In Old Arizona

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In Old Arizona
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Irving Cummings
Raoul Walsh
Produced by Winfield Sheehan
Written by Tom Barry
Starring Warner Baxter
Edmund Lowe
Dorothy Burgess
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Alfred Hansen
Edited by Louis R. Loeffler
Distributed by Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
Los Angeles:
December 25, 1928 (1928-12-25)
General release:
January 20, 1929 (1929-01-20)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.3 million[1]

In Old Arizona is a 1929 American Pre-Code Western film directed by Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh, nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film, which was based on the character of the Cisco Kid in the story The Caballero's Way by O. Henry, was a major innovation in Hollywood. It was the first major Western to use the new technology of sound and the first talkie to be filmed outdoors. The film made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and the San Fernando Mission and the Mojave Desert in California. The movie was released on January 20, 1929; its premiere was in Los Angeles on December 25, 1928.

In Old Arizona was also instrumental in developing the image of the singing cowboy, with its star, Warner Baxter, singing "My Tonia". Baxter went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Other nominations included Best Director for Irving Cummings, Best Writing for Tom Barry Best Cinematography for Arthur Edeson, and Best Picture.


The Cisco Kid is a gay caballero whose flair for dramatic thievery and penchant for dangerous trysts keep him just one step ahead of Sgt. Mickey Dunn. The Kid's reputation has preceded him when he approaches the local stagecoach, and he needs to fire only two warning shots to wrest the Wells Fargo box from the driver. His infatuation with a Mexican girl named Tonia María exposes him to near-capture, because of the señorita's double-dealing association with Dunn. Eventually, a showdown becomes imminent, and the Kid exacts a final revenge by framing Tonia so that Dunn shoots her by accident, while the Kid rides laughing off into the sunset.


  • Raoul Walsh was set to direct and star as the Cisco Kid in this film, but had to abandon the project when a jackrabbit jumped through a windshield of a vehicle he was driving and cost Walsh an eye, after which he wore an eyepatch for the remainder of his life. Walsh never acted again but continued his illustrious career as a film director.


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