An authentic cowboy from the age of 15, Timothy McCoy moved to a large Wyoming ranch next to a Sioux Indian reservation after some college studies; he became an authority on Indian languages, customs, and folk history, and mastered Indian sign language. He served in World War I, and was then appointed Indian Agent for his territory. In 1922, he was employed as a technical advisor and co-ordinator of Indian extras for the film The Covered Wagon (1923); McCoy may also have done some trick riding for the film. He later he resigned his government post, having been offered a key supporting role in the western The Thundering Herd (1925). MGM signed him to a film contract in 1925; he was to star in westerns and action movies based on historical anecdotes of the American frontier. By the early '30s he was among the most popular western stars; he always appeared dresed in black, with an oversized white Stetson hat and a pearl-handled gun. McCoy interrupted his screen career in 1935 to travel with the Ringling Brothers circus. In 1938 he started his own Wild West show, but it was unsuccessful. He returned to the screen in 1940, and for two years he co-starred in the low-budget Rough Rider western series; the series ended when Buck Jones, another of its stars, died in a fire. He served in World War II (in which he was awarded the Bronze Star), then retired to his ranch; from 1949, however, he worked on TV and in occasional film cameo roles. He won an Emmy for his TV program The Tim McCoy Show. Until 1976 McCoy continued working 300 days a year as the headliner of Tommy Scott's Country Music Circus. In 1974 he was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. He authored an autobiography (assisted by his son Ronald), Tim McCoy Remembers the West (1977).