Mix Medora Wedding
Tom Mix, the legendary cowboy of the silver screen, married Olive Stokes in Medora, North Dakota, on this date in 1909. Stokes, the daughter of a wealthy Oklahoma rancher, became Mix’s third wife.
Olive and Tom met in 1904 when they were introduced by Will Rogers at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Rogers and Tom were performing together in the Mulhall Wild West Show and fourteen-year-old Olive was there to receive an award for a painting she had submitted. Mix volunteered to show her around the fairgrounds. The mysterious cowhand told Olive that they would meet again. Olive had no idea what Tom had meant by this, and returned to complete school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Four years later, during the winter of 1908, she traveled to Medora to purchase horses for the ranch. Soon after her arrival, Tom showed up. Mix informed her that he had been to her ranch, and her family had told him where he could find her. The two spent a few weeks looking over stock, making purchases, and attending holiday parties. Finally, on the evening of January 19, Olive was to attend one final ball at the Cowboy Hotel before her return home. Dancing until the early hours of the morning, Olive realized there was no sign of Mix and asked a friend to take her back to the house where she was staying. When she arrived, she was ushered into the kitchen. Lanterns were hung, food was set out, and friends were gathered around. Before she knew it, the wedding march was being played and she found herself in the midst of a surprise wedding. Thinking the set-up was some kind of game, Olive quickly said, “I do” when asked to be Tom’s wife. She soon discovered that the friendly neighbor playing the role of the pastor was in fact an ordained minister, and that the ceremony was legitimate, although Olive did not mind. The newlyweds boarded a train to Miles City the following morning to begin their honeymoon.
The couple had a daughter, Ruth, in 1912, and Tom went on to star in nearly four hundred silent films and become one of the most successful movie cowboys of all time. They divorced in 1917, after eight years of marriage. In 1957, Olive penned a memoir of Tom entitled The Fabulous Tom Mix.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
Stokes-Mix, Olive, and Eric Heath. 1957 The Fabulous Tom Mix. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs: 1-21.
Jensen, Richard. 2005 The Amazing Tom Mix: the Most Famous Cowboy of the Movies. iUniverse: Lincoln, NE.