Tucson & Mexico

  Tom Mix Memorial

Tom Mix Memorial

My wife and I pass by the Tom Mix Memorial frequently.  It lies on the long lonely desert Highway 79 between Florence and Catalina, Arizona.  One overcast afternoon we took the time to stop at the spot where he died in a car wreck in 1940.  Oddly enough this image was taken with the 1940's Argoflex, a popular camera of that time.

Tom Mix was the greatest of the silent-era movie cowboys, and a cowboy in real-life as well. He reportedly could knock a button off of a shirt with a rifle shot, and jump a horse into a railroad box car. He was married seven times to six different women.

But Tom was 60 years old on October 12, 1940, and behind the wheel of a V8 convertible, not in a saddle, when he decided to race north across the Arizona desert to visit his son-in-law. No one knows how fast he was going when he saw the road repair crew, but some say that he was standing straight up on the brakes, trying to stop, when his car flew into the washed-out gully. Tom's aluminum suitcase was thrown out of the back seat and into the back of Tom's head (He was wearing his trademark 10-gallon white Stetson at the time). Mix emerged apparently unscathed from the car -- which was not badly damaged -- took one step, and crumpled, dead of a broken neck.