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

By Sarah J. Blackstone | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
FINAL IMPRESSIONS

Wyoming. Oh! West, of West!

Land of a man who as a boy was a mighty pioneer in the development of a new world. Rider, intrepid, audacious, simple, unconscious wild western country boy of the Pony Express, William Cody, Buffalo Bill master of the hunt, charmed against harm, loved and trusted by the Indians. Buffalo Bill who made the old world know what it was, the wild of West, a link between the old world and the new. Buffalo Bill, a master of picturesque beauty and grandeur, from Wyoming, a great country which has stood side by side with its sister-States in the great sacrifices for victory. I have to come to you one day. 1

-- Marie, Queen of Rumania

While there is no way to measure accurately the impact of the Wild West on its audiences or its influence in the creation of the myth of the American West, such testimonies as the one above give some clue as to the strength of the effect of the show on audience members. There is no doubt that new fashions were begun, new foods introduced to Europeans, and new Western character-types presented to audiences by the Wild West. But the overall production, which was billed as genuine and authentic, soon transcended its intention of representing the contemporary Western scene and created a West based largely on illusion.

The West that Cody wished to portray had passed into history by the time his show became a success. The Indian battles, lonely frontier cabins, and the Pony Express were all events of the past and had little to do with the ongoing process of making the West

-125-

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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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