Buckskins, Bullets, and Business: A History of Buffalo Bill's Wild West

By Sarah J. Blackstone | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
ON WITH THE SHOW

At the very outset it is truthfully claimed and should be intelligently understood that Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World is, in its way, an absolutely distinct; and original innovation in popular instruction and entertainment; an exact, complete and entirely genuine historical and equestrian revelation, many of the participants in which played brave and famous warrior parts in the dread and dangerous scenes of savage warfare, hazardous exploration and pioneer advancement which are so vividly, powerfully and accurately reproduced as to actually partake more of reality than of imitation. 1

Stagnation meant death to a show that drew its audience from the same small communities year after year. The program for Buffalo Bill's Wild West was changed and adjusted constantly to cater to current trends and interests. But at the same time, the managers could never risk a total change of events in one season. A delicate balance had to be maintained by keeping events that audience members loved and had come to expect and removing events that had become stale and overused to make room for new ones. These new events were tried out during early performances in one of the least important places in the program, and if they were well received, they might be moved into a more important position for the rest of the run. If they were not well received, they would be left in their original places and dropped at the end of the season.

A careful examination of programs for Buffalo Bill's Wild West reveals that 86 different events were pþerformed at one time or another between 1883 and 1913. These events fall into

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Buckskins, Bullets, and Business: A History of Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • INTRODUCTION: FIRST IMPRESSIONS 1
  • Chapter One - HOW TRUTH BECAME FICTION 11
  • Chapter Two - GETTING THE SHOW ON THE ROAD 37
  • Chapter Three - ON WITH THE SHOW 53
  • Chapter Four - THE CONGRESS OF ROUGH RIDERS OF THE WORLD 77
  • Chapter Five - PARTNERS AND FRIENDS 95
  • Chapter Six - MESSAGES AND MEANINGS 103
  • Chapter Seven - FINAL IMPRESSIONS 125
  • Notes 135
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY 145
  • Index 149
  • About the Author *
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