Meet “Idaho Bill,” also known to Los Angelenos in the 1920s and 30s as Col. Bill Roy Pearson, former government Indian scout, buffalo hunter, rodeo cowboy, Pony Express rider and stagecoach operator.
While his life read like a dime store cowboy novel, Bill promoted himself as an old school adventurer, who made his living capturing wild animals for zoos. In 1927, he claimed to have captured a 700-pound mountain lion, measuring 11-feet from tip-to-tail, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Mexico. Bill allegedly delivered the lion to a zoo in Washington D.C.
Years later, Bill claimed to own a ranch in Snake River Valley, Idaho, where he made his fortune selling horses to the United States Cavalry.
While Bill promoted himself as one of the last surviving pioneers of the Old West, and one-time friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, his approximate birthdate was around 1868, which would have made him very young when the Old West ended.
Nevertheless, Bill was a colorful character, literally, wearing purple western suits and shiny, expensive boots. He also frequently wore his long hair pulled back into a ponytail because he “was brought up that way” and because it protected him from the intense desert heat and mountain storms.
Bill always carried around loads of cash, making headlines in 1940 when the cashier at a drugstore located at 11th and Spring Street couldn’t break a $1000 bill to make change for a five cent cup of coffee. It was a favorite practical joke Idaho Bill used to play on unsuspecting small drugstores around Los Angeles.
Always flashy, Pearson again made the news when he showed up at Pershing Square in July of 1942 carrying $75,000 in war bonds.
“I call it my fightin’ money,” he told actress Marsha Hunt, who sold him additional bonds.
Despite not having any credits listed with IMDB, the Los Angeles Times once reported that Idaho Bill was a “top actor” at a “quickie row” studio in Gower Gulch located at the corner of Sunset and Gow
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