Broncho Billy Anderson

13 Mar

“Broncho Billy” Anderson

Bronco Billy Anderson

I was doing some research for images of Early Western Movie Stars. I’d already done some work about William S. Hart, but I discovered that a chap called Broncho Billy Anderson was probably the first Western Movie Star. Anderson made about 400 silent Western films – and had multiple roles in the great Western Classic: Great Train Robbery (1903).

Bronco Billy Anderson 2

If you had seen The Great Train Robbery in its original showing you’d be about 112 years now. Pardner.

The Great Train Robbery

Famous still shot from silent Western Film Classic, The Great Train Robbery

Anderson played three roles in The Great Train Robbery (1903)

Most of these films were very short and now (unfortunately) are long-lost – but not forgotten as there are a couple of agencies like the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum ( who find, restore, and show any that may still be around. Good work Niles!

Nile Essanay

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Bronco Billy Anderson 4

Broncho Billy Anderson / Handsome Gentleman

Bronco Billy Anderson 3

Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson
(March 21, 1880 – January 20, 1971)
American actor, writer, film director, and film producer, who is best known as the first star of the Western film genre.

Bronco Billy Anderson 5

The genre’s first Western film hero and star, who made about 400 “Broncho Billy” westerns, beginning with Broncho Billy and the Baby (1910); his last silent western role was in The Son of a Gun (1919).

We are favored with several wonderful portrait and publicity shots of Billy.

Bronco Billy Anderson 11

Bronco Billy Anderson 8

Bronco Billy Anderson 9

Bronco Billy Anderson 6

Bronco Billy Anderson 7

Bronco Billy Anderson 10

Anderson was immensely popular in his day, a superstar in contemporary terms. In 1958, Anderson received an honorary Academy Award as a “motion picture pioneer, for his contributions to the development of motion pictures as entertainment.”


National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson
Hall of Great Western Performers

Bronco Billy Anderson Western Award

Bronco Billy Anderson Star

2 Responses to “Broncho Billy Anderson”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong March 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    And he got to wear terrific costumes, too. They don’t get to dress up like that any more.


    • jcalberta March 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

      Y I dress this way all the time Ma’am.
      ‘Cept they took my guns away. And my horse.


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