Early Western star Tom Mix was a rarity in the early days of film: he’d actually been a cowboy.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1880, Mix spent time in the army during the Spanish-American War. Then he headed west, to work in saloons and as a rider at the famed 101 Ranch. He also won several rodeo contests.
Mix began his movie work in 1909, when he was 29. He went on to star in 336 films over the next 26 years—and performed almost all stunts himself, since he was an accomplished rider, roper and shooter.