Tim McCoy and Wind River’s Contribution to the Movie Industry

Ed Young Tim McCoy

In February, the Lander Library Friends hosted a presentation by well-known Wyoming historian and anthropologist Todd Guenther, about the amazing history of film legend Tim McCoy and the Northern Arapaho’s movie debut.

McCoy was a major star of American Westerns who enjoyed a second career as a Wyoming rancher and Adjutant General of Wyoming, A friend of the Wind River Reservation, he was asked to provide Indian extras for the Western extravaganza, The Covered Wagon. He recruited a large group of Northern Arapaho. After shooting on the film ended in Utah, several of them accompanied him to Hollywood to film a special feature. Later they toured the U.S. and Europe as publicity for the film.

Todd Guenther teaches anthropology and history courses at Central Wyoming College and directs the Western American Studies program He is the former curator at South Pass City, and director of the Pioneer Museum in Lander. In addition, he is an award-winning author of articles about Wyoming and regional history and prehistory. In 2008 Guenther won the prestigious Nebraska State Historical Society’s annual James L. Sellers Memorial Award.


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