Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
A historically important early silent film, The Life of a Cowboy was produced by the Edison Company on Staten Island, New York in 1906. The director was Edwin S. Porter, the man who had created the groundbreaking and much-imitated "story" film The Great Train Robbery. The one-reel (13 minutes) The Life of a Cowboy is packed with scenes of bandits attacking a group of saloon guests, dangerous journeys on a stagecoach, an Indian attack, the kidnapping of a young girl, and the schemes of a villainous Mexican "greaser." The protagonist is a visitor from England who gets to marvel at a cowboy's dexterity with a lariat (which involves lassoing a woman while riding at full speed). In fact, all the clichés of the genre are present here in the abridged form of the period. Like most films, this one was reviewed by "Sime" Silverman of the trade magazine Variety as just so many incidents and not a narrative whole. Silverman, like the rest of the audience, had yet to consider moving pictures in terms of cohesive drama.
bad-guy, cowboy, damsel-in-distress, good-guy, kidnapping, Native-American, rescue, stagecoach
High Historical Importance