the genre's most influential and visionary early figure. His movies, which numbered in the dozens despite their mere decade of production, almost single-handedly foresaw the...

(King Baggot, USA, 1925): "It's the last of the west, boys." These words are spoken by William S. Hart's cattleman Don Carver as he gazes at the endless trail of covered wagons headed toward the starting point for the great land rush of 1890. When...

(Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1920): The title refers both to the hero Dan Kurrie's horse and the true grit required to survive in a William S. Hart western. In this liberal variation on the boilerplate good badman scenario, Hart plays an itinerant drifter who lands a...

(Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1920): Following a tight-scrape train robbery, Buck Deering's gang crawls back into its cave -- literally -- to debate their leader's announcement that it's time to disperse before the law closes in once and for all. But Buck, who is played by...

(Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1919): The Lambert Hillyer/William S. Hart alliance is in peak form here, with the star first appearing out of the wilderness in full plainsman/Leatherstocking/buckskin regalia. He's gone to meet his brother travelling by riverboat, only to learn the young man has been...

(Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1921): In an exalted league with Hell's Hinges, Wagon Tracks and The Toll Gate, Lambert Hillyer's Three Word Brand is easily one of the actor and director's most intricate and ambitious collaborations. It begins with Hart as widower Ben Trego, who spectacularly blows...

(Lambert Hillyer, USA, 1917):  One of the first Hart vehicles credited to the former journalist Lambert Hillyer (a friend of Hart's), the movie, or what remains of it, was more likely directed by both the actor and the neophyte director. It certainly feels of a...

(William S. Hart, USA, 1916): One of eight or so movies Bill Hart directed and/or starred in in 1916, The Return of Draw Egan is an archetypal good badman vehicle, featuring the long-faced one as a bank robber who gets hired as a helltown sheriff...

(William S. Hart, USA, 1916): The same year he appeared in the smoldering Hell's Hinges, William S. Hart very ably directed himself in this story of a bad man made good by exposure to a helpless widow and her papaless child. (Yes, we're entering Shane...