A movie about the only complete film made solely in Idaho may be included in the state's centennial observance.
Titled "The Cowpuncher," the 1915 silent film made in the Idaho Falls area depicted rodeo scenes and a group of people with range and farm troubles.Tom Trusky, an English professor at Boise State University who has started the Idaho film collection housed at the Hemingway Western Studies Center at BSU, was in Idaho Falls last week with John Schiff, a Boise State videographer.
The men photographed locations where the film was shot - Eagle Rock Street, Tautphaus Park, the Grand Hotel and the East Side Grocery - to show the changes that have transpired between then and now.
The movie was made at the 1915 War Bonnet Roundup rodeo at Reno Park in Idaho Falls. Paul D. Fisher, who still lives in town, was one of the extras in the film.
The 12-year-old boy rode his pony, "Duke," and portrayed a messenger who brought an important letter to the ranchers gathering to discuss their problems.
A crew from the Reelplays Corp. of Chicago, a company organized for the purpose of making moving pictures, shot 10,000 feet of film. Some 125 riders and Indians from the Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Blackfoot, Lemhi and Bannock tribes also took part in the filming.
"The Cowpuncher" is believed to be the only complete moving picture ever made in Idaho.
Joe George, owner and operator of the American Theater in Idaho Falls, purchased the exclusive rights for showing "The Cowpuncher" in Idaho for $1,200, plus 20 percent of the box office receipts. It played at his theater three days in 1915.
Trusky said he plans to put the video made last week in his film collection, use it as a possible half-hour television program, and perhaps tie it in with Idaho's centennial observance.