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The story of the famous 'Western Star' movie cowboy puzzle.

A recent New York Times story about the current surge in demand for jigsaw puzzles and how they are made reminded me of my own jigsaw puzzle saga.

I met my friend, Ann Poore at a gallery in Salt Lake City many years ago and (long story short) she introduced me to her friend Mary Schofield, who's husband Ralph had painted 'Western Star' in 1981. He was a fan of western movies and had meticulously painted more than 30 movie cowboys in this iconic painting, which I was fortunate enough to be able to acquire. The purchase and subsequent sale of prints and puzzles of the painting funded needed repairs on Mary's Holladay, Utah pioneer home where she had lived with Ralph for decades. Ann and I would occasionally bring takeout to Mary's for an early dinner and I loved learning about Ralph, his work as an army artist in the Korean War, his later career as a Utah painter and their eclectic circle friends in mid-century Salt Lake City.

I created a website about Ralph and the painting, prints, and puzzles. The site includes lots of interesting information about Ralph, who painted himself into the piece (riding shotgun) and incorporates an interactive "directory" of all of the actors depicted. Links to their Wikipedia pages appear when you hover the mouse over their faces.

Even though the stores that normally sell the puzzles are currently closed, I can send them to you directly, helping to ease your days of quarantine and isolation. Contact me either through this site's contact link or the contact page on

Long live the movies, and more than 100 years of movie cowboys!

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