THE HOLLYWOOD POSSE: THE STORY OF A GALLANT BAND OF HORSEMEN WHO MADE MOVIE HISTORY
Originally published in hardback by Houghton Mifflin in 1975, this delightful book tells of the genuine cowboys who made theirmark in Hollywood, mostly by riding hard, performing often-dangerous stunts and doubling for the stars in early Western films.The author was not one of the cowboys who brought their Old West talents to the silent pictures after the great cattle empirescrumbled and jobs became scarce for seasoned hands. But her father, Jack Montgomery, and most of his friends weremembers of the Hollywood Posse, and she got the inside story while launching her first career as the pioneer child star BabyPeggy (she made 150 two-reel comedies in 18 months, beginning in April 1920). “My father and the other old-time cowmentreated in this book were my constant companions and co-workers….Father taught me to ride before I was three, and it wasmy good fortune to have these other men as mentors,” writes Diana Serra Cary in her preface to the paperback edition. Cary,who wrote about her father and friends twice previously for Wild West (October 1994 and December 1995) and has a featurearticle in this issue, says that Hollywood was the last frontier for these fearless horsemen who made the West seem so real forher because they were the genuine article. The Hollywood Posse lived by the “Code of the West,” which stressed honesty,courage, independence and loyalty in a place where such values were often lacking. Not surprisingly, a long, bitter feuddeveloped between these unsung heroes of motion pictures and autocratic director Cecil B. De Mille (one particularlyentertaining chapter is called “Kill De Mille!”). The book is full of touching moments and humorous anecdotes and is a mustread for anyone interested in how early Hollywood brought the Old West to the big screen. These men were not the splashyWestern stars familiar to filmgoers, but without their heart-stopping rides and hard falls, the Western movie might havedisappeared quicker than a California sunset.