On the Night Stage, Wild Bill Hickok, Hell’s Hinges, The Narrow Trail. These were some of the classic silent Westerns starring movie cowboy great, William S. Hart. Hart was the personification of the strong, silent Western hero and his films were noted for their realism and authenticity. There is a scene near the beginning of Tumbleweeds, Hart’s last film, in which the cowboy–hero halts his horse atop a ridgetop. Removing his hat, he observes the last cattle drive over land settlers will soon claim. “Boys,” says Hart, “it’s the last of the West.” Tumbleweeds was also the last of the West for Hart, who retired in 1925 to his Newhall ranch. William S. Hart County Park preserves Hart’s twenty-two-room hacienda and his ranch. Hart’s home, full of Western memorabilia and mementoes from his film days, can be viewed on a guided tour. His ranch can be explored via a short hiking trail.
© 2006 John McKinney/The Trailmaster. All Rights Reserved.