What History Taught Me

Dr. Buck Montgomery, Wild Western Festival Producer


Click image above for larger view

The secret to producing festivals is the “Disneyland Theory”—always offer something different for your guests to experience every year. Walt changed attractions; I change performers and shows to keep it fresh!

When it comes to authenticity, my stunt shows are considered more hysterically correct than historically correct.

I fell in love with the West, at the age of 6, while watching a train robbery gunfight at Knott’s Berry Farm. I asked my Dad, “Who are those guys?” “Cowboys,” he said. “I know that, but what is their job?” “Son, they are stuntmen.” I replied, “That’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up…a cowboy stuntman!” He finally believed me when, at 19, I called him from the studios and told him I just did my first “gag,” falling off a horse for 50 bucks.

Don’t get me started on the high cost of funeral expenses and why Tupperware hasn’t bought my idea for the “Burp-A-Bod,” a multipurpose, pastel-colored, cost effective substitute for those expensive polished hardwood caskets. But if anyone at Rubbermaid is reading this, we should talk.

Working in the Disney Animation Department taught me that the best way to hone a talent is not always in a classroom, but rather to be mentored by experts in their field. I was privileged to be at the Studios while Walt’s “Nine Old Men” were still there. Now that’s getting an education!

My daddy always told me: “Son, if you don’t have stories to tell, it means that you haven’t lived life.” I listened. If you don’t believe me, come by and meet me at my festival, and I’ll tell you a tale, or two.

History has taught me that everyone, no matter how small a role they are cast to play on earth, can and will make history. I’ve seen it firsthand.

My biggest influence has been this quote I use in my everyday life: “Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.”

The one writer I am in awe of is B. Kliban. If it weren’t for his memorable writings, I would have never known to “Never eat anything bigger than [my] head.”

I really dislike movies that do not offer audiences an entertaining escape from reality. In all my years of going on roundups, I never saw a singing cowboy who looked like Gene Autry or Roy Rogers, but I sure liked watching movies with those fictional characters in them.

Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been shot…with a blank!

Dr. Buck Montgomery, Wild Western Festival Producer

While working as a Disney Studio animator, Dr. Buck Montgomery, a former bulldogger in the California rodeo circuit, began working as a Hollywood stuntman to supplement his income. Mentored by the stunt double for John Wayne, he ended up working in films such as The Sacketts, The Long Riders, Pale Rider and Back to the Future Part III. He went on to work as the entertainment director at Ponderosa Ranch (theme park for NBC’s Bonanza) and ended up producing his own history-meets-Hollywood festival, the Wild Western Festival, in Glendale, Arizona (held this October 19-21). He’s also the trail boss for SASS’s Wild West Performing Arts Society.

True Westerners

Rick Wallner

Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

MAY 2015

True West Magazine Issue May 2015
Buy This Back Issue: May 2015

JUNE 2015

True West Magazine Issue June 2015
Buy This Back Issue: June 2015

JULY 2015

True West Magazine Issue July 2015
Buy This Back Issue: July 2015


True West Magazine Issue August 2015
Buy This Back Issue: August 2015


True West Magazine Issue September 2015
Buy This Back Issue: September 2015

True West Site Guide


True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

Product of the Month

The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

"Your book is fascinating, coupling your powerful illustrations [and] tracking...from birth to Tombstone to the legend [Wyatt] had become;...even Wyatt would approve." --By Hugh O'Brian, of the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

"Hands down the definitive books on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday." --By Allen Barra, New York Newsday