Yakima Canutt "created the profession of stuntman as it exists today," according to Charlton Heston as he presented him with a special Oscar in 1967. But before Canutt's days of stunt-doubling for top stars and second-unit directing filmdom's greatest action scenes, the rodeo world champion was a movie cowboy hero himself, as seen in these two Westerns from his silent-era prime.
Bad Men's Money (1929, B&W, Silent): Landgrabbers are using every dirty trick in the book to force Helen Saunders' Crazy S Ranch into bankruptcy. But when it goes up for auction, it's an outsider, Jim Donovan, who wins it. Jim takes a liking to Helen, and hopes to win her over, while he battles the speculators who are now determined to steal the Crazy S away from him. Starring Yakima Canutt, Peggy Montgomery, J. P. McGowan, Charles Whittaker; directed by J.P. McGowen.
Branded A Bandit (1924, B&W, Silent): Jim Turner's gold mine is coveted by bandits who shoot Jim and pin the killing on cowpuncher Jess Dean. Even Jess' girlfriend, Turner's granddaughter Jennie, thinks he's guilty and wants to see him brought in dead or alive. While Jess cleverly eludes the sheriff's posse and the bandits, a mystery develops when Turner's body vanishes! Starring Yakima Canutt, Slim Whitaker, Alys Murrell, Wilbur McGaugh; directed by Paul Hurst.