Cowboy Heroes

Learning the Code of the West

Whatever happened to Randolph Scott

ridin’ the range alone?

Whatever happened to Gene and Tex

And Roy and Rex, the Durango Kid?

Whatever happened to Randolph Scott

His horse plain, as can be?

Whatever happened to Randolph Scott

Has happened to the best of me.

So sang the Statler Brothers in their 1974 country hit.  For those of us who grew up on a diet of Westerns at the local theater, the song had particular resonance.  The cowboys were our heroes.  There were dozens to choose from.  My favorite among the B Western stars was William Boyd, who made 66 films as Hopalong Cassidy beginning in 1935 and ending in 1948.  The movies continued to be shown regularly through the late 40’s and well into the 50’s.  Although never ranked the number one cowboy actor in annual polls, he notched the number two spot seven times and was in the top five for 15 years.  Riding across the screen on Topper, his white stallion, he had not only the fastest gun in the Old West but the greatest smile and laugh.  The white-haired...

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