Alphonso J. "Al" Jennings was an attorney in Oklahoma Territory who at one time robbed trains. He later became a silent film star and made many appearances in films as an actor and technical adviser.
Jennings moved to Oklahoma City in 1911 and became active in politics. In 1912 he won the Democratic nomination for Oklahoma County attorney, but he lost the general election. In 1914 he made an unsuccessful run for the office of governor of Oklahoma. Enjoying the popularity of his starring role in the 1914 film adaptation of his 1913 biography, Beating Back, Jennings campaigned openly about his past and won votes with his honesty. One of six democratic candidates, he finished third in the primary behind James B. A. Robertson and Robert L. Williams.
Jennings wrote another book, Through the Shadows With O. Henry, which was published in 1921 by NY Burt. It details his friendship with the short story writer, then known only as William Sydney Porter, from a few years before they were sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary (on charges arising from separate incidents), until sometime after their release from prison within a few years of each other, and a subsequent meeting in New York.
Retiring from law and politics, Jennings moved to California and worked in the motion picture industry making Westerns, appearing in many as an actor and also as a technical adviser. A film biography of him was made in 1951, Al Jennings of Oklahoma, with Dan Duryea in the title role. Jennings also worked as a traveling evangelist and warned the public against making the choices that he made. He died in Tarzana, California, on December 26, 1961, aged 98. He is interred in the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.