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Harriet Beckert's 'Arno


Harriet Beckert, a Chicago opera star, collapsed on stage one night in 1917. Doctors said her career was over and she needed to move somewhere with fresh air. Soon, she began ranching near Kildeer, ND, where she became known for her fierce independence and unusual ideas.

While traveling through Germany sometime in the 1920s, Harriet was impressed by police dogs she saw. She bought a puppy of one of these dogs and named him Arno. Arno was exceptionally smart and ended up in Hollywood, where the head of Universal Studios offered Harriet $50,000 for him. Harriet said no and wrote her own screenplay called The Bandit Chasers. She hired western-actor Tom Mix to co-star with Arno, and the dog became an animal celebrity. Among other roles, Arno was featured in the classic children’s comedy series, Our Gang.

Bronze busts of Harriet and Arno are displayed at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

By Merry Helm


Wallace, Irving. Stardust to Prairie Dust, 1976. Theo. Gaus’ Sons, Inc. Brooklyn, NY.

50 Years in the Saddle: Looking Back Down the Trail. 50 Years in the Saddle Book Committee, 1990. Quality Quick Print, Dickinson, & Associated Printers, Grafton.

Minot Daily News. June 14, 1980: p 11.