Tim McCoy was one of the last real-life cowboys to play that role on film.
Film star, army officer in two wars, cowboy and Indian interpreter, McCoy's careers spanned several of the most colorful eras of history from the end of the Indian wars to the Space Age.
Born Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy on April 10, 1891, in Saginaw, Mich., he was educated in public schools there and was in his second year at St. Ignatius College in Chicago — where his parents had hoped he might be educated for the church — when the lure of the Wild West proved too strong.
He headed to Wyoming, where he went to work for a rancher as a cowboy and a line rider — and began to study Arapaho sign language in an effort to communicate with the many Indians in the area.
He had just left the Army in the early 1920s when pioneer motion picture producer Jesse L. Lasky approached him for aid in making one of the first silent epics, "The Covered Wagon."
McCoy eventually appeared in 89 films but found the work confining and in 1935 formed his Wild West show again, joining the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for the next three years.
He was still appearing in films when in 1942, he went back to the Army for World War II.
After the war, he created the television show "Tim McCoy's Wild West," which won a local Emmy for best children's program in 1952 and a PTA award in 1951 for best educational program.
His films included "The Fighting Fool," "One Way Trail," "Two-Fisted Law," "Silent Men," "Speed Wings," "A Man's Game," "Hold the Press," "Lightnin' Bill Carson," "The Prescott Kid" and "West of Rainbow's End."
He died at age 86 in Arizona.