Excerpted from Walt Farmer's cdrombook, "Wyoming, A History of Film & Video in the 20th Century"

WARPAINT, 1926, Silent, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Meet Tim McCoy: Adapted from a story by Peter B. Kyne, Warpaint(MGM's first full length feature), was the first of 4 to be shot on the Wind River Indian Reservation, a film McCoy acknowledged as his first although it was his 2nd of 5 in Wyoming.  He was a Wyoming resident, military officer, adopted Arapaho Indian, and film legend.  McCoy was injured twice during the filming.  The first incident involved a bad fall that almost tore off his knee cap.  The second was reported to involve a fight scene at the blockhouse between Tim and an Indian.  During the fight, a gun discharged against his neck causing some severe powder burns.  It was speculated that the shell casing had fallen on the ground, picked up some grit, and had been chambered in the gun without being wiped off.  McCoy was stunned by the shot and when his horse suddenly stopped, he was badly bruised after being pitched headlong into a rock pile!  It took the physician over 3 hours to clean the wound and extract the powder granules.

Central Wyoming

                                                                                              Prayer Mountain, Wind River Indian Reservation
                                                                                                                                    Photo: Walt Farmer

McCoy later told the same story, differently.  "I was supposed to be galloping my horse toward the cameras, pursued by a band of hostiles who were shooting at me.  In the excitement of the moment, an old Shoshoni pulled up alongside me, pointed his rifle at my head and pulled the trigger.  His blank round of .45-.70 Springfield ammunition was an old one, the powder caked and, as the trigger was pulled and the shell exploded, hard balls of powder slammed into my head, neck and shoulders, burned my face, rent my shirt and sent me flying off my horse and onto the ground. I lay there for what seemed an aeon, partially conscious of the commotion surrounding me.  The Indians were silent and gathered their ponies in a ring around my body, but (Director Woody)Van Dyke was making noise enough for five men.  'Goddamnit!' he roared. 'You're not supposed to fall off the horse.  You stupid bastard, you've just ruined a beautiful shot.  'Then it was quiet again and I could feel a warm trickle of blood flowing from my left ear, down across my cheek and onto the ground.  Somebody held me by my left shoulder, causing excruciating pain to ripple down my arm and along my back.  I moaned. 'Well, at least you're alive.  Thalberg will be pleased to hear that,' Van Dyke snarled sarcastically.  Strong hands under my arms lifted me to a wobbly stance.  'You ready for another take?' the director spat, turning on his heel and walking away.  'And this time, will you try and do it right?  'I collapsed into Goes In Lodge's embrace."

Goes in Lodge apparently thought McCoy had died.  McCoy however did sleep that afternoon and night and when he awoke the next morning, Goes in Lodge was still in the room.  He said to McCoy, "You're hurt pretty bad," and McCoy only nodded.  "We Arapahoes are hard to kill," he laughed.  In yet another incident involving McCoy, he had a knife fight with Chief Yowlache and as the rubber prop knives couldn't be found, real knives were used with predictable consequences.  McCoy stabbed Yowlache through the back of his hand, causing a considerable wound and fracturing a bone in the process.

The black and white film also had working titles of, "High Eagle," the "First(Colonel) T. McCoy Story," and "The Rider of the Plains."  The film was copyrighted in Oct., 1926, 6 reels of 35mm film, 5,034 ft.  It first played in Lander(not the premiere) at the Grand Theatre.  Matinee prices were 15 and 35 cents, while admission to evening shows were for 25 and 50 cents.

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