Shot in 1915, The Cowpuncher used sites in and around Idaho Falls, including Wolverine Canyon, Taylor Mountain, and various street scenes. Much of the movie revolved around the War Bonnet Roundup that year.
The filming caused quite a stir in Idaho Falls, with the Idaho Register reporting that “Several thousand people forgot to go to church Sunday morning,” going instead to see the shooting of one of the big scenes of the movie.
There might have been a touch of hype when writers described the film. The Evening Capital News in March 1916 said, “Some of the best known motion picture stars were brought to Idaho to film this feature and that they have turned out a masterpiece is conceded by all who have seen the picture.”
C.M. Griffin, Claudia Louise, and Maria Ascaraga were the “best known” stars in the film, none of who even rate an IMDb mention today.
Motion Picture News in its December 25, 1915 edition stated, “It is not likely that a more massive and pretentious Western Picture will ever be attempted.” Clearly, Heaven’s Gate, also shot in Idaho, was decades beyond the writer’s imagination.
Tom Trusky, who knew how to track down information on lost films, was able to locate an Idaho Falls man, Paul Fisher, in 1990. Fisher had appeared in the film as a boy, and he gave Trusky the still below.