Story by Rosemary McKittrick
He was the cowboy who alternated between chasing bad guys and strumming his guitar in ‘B’ Westerns and on television. She was his female sidekick one of the most powerful female figures in cowboy culture. Hollywood had a hand in shaping the image of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans but there was a presence about these two that defied mythology. Granted theirs was a mythic frontier complete with gambling, saloons, gunfights, riding the range, and runaway stagecoaches, but reality didn’t matter much to filmmaking in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
Then there was Trigger, Roy’s golden palomino. The two made 86 feature films together and 100 television shows. Roy was the only cowboy star to make all of his movies with the same horse. He often joked about what a ‘ham’ Trigger was. During personal appearances the horse would sometimes break into a dance step at the same moment Roy started talking or singing.
In June this year a selection of Roy and Dale’s memorabilia went up for auction in Brian Lebel’s 21st Annual Old West Show & Auction held in Denver, Colorado. Roy’s silver mounted double holster gun rig manufactured by Ed Gilmore of Hollywood in 1958 sold for $103,500.