Charles (Buck) Jones — The Eternal Cowboy (1925) 🇬🇧

Charles (Buck) Jones — The Eternal Cowboy (1925) |

February 19, 2024

“Buck is out at the moment. I’m so sorry — something must have kept him. He never breaks an appointment if he can help it,” were the first words that greeted me, when I enquired at a certain Hollywood bungalow for the famous cowboy. The speaker, a slim pretty girl who I discovered to be Buck’s wife, added to the disappointing news an invitation to come in and sit down until the truant turned up.

But even as I stood hesitating on the doorstep, a wild whoop made me turn quickly, to find the object of my call trotting up to us on a tine black horse. Beside him a small, sturdy maiden of some six or seven summers, rode astride a chestnut pony. The two reached the door almost simultaneously, and as Buck leapt lightly to the ground, I turned to lend a hand to his small companion. But little Miss Jones disdained my proffered help and was out of the saddle with the ease of a practised equestrian, before I could do more than blink my astonishment.

Buck’s dark eyes twinkled at the expression on my face, then they rested for a moment, full of pride, on the curly head of his small daughter as she disappeared into the house with her mother.

“That kid’s going to be a great little horsewoman one of these days,” he remarked, as he took the bridles of both horses, and led them round the corner of the house.

“Would you like to come around with me whilst I take my beauties to their own quarters?” he asked. “Then we’ll go indoors and rake up my wild past together.”

I intimated that I didn’t mind in the least and followed him to the stables. I could not have hit upon a more opportune moment to interview “Buck.” Dressed in riding breeches and boots, and a wide hat. with the horses one on either side of him, he looked just right and in the atmosphere that fitted him best. There are quite a few cowboy stars on the screen, but Buck is surely one of the most satisfying of the lot. There is a genuine look of the outdoors in his bronzed, good-humoured face, with its clear-cut features and twinkling dark eyes, and his tall, well-knit figure — he stands just off six feet in height — is that of a trained athlete.

Buck is one actor in Wild West films who is really at home with horses. No wonder that his little daughter already shows such good horsemanship. I said as much to Buck himself, but he laughingly denied responsibility for the whole of her prowess.

“She gets it from her mother as well,” he explained. “My wife sure is some horsewoman. She can do anything she takes it into her head to do, on horseback, without losing her nerve. She ran away from home when she was sixteen, you know, and joined a Wild West Show, as a trick rider. That’s where I met her — I used to do an ad with the same company.” His voice thrilled with real pride, and I decided at once that the Jones family was really a mutual admiration society.

By this time the horses had been stabled, with the help of Buck’s man, and Buck washed his hands with disregard for ice cold water at an outside tap, and led the way into the house.

The Jones ménage is not, perhaps, the largest in Hollywood, but it is cosy and homely and the room into which Buck took me was exceptionally attractive Seated in a deep armchair before a wide open window that looked out to the garden, I questioned him about his career.

“Was this Wild West Show you joined your first appearance as a public performer?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Yes. I was born in Vincennes, Indiana, you know, and ever since I could toddle I’ve been real fond of horses. I spent most of my boyhood on a ranch, learning everything a cowboy has to know. Then I got kind of fed up with staying in the same place — I’ve always been a restless sort of chap, so I knocked around a bit, picking up jobs here and there when I wanted them, and living out in the open as much as possible. After that I thought it would be rather a lark to join the army, so I enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry and got ordered out to the Philippine Islands. It was after I had been wounded and discharged that I joined the Wild West Show in question.”

“And what made you first try picture work?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“A new adventure,” he said. “It was after the Great War that I had my first offer of a starring contract. Before that I’d put in some work as an extra, when I was at a loose end for something to do. Once or twice at Universals, and after that in three of Monroe Salisbury films, and at the Selig Studios. But that was only small stuff. When the war started I offered my services to the French Government, who were buying horses

in Chicago, and they set me the task of breaking them in. In 1916 I went over to France in charge of a load of horses, and l worked for a while in the remount camp. Then I was orderly to a French General, did some flying, and finally trained officers for the French Cavalry.

At the end of the war when I went back to the States, Fox signed me on a starring contract, and I’ve been in pictures ever since.

“What was your first starring role?” I asked.

“In The Last Straw,” he laughed reminiscently, “Gee, I was scared stiff at the idea of becoming a star, just at first.”

Since then he has played in so many that it is difficult to remember them all. Among the most important are: Riders of the Purple Sage, One Man TrailTo a FinishBar Nothing, Riding with Death, Pardon My Nerve, Western SpeedRough ShodThe Fast Mail, Trooper O’NeillWest of Chicago, Bells of San JuanBoss of Camp 4, The Footlight RangerNot a Drum Was Heard, and Cupid’s Fireman. In the last-named picture, Buck has a fairly dramatic role, that differs rather from his usual type of film portrayal.

I asked him how he liked donning a fireman’s uniform in place of his own cowboy attire.

“A change is good for everybody, once in a while,” he told me, “But I must confess I feel more at home in cowboy get-up than anything. You see I’ve always had a kind of affection for the ‘Wild West,’ and it is the opportunity of portraying the real, typical Westerner that appeals to me as much as anything in screen work.”

As I said good-bye to Buck at the door, later — he sped me on my way with a hearty handshake that made my arm tingle for minutes afterwards — I noticed a broad-hatted individual whose face seemed vaguely familiar, coming up the Avenue towards us. The two men greeted each other boisterously, and when I looked back they were both disappearing round the corner in the direction of the stables.

It was only then that I realised that the visitor was no other than Tom Mix, and I remembered that the two men are great friends. The other day Buck was on the set watching his friend making a scene for Dick Turpin, and the sudden whim seized him to don make-up and put in some work as an extra.

So if you look very carefully when the film is shown, you will no doubt be able to recognise Buck’s smiling visage somewhere in the background.

Charles (Buck) Jones — The Eternal Cowboy (1925) |

Above: In fighting trim.

Left: Against All Odds.

Above: Buck Jones.

Left: With Tom Mix in Dick Turpin.

Charles (Buck) Jones — The Eternal Cowboy (1925) |

Above: In complete Cowboy Regalia.

Below: With Evelyn Brent in Desert Outlaw.

Above: Buck is a polo enthusiast.

A little music between scenes.

Charles (Buck) Jones — The Eternal Cowboy (1925) |

Collection: Picturegoer Magazine, March 1925


see also Buck Jones — The Simple Life for Buck! (1926)