#Lookback: Edward J. Farlow

Edward J. Farlow was born in Dallas County, Iowa, in 1861. He was the son of Isaac J. and Martha E. Farlow. At seventeen, Edward Farlow met a family friend named Baxter Anderson who was working for Tom Alsop at a ranch on the Big Laramie River. This family friend gave a glowing account of the west. In April of 1878, Edward Farlow headed west by train with William Frakes to Alsop’s Ranch where Ed was employed.

While Edward Farlow was working at Alsop’s Ranch, two trappers named George Garoutte and Red Mike stopped by the ranch. The trappers were headed into the mountains on a prospecting trip and they asked Edward if he wanted to join them on the trip. During this trip, Farlow helped care for the horses and cook meals for the trappers. After participating in the prospecting trip, Edward Farlow returned to Alsop’s Ranch to work.

Edward worked at the ranch until the Spring of 1879. In 1879, Ed went on a trek to sell 100 horses to a rancher in Nebraska. Once he returned to Alsop’s Ranch, a letter from George Garoutte from Miner’s Delight was waiting for him. The letter asked Edward Farlow to join him on another prospecting trip. However, once Farlow arrived, George and a partner had already set off into the mountains. As a result, Edward got a new job with Louis Miller who was starting a small dairy, near Warm Creek, to supply the mines and mills.

After working for Louis Miller for 15 months, Farlow decided to return to Dallas County, Iowa, to see his family for the winter. On April 21, 1880, Edward Farlow and his older brother Nelson Farlow left Iowa in a covered wagon to drive to Wyoming. The duo traveled to Lander where Edward Farlow went to work for R.H. Hall. In 1881, Farlow quit working for Hall and went to work for Jules L. Lamoreaux. On September 23, 1883, Edward married Jules Lamoreaux’s daughter, Elizabeth Lamoreaux. The couple had two children Jules E. and Albert J. Farlow.

In 1894, Farlow helped organize a wild west show in Lander. After the show, this celebration became an annual event. This was Farlow’s first time working with Native Americans to help them organize an event in entertainment.

In August of 1917, the wolves and coyotes in Fremont County were killing sheep and cows of the stockmen in the area. The stockmen held a meeting and Edward Farlow was selected as the president of a wolf roundup. After doing some research, Edward decided he could rally about 600 riders to participate in the wolf roundup. The stockmen decided on a 30-mile-wide piece of land east of Lander and south of Riverton to hold the wolf roundup. The 600 riders were divided into 8 companies of 75 people. The companies created a circle around the 30-mile-wide piece of land and began herding the wildlife into the center. A large corral was set up in the center for the wildlife to be driven into by the riders.

At the end of the day, 1 elk, 12 antelopes, 100 coyotes, 1 bear, 500 head of cattle, and 2,000 head of horses were driven into the corral. The coyotes were killed during the roundup. At the time, three million sheep were in Wyoming and it was estimated that coyotes were killing 2% of the sheep annually.

In 1914, Edward Farlow took a group of 100 Native Americans and cowboys to Casper and helped them organize a three-day celebration. Later in 1916, Farlow took a group of 25 Native Americans to Fort Collins to help with another celebration. From then on, Ed continued to assist groups of Native Americans with celebrations in the community. In September 1922, Farlow received a call from the Noble Hotel in Lander. The phone call was from Colonel Tim McCoy.

Tim McCoy had been asked by Jesse L. Lasky to provide 500 Native American extras for a film called “The Covered Wagon”. When Tim had called Edward Farlow, he had been turned down by the Indian Agent at Fort Hall in Idaho and asked if Farlow could help him gather the extras. Farlow explained to Tim that he thought that he could only gather about 100 extras, but that he would try to help gather as many people as he could. So, Edward called Indian Agent Donner at Fort Hall and asked again for help. Agent Donner agreed to help. Edward Farlow sent Tim McCoy to Fort Hall to help Agent Donner gather as many extras as possible. Edward then began to gather as many Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahos as he could to participate in the movie. Then, he took the extras he had gathered to Salt Lake City to meet with Tim McCoy and Agent Donner.

Once Edward was in Salt Lake City, he and the extras were taken to Milford on the Salt Lake Line of the railroad. From Milford, the extras and Farlow were moved into the desert 60 miles from Milford near Ely, Nevada. The extras that were gathered worked on the movie set until November 19th, 1922, to make “The Covered Wagon”.

When the filming was finished, Farlow took the Native American extras back to the Wind River Reservation. It was decided that “The Covered Wagon” would premiere at the Grauman Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood with an “Indian Prologue”. Farlow selected some Native Americans to perform in the prologue. The Native Americans selected to perform in the prologue worked for three months before Tim McCoy called Jules Lamoreaux to return the performers to Lander. Later, the Famous Players decided to open “The Covered Wagon” in London with the same prologue.

Edward Farlow received a telegram when he was at Yellowstone National Park from Hollywood. They asked Edward if it was possible for Farlow to take the prologue performers to London. Farlow asked for five dollars a day for each performer and two hundred dollars for himself plus expenses to take the performers to London. The next day Farlow received a telegram agreeing to the terms and asking him to plan to secure the performers.

Farlow took the bus to Lander to meet with the Indian Agent Paul Haas. At the meeting, Haas explained that the performers did not want to go to London because they thought it was too dangerous. Haas had also contacted Fort Hall to ask if any of the Bannock tribe was interested in performing in London. After two days, the Bannock tribe had decided not to go to London either. After gathering information from Paul Haas, Farlow decided to gather the Northern Arapaho to attempt to convince them to perform.

After Farlow arrived at the Arapaho settlement, the tribe was preparing for the death of a sick man named Old Painted Bear. When Farlow tried to talk to any of the performers, they said that the matter had been settled in the council and they did not want to talk. So, Farlow boarded the train to Casper to meet with some Arapahos who were performing at a rodeo. Edward Farlow arranged a meeting with the Arapahoe in Casper and convinced some of this group to go perform in London. On August 12, 1923, Farlow and a group of performers left by train to New York with a five-hour layover in Chicago. When the group arrived in New York, they camped in Central Park for a week and performed at the Criterion Theatre.

On August 18th, 1923, the group boarded the Baltic and began their journey to London. The prologue was performed in London for three months before “The Covered Wagon” was opened in Paris. Then the group was split into two groups. Farlow took the group to Paris where they performed in St. Madeline’s Theatre. Until March 1, 1924, Edward traveled back and forth between Paris and London managing both groups of performers. On March 1, 1924, the group boarded the Cedric and returned to New York. Again, the group stayed in New York for a week before returning to Wyoming.

After working with “The Covered Wagon”, Edward Farlow continued to work in the entertainment industry recruiting and managing Native Americans for movies and performances. In addition to working in the entertainment industry, Edward continued to build an enterprise saving money to buy cattle, land, and sheep. In the end, he owned eighty acres in the city limits of Lander where he raised sheep and cattle. He also was elected Mayor of Lander on May 15, 1923, and served in that position until May 16, 1927. In 1932, Farlow was elected into the Wyoming State Legislature for a two-year term. After this term, Edward ran for the Senate but was beaten by George Cross. Edward J. Farlow died at the age of ninety on April 8, 1951.

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