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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

heroes of silent and talking motion pictures. Developed mainly in the
1930os films for Columbia Pictures, his screen image was that of the re-
strained, self-possessed "Man of Destiny." Eschewing the ornate cos-
tumes common among film heroes, he dressed all in black, developed
the fastest draw in the movies, and employed the prototype steely-eyed
stare. His film career stretched from the 1920s to the i960s, and in 1952
he won an Emmy for work in television. Beginning in the 1930s, he
toured (intermittently at first and continuously after 1962) with circuses
and wild west shows until his retirement in 1975 at age eighty-four. An
acquaintance and admirer of Buffalo Bill Cody, McCoy saw himself as
carrying on a great show business tradition. By his own account it was
an exciting and glamorous career.
In this autobiography, done in collaboration with his son, McCoy
reminded his readers that in addition to his show business achievements,
he also possessed the credentials of a true westerner. He had been an
authentic cowboy who participated in some of the last roundups on the
public domain. His use of the title "Colonel" was also justified, since
he served in that rank in two world wars. Of nothing was he more
proud than his long-time friendship with the Arapahoes and Shoshonis
of Wyoming's Wind River Agency. He was responsible for bringing
real Indians into motion pictures and strove to have them depicted with
accuracy and dignity. He became an acknowledged expert in their folk-
lore and sign language. They returned his affection by making him a
brother and naming him Nee-hee-cha-ooth, High Eagle.
McCoy died January 29, 1978, just weeks after the publication of this
unpretentious and carefully researched autobiography. It was his tribute
to the West. It is also a fine remembrance of a man who helped to create
an image, whether it be mythical or real, of the American cowboy.
Texas A&M University LARRY D. HILL
Progressive Cities: The Commission Government Movement in Amer-
ica, 190o-192o. By Bradley Robert Rice. (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1977. Pp. xix+ 160. Introduction, appendix, bibliog-
raphy, index. $10.95.)
This is a lean, proficient account of the rise and spread of the com-
mission form of city government. Characterized by a small number of
directly elected and responsible officials, the plan began in Galveston at
the turn of the century. Although a devastating hurricane in 1900 is
sometimes credited with the innovation, Bradley Rice points out that


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 7, 2015.