So, what really happened that fateful day in October of 1940? Is poor packing to blame for for Tom's Death? Was Tom a washed up has been? A quick check of the newspaper reports from the time reveal some of the truth.
The following is from the front page of Arizona Daily Star, Sunday,
October 13, 1940.
Note that there is some basis in fact for the suitcase story:
"Younkers and Monts said a heavy suit case had fallen against Mix's
head, burying his face in the soft ground. A physician reported later
that the blow broke his neck."
It also refutes the belief that Tom was washed up at the time:
"The cowboy star was carrying $6,000 in cash, $1,500 in travelers'
checks and several valuable jewels." That's a lot of money for 1940, and
shows that Mix was living a well-heeled life right up to the end.
Besides, as the photo and caption from the Tucson Daily
Citizen from October 15, 1940, (below) shows, Tom had been driving a
pretty spiffy automobile. In case you can't read the caption, it states:
"The big racing-type automobile in which Tom Mix, noted cowboy film
actor, was killed in a highway accident 18 miles north of here, is shown
after it was towed into a Florence, Ariz., garage. Mix was pinned under
the car, when it overturned and was partially wrecked."
As for Tom being drunk, no mention is made, but as we'll see,
that may be true, too.
Next up, what about Tony the Wonder Horse?