Will Rogers, painter Charles M. Russell and writer Will James
were frequent visitors to actor Harry Carey's ranch in Saugus — now Tesoro del Valle —
before the St. Francis Dam broke up-canyon in 1928 and washed much of the ranch away. (Russell died in 1926.)
Will Rogers didn't make it into this photo, although his kids did; and instead of Will James we see another prominent writer
of Western fiction, Frank H. Spearman.
This photo most likely dates to 1923, when this similar photograph was made — evidently at the same time and place.
Harry Carey Jr.'s autobiography (1996:50ff.) also dates it to "about 1923." Carey Jr. (Dobe) is seen front-and-center at his dad's knee.
(From left) Front row: Charlie Russell, Harry Carey Sr., Harry Carey Jr., Fred Stone, Henry Herbert Knibbs.
Middle row: Otto Meyer, Dick Winslow, James Rogers, Will Rogers Jr., Mary Rogers.
Back row: Frank H. Spearman, Sam DeGrasse, Edward Allen, Clarence Sovern, Spearman's driver, Will Rogers' aide, Spearman's son. Will Rogers was reportedly present but didn't pose for the camera.
Actor Harry Carey (Sr.) acquired a homestead at the mouth of San Francisquito Canyon in 1916 and established a rancho. The ranch included the Carey's wooden ranch home
as well as several outbuildings and the Harry Carey Trading Post, which was a tourist attraction that included billed entertainment from Navajo Indians and other performers,
along with a store that sold Western and Indian curios. The ranch was occasionally used for filming. The Careys'
son, Harry Carey Jr. (Dobe), who would follow in his father's acting footsteps, was born in the Carey ranch home in 1921.
The trading post washed away in the St. Francis Dam disaster of March 1928 and was not rebuilt. The Indians left about a month earlier. According to Dobe,
a shaman saw "a big crack and predicted it would break." The ranch house was situated at a higher
elevation and survived the flood, only to burn down in 1932. The Careys replaced it by building a Spanish adobe home, which they sold with the
rancho in 1945.
Harry Carey was born Henry DeWitt Carey II on January 16, 1878 on 116th Street in the Bronx section
of New York City. His father was a special-sessions judge and president of a sewing machine company.
Harry attended a military academy but declined an appointment to West Point, instead trying his hand as a playwright.
According to the Internet Movie Database: In 1911, his friend Henry B. Walthall
introduced him to director D.W. Griffith, for whom Carey
was to make many films. Carey married twice [correx: 3 times; see here], the [third]
time to actress Olive Fuller Golden (aka Olive Carey),
who introduced him to future director John Ford. Carey influenced Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle
to use Ford as a director, and a partnership was born that lasted until a rift in the friendship in 1921.
During this time, Carey grew into one of the most popular Western stars of the early motion picture,
occasionally writing and directing films as well. In the 1930s he moved slowly into character roles
and was nominated for an Oscar for one of them, the president of the Senate in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"
(1939). He worked once more with Ford, in "The Prisoner of Shark Island" (1936), and appeared
once with his son, Harry Carey Jr., in Howard Hawks' "Red River" (1948).
He died Sept. 21, 1947,
in Brentwood, after a protracted bout with emphysema and cancer. Ford dedicated his remake "3 Godfathers"
(1948) "To Harry Carey — Bright Star Of The Early Western Sky."
Carey would appear in at least 233 films, including short features, between 1909 and 1949.
Further reading: Harry Carey Ranch: Historic American Buildings Survey No. CA-2712.