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Tom Mix: The Legendary Cowboy and His Arizona Monument

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Wednesday 16th August 2023

Tom Mix, an iconic figure in the annals of Hollywood’s silent film era, epitomized the rugged cowboy. With over 300 films to his credit, Mix became one of the most recognized faces of his time. His thrilling stunts, sharp shooting skills, and dashing good looks captivated audiences worldwide. But beyond his on-screen persona, Tom Mix shared a deep connection with Arizona, where he met his tragic end.

The Tragic Accident:

On October 12, 1940, Tom Mix met a sudden and tragic death in a car accident near Florence, Arizona. Driving his cherished 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton, a lavish and modern car for its time, Mix was navigating along what is now known as Arizona State Route 79. As he approached a bridge construction site, he failed to notice a detour sign. The car swerved, causing a heavy aluminum suitcase filled with money, jewels, and travel items to fly from the backseat, striking Mix and causing fatal injuries.

The Tom Mix Monument:

To commemorate the spot where this legendary cowboy took his last breath, a simple iron silhouette of a rider on a horse, inscribed with “Tom Mix, Jan 6th, 1880 – Oct 12th, 1940“, was erected. The monument is a testament to Mix’s legacy and his deep ties to Arizona.

For those looking to visit, the monument is situated on the west side of Arizona State Route 79, between Florence and Oracle Junction. From Tucson, take AZ-77 N. Continue on AZ-79 N, and the monument will be on your right.

A Tearful Goodbye:

Tom Mix’s ties to the old west weren’t just fictional. He shared a genuine camaraderie with figures from the era, including Wyatt Earp. When Earp passed away in 1929, Mix, deeply affected by the loss, was reported to have wept openly at the funeral. The two shared a bond, with Earp having lived out his later years in Los Angeles, becoming a fixture on film sets and befriending many actors, including Mix.

A Stellar Film Career:

Mix’s expansive film career saw him star in numerous films that are considered classics today. Some of his most notable films include:

Ties to Arizona:

Arizona was not just the place of Mix’s tragic end but also the backdrop to many of his cinematic adventures. His films often showcased the state’s sprawling deserts, rugged mountains, and unique landscapes. Mix also owned a ranch in Arizona, further deepening his connection to the state.

Tom Mix remains a pivotal figure in the history of cinema, especially in the genre of western films. His ties to Arizona are profound, and his monument stands as a testament to his enduring legacy and the state that played such a significant role in his life and death.

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