Buck Jones


Buck Jones:  1891 – 1942

One of the greatest of the B-Western stars. Although born in Indiana, Jones grew up on a ranch near Red Rock in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and there learned the riding and shooting skills that would stand him in good stead as a hero of Westerns. He joined the army as a teenager and served on US-Mexican border before seeing service in the Moro uprising in the Philippines. Though wounded, he recuperated and reenlisted, hoping to become a pilot. He was not accepted for pilot training and left the army in 1913. He took a menial job with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show and soon became champion bronco buster for the show. He moved on to the Julia Allen Show, but with the beginning of the First World War, Jones took work training horses for the Allied armies. After the war, he and his wife, 'Odelle Osborne', whom he had met in the Miller Brothers show, toured with the Ringling Brothers circus, then settled in Hollywood, where Jones got work in a number of Westerns starring Tom Mix and Franklyn Farnum. William Fox put Jones under contract and promoted him as a new Western star. He used the name Charles Jones at first, then Charles 'Buck' Jones, before settling on his permanent stage name. He quickly climbed to the upper ranks of Western stardom, playing a more dignified, less gaudy hero than Tom Mix, if not as austere as William S. Hart. With his famed horse Silver, Jones was one of the most successful and popular actors in the genre, and at one point he was receiving more fan mail than any actor in the world. At the outbreak of World War II, Jones reentered the army and was sent on a bond-selling tour. On November 28, 1942, he was a guest of local citizens in Boston at the famed Coconut Grove nightclub. Fire broke out and nearly five hundred people died in one of the worst fire disasters on record. Jones was horribly burned and died two days later before his wife Dell could arrive to comfort him. Although legend has it that he died returning to the blaze to rescue others (a story probably originated by producer Trem Carr for whatever reason), the actual evidence indicates that he was trapped with all the others and succumbed as most did, trying to escape. He remains, however, a hero to thousands who followed his film adventures.


  ============================Buck Jones Movie Serials=========================

1.  Gordon of Ghost City (1933) - Buck Jones  -     A Universal Studio 12 Chapter Movie Serial

[Deleted from YouTube]

A cowboy (Buck Jones) is hired to track down a gang of rustlers, but gets involved with a beautiful girl trying to run her grandfather's gold mine and other outlaws who are trying to stop her.

As the roving range detective, battling rustlers with a ghost town hideout, Buck Jones is ideally cast in the first of his four serials for Universal. Madge Bellamy is the feisty heroine and former silent serial stars, William Desmond and Walter Miller, provide excellent support as the crusty rancher and his sneaky foreman.

2.  Riders of Death Valley (1941) 15 Chapter Universal Serial Buck Jones and Dick Foran   [Movie Serial]

 The plot has Jim Benton (Dick Foran) as the head of a vigilante group, known as the Riders of Death Valley, organized to protect the miners from the take-over plots hatched by Joseph Kirby (James Blaine) and Rance Davis (Monte Blue.) They hire Wolf Reade (Charles Bickford) and his motley crew to do their dirty work, and spend most of their time lamenting their choice of sub-contractee as Reade deals his employees as much misery as he does the "Riders" and miners. Benton's "Riders" are Tombstone (Buck Jones), Pancho (Leo Carrillo), Smokey (Noah Beery, Jr, who is a no-show in most episodes), Borax Bill (Big Boy Williams) and Tex (Glenn Strange.)  

3.  Red Rider (1934) - Buck Jones   A 15 Chapter Universal Serial.

Based on the story "The Redhead from Sun Dog" by W. C. Tuttle. It is a remake of the 1931 John Wayne movie “Range Feud“.  

"Red" Davison (Buck Jones), the sheriff of Sun Dog, sacrifices his job and his good name to save his best friend, "Silent" Slade from the hangman's noose, following a framed-up court decision which sentences Slade to hang for the murder of "Scotty McKee (J.P. McGowan). Davidson allows Slade to escape from jail and follows him to aid him in proving his innocence. 

4.  White Eagle (1947) – Buck Jones - 15 Chapter Columbia Pictures Serial - White Eagle, a Pony Express Rider, is the son of a massacred Army officer who has been raised by an Indian tribe. He believes himself to be the son of the tribal chief, and is working to get a peace treaty signed between the Indians and the white settlers. But 'Dandy' Darnell, a notorious and merciless outlaw, tries to keep the fight alive by sending his henchmen to stir up trouble, partly due to his wish to grab hundreds of thousands of acres in the western territories for himself and also to incite a war with the Indians along the territory.

This serial was inspired by the 1932 movie of the same name, again starring Buck Jones in the title role.  

Note 1: The serial is titled “ÁGUIA BRANCA” in Spanish

Note 2: The serial contains Spanish Sub-titles.

===============================Buck Jones Movies==================================

1.  Shadow Ranch (1930) - Buck Jones

Summoned by his friend, Ranny Williams (Frank Rice), Sim Baldwin (Buck Jones), rides to the aid of Circle O Ranch owner Ruth Cameron (Marguerite De La Motte), who is under pressure to sell out to Dan Blake (Albert J. Smith), who wants control of a dam on the ranch that is central to the town water supply.

This was Buck Jones second talking movie. The studio was Gail Pictures.

2.  Range Feud (1931) - Buck Jones and John Wayne

Ranchers Walton and Turner are losing cattle to rustlers and they each blame the other. After Walton and Clint Turner (John Wayne) argue, Walton is found shot and Sheriff Buck Gordon (Buck Jones) has to arrest his friend Clint. With Clint scheduled to be hung, Sheriff Gordon desperately looks for evidence to clear him.  

This is John Wayne's first big Western since his disastrous debut as a leading man in the Big Trail (1930).

3.  Border Law (1931) – Buck Jones

When Shag Smith kills Jim's brother Bob, Jim Houston (Buck Jones) and Thunder quit the rangers so they can cross the border and join Smith's gang. Jim's plan is to get the gang to cross back over the border where the rangers will be waiting.

4.  Forbidden Trail (1932) - Buck Jones
"Cash" Karger, crooked political boss of Casper County, plots to usurp the lands and cattle of the local ranchers. His first move is to build a cabin directly across the Collins cattle trail, blocking the way to the water hole. Collins cowhand Tom Devlin (Buck Jones) goes to the office of the Casper News to demand editorial fair play, only to learn that its pretty editor, Mary Middleton (Barbara Weeks), must follow Karger's orders or pay him $2000 due on a mortgage. He resolves to raise the money and purchase an interest in the newspaper. There is a $2000 reward offered by Karger for the capture of rustlers, which he has to pay when Tom brings in Burke, a Karger henchman, caught rustling. Tom learns that the cabin blocking the trail is the home of Mary and her mother, and he moves the women to the Collins ranch. Karger supervises the burning of the Middleton cabin and the killing of Burke, and the blame is placed on Tom who is arrested. Unknown to Karger, Burker had planted evidence implicating him in his jail cell, which Tom discovers. Tom, with the aid of his horse Silver, escapes jail and routs Karger and his henchmen who are raiding the Collins ranch.

5.  Dawn of the Great Divide (1942) – Buck Jones:

Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) is leading a wagon train of railroad supplies and Jim Corkle and his henchman Loder are out to stop them by using white men dressed as Indians for the attacks.  

Buck Jones was killed in the Coconut Grove fire shortly before this film was released.

6.  Arizona Bound (1941) - Buck Jones and Tim McCoy (Rough Riders) - Retired marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) has left law enforcement and is enjoying life on his northern Arizona ranch when he receives a telegram from Marshal Bat Madison (Jay Wilsey) requesting his aid in stopping a rash of stagecoach robberies near villain invested Mesa City, and off he goes as a fast-paced Rough Riders (Jones, Tim McCoy, Raymond Hatton) adventure begins.

7.  Stone of Silver Creek (1935) - Buck Jones Stone (Buck Jones) runs an honest saloon and gives Mason back his money two card sharps take from him. The Reverend overhears the two plan to get the money back. He is on hand when they make their raid but they shoot him and take off with the money. Stone catches up with them but is in trouble when they outmaneuver him.  [Added]

8.  Black Aces (1937) - Buck Jones co-directed, produced and starred in this formula "b" western. Jones play's a devil may care rancher who takes life's worries a day at a time. When his intended engagement with childhood sweetheart Sandy McKenzie falls apart, Jones heads to town, and loses his ranch in a poker game. The shady card dealer Len Stoddard sends his brother Jake to ride with Jones to remove his property. While there, Jake is killed. Jones is accused and has to flee the law. A gang called the Black Aces is extorting money from the citizens of Sweetwater, sending black ace calling cards to their intended victims. Jones sets out to clear his name. In a scant 59 minutes, Jones gets the bad guys and renews his romance with Sandy. As in most of his films, Jones’s easy going style and sense of humor makes for an enjoyable hour. Jones horse Silver gets to show off also. Veteran baddie Bob Kortman is along with Robert Frazier.  Kay Linaker makes a strong leading lady.   [Added]


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