Richard Farnsworth, Ray Bunten and Wells Fargo


This is the era of film where it gets really hard to identify the stunt performers unless they were highly documented in autobiographies and biographies later on.  In this case, I was able to identify two of the many stuntmen that performed horse and wagon falls, from this picture.  The way that these directors worked is that they would set up a shot and then let the extras know that they needed a man to fall off the back of the wagon and then someone would volunteer and they would shoot the scene.  They only documentation being a witness or the stuntman himself writing it in a book later or telling the story in an interview.wells fargo rko

Ray Bunten just happened to give an interview a few years back that detailed the falls he took for Wells Fargo.  Now during the scene where the Wells Fargo wagons are fighting Indians, I took a look at the scene to see how many stunts would be present.  Just to be accurate, I counted 12 falls off horses and wagons and by Ray’s account, he does two of these falls, that leaves 10 falls unaccounted for, although, Richard Farnsworth has been attributed to a few of them.  You can still see how many left there are, just in a small section of the film I looked at, that are performed by unnamed stuntmen.  I will say it again, unsung heroes.  I saw Ray Bunten do at least two “stagecoach fall” stunts during this section of the film.wells fargo storyboard

Richard Farnsworth is an interesting case as he was a rodeo guy, just like Yakima Canutt and Ray here, and then a stuntman most of his life. His son even became a well known stuntman in his own right, so he passed that on. But then something wonderful happened. He was asked to act in a role in Comes A Horseman in 1978 when he was 58 and was promptly nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar!  It was a surprise to many, but he followed this up with many great performances thereafter in such films as Anne of Green Gables, The Natural, The Grey Fox and The Straight Story.Wells Fargo stunts

Wells Fargo was directed by Frank Lloyd for Paramount Pictures.

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM