A Texas Cowboy (1929, B&W, Silent):
Dick Carlysle returns to his home in the Lone Star state after a long absence and finds his mother married to aptly named Brute Kettle, who's determined to get ownership of the Carlysle ranch by fair means or foul. Enlisting the aid of a crooked lawyer who also happens to be a renowned forger, Brute prepares a document indicating that Dick has renounced his financial interest in the Bar 20. This clears the way for Kettle to take possession of the spread as Ma Carlyle's husband. The scrappy young man is willing to fight on his mother's behalf but the odds are against him.
Before he turned to character parts in the mid-1940s, Bob Steele was a popular cowboy star with more than a hundred Westerns (many of them directed by his father, Robert North Bradbury) to his credit. Diminutive in stature, but extremely athletic and surprisingly charismatic, he essayed his first leading role in 1927. A Texas Cowboy is one of Steele's few surviving silent films and a good one at that. Director J. P. McGowan, who also plays Brute Kettle, helmed dozens of minor Westerns before this one and brought his considerable skill and experience to bear on the inexpensive production.
Starring Bob Steele, Edna Aslin, J. P. McGowan and Grace Stevens; Directed by J. P. McGowan.
With Sitting Bull at the Spirit Lake Massacre (1925, B&W, Silent): The year is 1857, and white settlers on the Iowa frontier face annihilation at the hands of Sioux warriors determined to regain control of lands they hold sacred. Trusted scout Donald Keefe warns his countrymen that Sitting Bull is on the warpath and struggles to save the girl he loves, minister's daughter Celia Moore. But the Indians, inflamed with the desire to kill every white interloper in the territory, move so swiftly that escape might be impossible.
With Sitting Bull at the Spirit Lake Massacre, made in 1925 but inexplicably withheld from release for two years, plays fast and loose with the historical record (to begin with, Sitting Bill had nothing to do with the massacre) but otherwise is a model of low-budget silent-era filmmaking, being exceptionally well mounted by independent producer Anthony J. Xydias. Billed as Bob Bradbury, Jr. and directed by his dad, Steele plays the teenaged brother of leading man Bryant Washburn.
Starring Bob Bradbury Jr. (Bob Steele), Bryant Washburn, Chief Yowlachie, Shirley Palmer; Directed by Robert North Bradbury.