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The Cowboy Star (1936)

Tired of being a cowboy movie star, Yorke quits the movies and buys a ranch so he can be a real cowboy. But just as in his films trouble arrives. This time it's bank robber Sampson and his two cronies.


David Selman


Frances Guihan (screen play), Frank Melford (story) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Charles Starrett ... Spencer Yorke
Iris Meredith ... Mary Baker
Si Jenks ... Buckshot Williams
Marc Lawrence ... Johnny Sampson
Edward Peil Sr. ... Clem Baker (as Ed Piel Sr.)
Wally Albright ... Jimmy Baker
Ralph McCullough Ralph McCullough ... Pretty Boy Hogan
Richard Terry Richard Terry ... Midget Jack James
Landers Stevens ... Jack Kingswell


Movie cowboy star Spencer Yorke, tired of the Hollywood life, refuses to sign the new contract offered him by producer Jack Kingswell, and he and his pal Buckshot go to Arizona in search of a ranch to buy. The cowtown of Taylorsville is so dull that Sheriff Clem Baker bemoans the lack of criminal activity, and his daughter Mary, a real estate agent, finds the town equally boring. Her kid brother Jimmy, a big fan of Spencer Yorke, tries to persuade his father to let him visit "Ghost Town," nearby and deserted. Upon his arrival, Jimmy recognizes Spencer, but he insists his name is George Weston. Mary discovers his true identity when she sells him a ranch, but she gives him a pledge of secrecy. Three big-city gangsters, Johnny Sampson, Pretty-Boy Hogan and "Midget", fleeing their latest crime, are hiding out in the closed saloon in "Ghost Town." Jimmy, disobeying his father, rides into the town and is taken prisoner by the criminals as they believe he has been sent to spy on them. They ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GANGSTERS INVADE WEST! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Nick Copeland is listed as a cast member by a modern source, but he was not seen in the movie. See more »


Home on the Range
(1904) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Hummed by Charles Starrett
See more »

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User Reviews

Should Please Front Row Kids of all Ages
16 October 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Pleasant little matinée western that ought to please front row kids of all ages. The format is different since the main character, Yorke, (Starrett) is both a real and a movie cowboy. I love that opening where Yorke is sneakily revealed as a movie cowboy while using movie tricks to make us think the action is real. But Yorke's tired of the Hollywood fakery and wants to get back to the open range. So he turns down a big new movie contract and relocates to the real West where he meets the winsome Mary Baker (Meredith) and other fine folks. The trouble is that modern day (1936) gangsters (Lawrence) are also hiding out there. This sets up an interesting contrast between a traditional cowboy like Yorke and 1930's desperadoes like Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Then too, I like the way Yorke learns a different way of looking at the cowboy hero as a result of clashing with these desperadoes. All in all, it's a nifty little time passer with a cleverly constructed positive message.

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