Buffalo Bill - Page 2
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Abbot-Downing Concord Coach

When Buffalo Bill returned from his scout with General Crook, in 1876, he rode in this self-same stage, bringing with him the scalps of several of the Indians whom he had met. When afterwards he learned that it had been attacked and abandoned, and was lying neglected on the plains, he organized a party, and starting on the trail, rescued and brought the vehicle into camp. With the sentiment that attaches to a man whose life hs been identified with the excitement of the far West, the scout has now secured the coach from the Colonel Voorhes, the manager of the Black Hills stage line, and hereafter it will play a different role in its history from that of inviting murder and being the tomb of its passengers. Since coming into Colonel Cody's possession it has been cast for star roles only and has consorted with crowned heads, noblemen, and dignitaries of the church and state. In London it carried the Prince of Wales on an inside seat when the "Attack on the mail" was depicted in the Wild West arena.

The President of the French republic, the child-king of Spain, the Emporor of Germany, His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII, have examined the battered structure with interest but nowhere has the "Deadwood Mail" been greeted with more eager and intelligent interest than right here in Concord, the city of its birth, where the very men who made it gave it welcome and where the president of the Abbot-Downing Company, after careful inspection guanteed its running gear for another indefinite term of service.



The spacious pavillions of the Wild West show were thronged for both the afternoon and evening performances and the thousands of delighted spectators were liberal with their appreciation of the magnificent spectacle. The score of numbers on the programme were each received with uproarious applause which reached an early climax when Buffalo Bill, assembling the entire Wild West organization in the arena, doffed his sombrero and craved the privilege of introducing a congress of the rough riders of the world.

Few of the features of the programme fell short of the marvellous and the riding, shooting, tumbling, feats of athletic skill and daring, outlandish pastimes and cowboy fun elicited the tumultuous applause of the audience. The spirit of the day ran riot and the appearance of the magnificent squadron of United States Calvary was the signal for a cyclone of enthusiasm which burst over the Stars and Stripes as it was carried around the arena at full speed by a mounted color guard.

The riding of the assembled horsemen of the world was superb, Cossacks, Arabs, Mexicans, Indians, Gauchos, and cowboys vieing with each other in the emulation of the centaurs.


Miss Annie Oakley

The marksmanship of Miss Annie Oakley, the celebrated shot, and of Jonnie Baker, the boy marksman, was simply wonderful, their feats of trap-shooting resulting in scores approimating perfection. Colonel Cody is himself a marksman not to be out-done by any of his company and in rapid succession he cracked the clay pigeons and the glass balls thrown into the air as he rode at full tilt around the arena.

The Indian scenes aroused the greatest interest both in parade and arena. There are 81 bucks and braves connected with the Wild West show, and five squaws, from the Pine Ridge Agency, South Dakota. They are the picked men of the Olgallalls and Sioux nations. Their appearance is savagely picturesque, their constom consisting mainly of a string of sleighbells and a coat of ocher. Occasionally an overdressed brave perspired beneath the extra covering of a coat of blue paint on his nose, but for the most part the untutored, though wildly traveled sons of the forest were clad in the virgin simplicity of a pigment wash.

The Indians enter into their potion of the Wild West performance with infinite zest. They are devotedly attached to Colonel Cody, who is under bond to the United States Government for their safe keeping, good behavior, and return to their agency. The period for which Colonel Cody secures the Indians is eight months only, but so well do the savages like touring with the Wild West show that but few changes occur from year to year in the personnel of the Sioux division of the organization. "Rocky Bear," the 70-year-old chief who commands Colonel Cody's detachment of Sious and who is second in authority in the whole Sioux nation, has been with the Wild West show for 14 years, and even the charms of undivided rule could hardly tempt him from his place in the front line of the "Congress of Rough Riders."

Reprinted from the Concord Evening Monitor, July 5, 1895. Special thanks to Mike Pride.

More information on Miss Annie Oakley.