Archives On The Air 135: Hollywood Translator—Tim McCoy Papers

Mar 29, 2019

Tim McCoy dropped out of college to pursue adventure.

He moved to Lander, Wyoming in the early 1900s. McCoy became an expert roper and horseman. He also developed an interest in Native-American life - and learned to speak Arapahoe and Shoshone. 

Paramount Pictures asked McCoy to help cast Native American extras for 1923's "The Covered Wagon." He also wrote the film's prologue. This spurred his interest in Westerns.

But McCoy's success in Hollywood waned with the Great Depression.

In 1935 he started his own Wild West show. It went bankrupt just three years later.

By 1952, McCoy had his own TV show. He also wrote short stories and poetry about the West.

The Tim McCoy papers at UW's American Heritage Center contain the records from his life creating works about the American West.