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Season 4

Ralph Loosmore
Stu Davis
Isabella Miller Haraga
Hank Pallister
CFCW
Eric Harvie
Guy Weadick
WJ Oliver
Anna Chevalier
Verne Franklin
William Ogle
Kenny McLean
Don Remington

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W. J. Oliver

When Edward, the Prince of Wales paid a visit to the Bar U Ranch in Western Canada, the only photographer allowed to take the Prince’s picture was W. J. “Bill” Oliver. It was Oliver that George Lane, owner of the Bar U had enlisted to photograph the Bar U Percherons when they were sent to France to help with the war effort. When Calgary celebrated the end of the war with the Victory Stampede, Bill Oliver captured the classic image of the great bucking horse High Tower being ridden by another Trail Blazer, Clem Gardner in 1919.

Young Bill apprenticed as a butcher before immigrating to Canada in 1910. After working in the potato fields and as a teamster on irrigation projects, he bought his first camera and within months was taking pictures of cowboys, ranchers and many other aspects of life in the West.

Bill married Marjorie Martin in 1920 and their honeymoon was spent on the Bar U taking pictures of George Lane’s beef herd.

In the 30s Bill Oliver expanded into movie making and made several films with the Englishman Archibald Belaney, but you may know him better as Grey Owl.

The Oliver’s had a ranch they called the Diamond L and for a time Bill devoted more effort to the ranching operations than to taking pictures and making films. The Diamond L went on the market in 1948 when Bill realized there was a huge demand for him to continue with his passion of documenting western life, in film and on the lecture circuit.

Bill Oliver died at the age of 67 of a brain aneurism.

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