Tumbleweeds is a 1925 American Western film starring and produced by William S. Hart. It depicts the Cherokee Strip land rush of 1893. The film is said to have influenced the Oscar-winning 1931 Western Cimarron, which also depicts the land rush. The 1939 Astor Pictures’ re-release of Tumbleweeds includes an 8-minute introduction by the then 75-year-old Hart as he talks about his career and the “glories of the old west.” Tumbleweeds was Hart’s last movie.
In the Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma during the 1880s and early 1890s, the government lands that were leased to cattlemen were opened to settlement by homesteaders. To allow a fair chance for everyone, the prospective homesteaders were required to register and registrants were prohibited from entering into the Strip before the appointed time. Those who tried to get there beforehand were called “Sooners”. Hence the nickname of Oklahoma is the Sooner State. When a cannon shot signaled the start of the land rush, a hundred thousand men and women tried to stake their claims.
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