After the American Civil War, about a third of all cowboys were black. That fact got me wondering how many black actors had been in westerns. Here's a list (by no means complete) of those I could remember seeing. Thirty films, starting with ex-vaudevillians, going through the segregated all-black films, then nothing for two decades, then a little blaxploitation, progressing to more interesting and better quality films, finally ending in complete trash.
Wild Horse (1931): Stepin Fetchit (Lincoln Perry)
Harlem on the Prairie (1937): Mantan Moreland
Frontier Scout (1938): Mantan Moreland
Bronze Buckaroo (1938): Herbert Jeffrey
Two-Gun Man from Harlem (1938): Herbert Jeffrey
Harlem Rides the Range (1939): Herbert Jeffrey
Duel at Diablo (1966): Sidney Poitier
Five Card Stud (1968): Yaphet Kotto
Scalphunters (1968): Ossie Davis
100 Rifles (1969): Jim Brown
El Condor (1970): Jim Brown
The Trackers (1971): Sammy Davis, Jr.
Gone With the West (1972): Sammy Davis, Jr.
Buck and the Preacher (1972): Sidney Poitier
The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972): Fred Williamson
The Cowboys (1972): Roscoe Lee Browne
Blazing Saddles (1974): Cleavon Little
Adios Amigo (1975): Richard Pryor, Fred Williamson
The Master Gunfighter (1975): Ron O'Neal
Take a Hard Ride (1975): Jim Brown, Fred Williamson
Little Moon and Jud McGraw (1978): Sammy Davis, Jr.
Bronco Billy (1980): Scatman Crothers
Silverado (1985): Danny Glover
Lonesome Dove (1989): Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert
Bad Jim (1989): Richard Roundtree
Unforgiven (1992): Morgan Freeman
Return to Lonesome Dove (1993): Louis Gossett, Jr.
Posse (1993): Mario Van Peebles, Blair Underwood, Pam Grier
Cherokee Kid (1996): Sinbad, Gregory Hines
Wild Wild West (1999): Will Smith
Sunday Night Musings
6 days ago