About the Film
Ray Lum (1891--1977) was a mule skinner, a livestock trader, an auctioneer, and an American original. This 1972 film by William Ferris and Judy Peiser captures the essence of this one-of-a-kind figure who seems to have stepped full-blooded from the pages of Mark Twain. In his special world he was famous for trading, for tale-telling, and for common-sense lessons that had made him a savvy bargainer and a shrewd businessman. His home and his auction barn were in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where mules were his main interest, but in trading he fanned out over twenty states and even into Mexico. A west Texas newspaper reported his fame this way: "He is known all over cow country for his honest fair dealing and gentlemanly attitude..... A letter addressed to him anywhere in Texas probably would be delivered."
The book Mule Trader: Ray Lum's Tales of Horses, Mules, and Men by William Ferris with an introduction by Eudora Welty is available from the University of Mississippi Press.