Courtesy Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Kingman, Arizona


Here’s a classic film story that involves my hometown, Kingman, the Hotel Beale and my shirttail kin. As the story goes, Buster Keaton was traveling through Kingman in 1924-25 and he stayed at the Hotel Beale. When he went into the bar for a drink, he happened to meet a local cattleman who always stayed at the Beale when he came into Kingman on business. That cowman, promoter and former gunfighter (see page 46) was Tap Duncan. (My aunt Sadie Pearl married his grandson.) The cowboy and the comedian hit it off, and Tap’s Diamond Bar ranch came up and the next thing you know, Buster leaves, goes back to Hollywood and returns to Mohave County with a film crew, and they film a movie Buster wrote, called Go West, around the Diamond Bar, which is north of Red Lake (above), but you knew that. Anyway, Buster’s costar, Brown Eyes, got second billing, because as one wag put it, “She did all her own stunts.”


Courtesy MGM


Thanks to Jim Hinkley, of Route 66 fame, I finally got to see the full version of Buster Keaton’s Go West (1925). There is a sequence at a train siding which some of us think is probably Hackberry (where Tap shipped his cattle). If you want to watch it, go to and type in Buster Keaton’s Go West.


Local cowboys gathered around a shipment of gold produced at the Tom Reed Mine in Oatman. The photo was taken at Kingman railroad platform in 1915 with Harvey House in right background. Identified in photo left to right: Joe Carrow, Red Lynch, Byron Duncan, Charley Duncan, Tap Duncan (center, wearing his promoter outfit, white hat, bow tie and boots), Nolan Tyree, Smith and Ramon Contreras. The gold is a $176,000 run, which was taken to the San Francisco World’s Fair for exhibition by Murrie Carrow. Ironically, Tap was run over by a car and killed in 1944, not 50 yards from where this photo was taken.
Courtesy Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Kingman, Arizona

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