Yakima Canutt and Rex, The Devil Horse


It’s hard not to include Yakima in multiple years as his work for stunt men and stunt coordinators over the years was so extensive.  He is credited as having developed so many of the traditional techniques, especially when it comes to horse stunts. This film is a notable entry among his many horse stunts as the wild black stallion used for this stunt, named “Rex” killed a stuntman the year before. The stock footage created from Yakima riding Rex was so good that it was used for many westerns thereafter.The Devil Horse Stunt

Yakima was stuntman on the latter, The Devil Horse (1932), a western serial with Harry Carey, and at first they wanted to use Rex but his owner wanted too much money so they decided on going with another horse (Apache) for that production. Yakima learned a lot of his horse riding as a world champion rodeo rider. He broke his first bronco at age 11, so he knew what he was doing with Rex. Yakima won his first world championship at the Olympics of the West in 1917 and won more championships in the next few years.yakima captured

He was really in his element when working with horses on the early westerns. William Witney, one of Republic’s film directors, said: “There will probably never be another stuntman who can compare to Yakima Canutt. He had been a world champion cowboy several times and where horses were concerned he could do it all. He invented all the gadgets that made stunt work easier. One of his clever devices was a step that attached to the saddle so that he had leverage to transfer to another moving object, like a wagon or a train. Another was the “shotgun,” a spring-loaded device used to separate the tongue of a running wagon from the horses, thus cutting the horses loose. It also included a shock cord attached to the wagon bed, which caused wheels to cramp and turn the wagon over on the precise spot that was most advantageous for the camera.”

The Devil Horse was directed by Fred Jackman for Hal Roach Studios.yakcanutt_devilhorse

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

Glossary of stunt terms as defined by Wikipedia:

  1. Trick riding – refers to the act of performing stunts while riding a horse, such as the rider standing upright on a galloping horse. Other stunts might include hanging upside down off of the side of the horse while attached to a strap or jumping on and off a galloping horse.

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