The western movie genre was popular from the onset of cinema and throughout the silent era thanks in large part to the revolutionary and hugely influential 1903 film, The Great Train Robbery, but the innovation and wild success of talkies in the late 1920s left westerns on the outside looking in.
But cowboys, outlaws, and the ol' dusty trail couldn't be kept down for long. The western came back with a vengeance as a slough of popular westerns hit the silver screen in the late 1930s, among them Jesse James starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, filmed in Southwest City, Missouri, south of Joplin.
Movies like Jesse James, Dodge City, and John Wayne's big break, Stagecoach -- all released in 1939 -- gave the western legs for a thirty-year run of immense popularity.
More classic photos of Joplin and surrounding areas can be found in the Globe's new book, Greater Joplin Through Our Eyes.