Jewish vaudevillian Max Aaronson was so excited by the audience's reaction to him in 1903's epochal The Great Train Robbery
(in which he played three roles), that he changed his name to Gilbert M. Anderson, determined to devote himself to filmmaking. He and his partner, George Kirke Spoor, founded Essanay Studios in 1907, where Anderson acted in over 300 films, often writing and directing as well. But he became Hollywood's first enormously popular cowboy star as "Broncho Billy" Anderson in 148 western features. Awarded an Oscar in 1958 as a "Motion Picture Pioneer," he is honored with a star on the Walk Of Fame and a U.S. postage stamp. The early Broncho Billy shorts in this collection introduce the dark complex themes and the earliest Western "good" badmen that would anticipate the feature length masterpieces of William S. Hart that would follow.
THE STRUGGLE (1913): Billy vows to visit revenge upon the stranger that murdered his parents in cold blood. Years later, the stranger is slain in a barroom shootout and Billy, although innocent, is condemned to hang for murder.
BRONCHO BILLY AND THE GREASER (1914):Billy risks his own life to save to save a rancher who has been shot down by a desperado.
NAKED HANDS (1916): Tired of the lonesome life on the prairie, Billy's beloved wife runs off with a stockbroker from the East. Starring G.M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson, Marguerite Clayton, Ruth Saville and Lee Willard.
TWO WAGONS BOTH COVERED (1924): There's laughs in "them thar hills" as Will Rogers leads a wagon train to Californy.