By Sarah J. Blackstone
Blackstone focuses on the career of William F. Buffalo Bill Cody during the years in which he organized, promoted, and starred in his celebrated Wild West show. Basing her research on primary sources such as photographs, programs, route books, and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings kept by Cody and other participants in the show, Blackstone provides a vivid history of the famed extravaganza. Included in her discussion are the logistics of touring a huge show, the performers and their origins, semiotic analysis of each performance event, and the treatment of Indians and other minorities. Blackstone also deals with the iconography of the show and the way in which it instilled in the public consciousness a mythic image of the American West that has survived to the present day. Blackstone's conclusions help to put Buffalo Bill's Wild West into proper historical and cultural context. The volume includes numerous photographs, most of which have never been published before, and a bibliography containing original listings of primary source information.