A pioneering screen actress, blond Marguerite Clayton was Broncho Billy Anderson's first leading lady. Clayton began her association with the man who more or less single-handedly created the Western genre in 1909, when she played Anderson's love interest in A Mexican's Gratitude. A one-reel depiction of how Sheriff Anderson saves a Mexican horse thief from death by hanging, the Western was filmed somewhere "beyond the wide Missouri," but Clayton was still Anderson's leading lady when the rustic-looking screen cowboy finally settled in Niles, CA, in 1912. She would make more than 60 little Westerns with Anderson, who, as co-owner of Essanay, also cast her in the less strenuous melodramas filmed back in the company's Chicago headquarters. At liberty after the demise of Essanay, Clayton freelanced but continued to appear in the odd Western and action melodrama, including the 1920 serial Bride 13. By the 1920s, her career was decidedly on the wane and she appeared mostly in low-budget fare.