There are many old western movie stars worthy of remembrance-some remain some of the most popular Hollywood stars of all time. The popular western genre has been around since the days of silent film. In 1903 the first western movie, The Great Train Robbery, made its debut. It was a huge hit that opened the doors to a genre that still remains popular to this day.
It's mostly men that make up a list of old western movie stars. Though women certainly acted in western movies, there were few who actually specialized in the genre. It was the hard riding and gun shooting men that really attracted audience attention.
Broncho Billy (1880-1971)
Broncho Billy, whose real name Gilbert Maxwell Aronson, was known as the first western movie star. He was also in the first western movie ever made and became very well known. From 1908 to 1915, he starred in many short films that were shown across the country. He made an appearance in his last film, The Bounty Killer, in 1965, at the age of 85.
William S. Hart (1864-1946)
William S. Hart did not start his movie career until he was already in his 40s, but he made more than 65 silent western films between 1914 to 1925. Hart never worked in the "talkies," or films with sound, but his silent roles made him worthy of being a part of western movie history.
Garry Cooper (1901-1961)
Gary Cooper started his career in films as a stunt rider. He starred in his first western movie in 1926 and was considered an absolute hit. Though he starred in a wide variety of movies, Cooper continued to be a pillar in the western movie genre, right up to his last film in 1961.
Gene Autry (1907-1998)
Gene Autry, known as a singing cowboy, helped define a softer side in western movies. He was clean cut fellow with a true gift for singing and playing the guitar. He started in 93 films from 1934 to 1953 and helped popularize the musical western movie.
Randolph Scott (1898-1987)
Randolph Scott didn't become a western movie star until later in his career. His first part was a bit role in the 1929 movie The Virginian. He didn't really return to westerns until the late 1940s. However, until the early 1960s, he was a stoic standard for many western films.
John Wayne (1907-1979)
John Wayne, affectionately known as "the Duke," is considered the quintessential western movie star. He helped define the western movie genre, though he starred in more movies than just westerns. From his first movie in 1920 to his last movie in 1976, he appeared in over 175 films.
These famous cowboys have introduced countless moviegoers to Hollywood's take on the Wild West.
The women of the Wild West might not be quite as famous as their male counterparts, but they certainly did make quite the splash.