The Cowboy and the Lady (1922)

Genres - Western  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This Western was based on an old Clyde Fitch play and (unfortunately) bears no relation to the 1938 Gary Cooper/Merle Oberon movie of the same name. It's one of Mary Miles Minter's last films and she plays Jessica Weston, who manages a ranch while her philandering husband makes time with Molly (Viora Daniel), proprietess of the local cafe. Jessica meets a "dude" cowboy named Teddy North (Tom Moore), and when he saves her life, an attraction develops between them. North protects Jessica from her husband's cruelties, then comes to her aid once again when Weston is found murdered and she's accused of killing him. North takes the blame for the murder. But he's saved from the hangman's noose when Molly reveals that Ross, her former lover (Guy Oliver), is the guilty party. With Weston dead and out of the way, North and Jessica are able to find happiness together. It is a gross exaggeration to say that 19-year-old Mary Miles Minter completely lost her box office appeal after the unsolved murder of the man she loved, 49-year-old William Desmond Taylor. This film was released over nine months after Taylor's death and trade paper reviews of the day encouraged exhibitors to use Minter's name in their promotions. Minter, in fact, did not want to act any longer and was perfectly agreeable to seeing her contract end in 1923.