Title: Leipzig Notes | Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Periodical: The Anglo-American

Date: June 22, 1890

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LEIPZIG NOTES.

BUFFALO BILL'S WILD WEST.

America, even that part of it known as the United States, is a large place and it is something to be known far and wide there. A few years ago, the name of Buffalo Bill was heard for the first time in Europe. It is now familiar in every great city of the Continent, and probably over half Asia and Africa as well. If Stanley's recently discovered dwarfs are ignorant of it, they must be very retired persons indeed. In transferring his "Wild West", Indians, cowboys, buckjumpers and all to Hanover, Colonel Cody is paying this town the highest compliment in his power. Our readers may remember Mark Twain's account of his attempt to travel by glacier. The pace was not so rapid as he expected, and the adventurer exclaimed angrily, „If—(we forget the gentleman's name) could lay his hand on this torpid old stab, I guess he'd make it move along faster." We will borrow the sentiment for the occasion and express an opinion that if anything could wake Hanover from its slumbers it would be the Wild West. Nevertheless, whether glutted by the Schütsenfest [1] or the races or both, the attendance of the first two days of the show was miserably and lamentably poor. The weather was no doubt partly to blame. A raw November day with heavy showers of cold rain at intervals in depressing in the middle of July, and the storm which set in after the performance on Wednesday must have made matters very uncomfortable even for the habitual dwellers in tents. The programme of the show is identical or nearly so with that given in London some years ago. Annie Oakley has become Fräulein, little Johnny Baker der kleine Johann; neither of these two notabilities has grown much, and the shooting of both is as good as ever. The pony post riders, the old Deadwood Coach, Indian Chiefs, sqwaws, wigwams, buffalos, and lastly the Oberst [2] himself are now as formerly. The Colonel's hair is as long as it was in London, the buckjumpers are no whit less lively, a fact which the Prince Regent of Bavaria [3] nearly learned to his own cost. His Highness was, it seems, a little suspicious that the animals saddles were armed with hails, and the buckjumping thereby accountable; accordingly he   demanded a closer inspection, rewarded by an endeavour on the part of the aggrieved horse to plant its feet in the Royal chest with some violence. Thereupon the Prince expressed himself satisfied. The Bucking-Pferde, described in neat German as the "ungezügelsten und unzähmbarsten Pferde, die heutzutage existiren", draw the public if they can be used for nothing else, and their riders are hardly likely to suffer from that very exasperating organ, a sluggish liver. We thought the Deadwood Coach scene a trifle spoiled by the absence of those flames, which used to break out during the battle and render the existence of any one inside a marvel. Nor are the Indian whoopings quite as hearty as of yore, a decay attributable not doubt to the climate. To all intents and purposes, however, the Wild West is unaltered. It remains American in every detail, from the historical Cody himself, the rival of Horatius Cocles, [4] to the humble vendor of programmes, with his "ein minute ladies and gentlemen", and if Hanover does'nt turn out to see it, why the "torpid old slab" is past waking up altogether and had better be consigned to the region of buried cities or submerged in the waters of the Leine [5] till a better frame of mind is induced; with which token of good will we wish the gallant "Langhaar", Good Morning, and viel Glück.

 

We thought we had seen some riding in England but what "the boys", the Indians—barebacked—and the ladies respectively showed were real revelations of what can be done with a horse. The handling was superb; rarely was the second hand used, one hand was as convenient as the other, while the evolutions performed are scarcely to be described. The way a "boy" would jump out of the saddle and in again at full galop "knocks lumps off" of any Circus-riding ever seen, for it is all done in the open air and in a space where no provision can be made against swerving etc. Races between Cow-boys and Indians, between ladies, cow-boy's sports, Buckjumping horses, Attacks and Repulses of Indians; the celebrated fight between "Buffalo-Bill" and Yellow-Hand, in the presence of the Indian and Mexican forces, on 17th July 1875, are given with surprising reality.

The shooting too is simply wonderful. Miss Aunie Oakley—"Little Sure Shot" performed feats with her gun that seem impossible, and yet which were equalled by young Johnnie Baker; Claude, L. Daly was as wonderful at revolver shooting while "Buffalo-Bill" performed almost incredible shooting feats in the saddle.

Miss Anny Oakley is as skilful in the saddle as with her "shooting iron" so that she would know how to hold her own against a Red-skin or mayhap more. The collection of medals and autographs she has is surprising. The ridings of the Misses Georgie Williams, [6] and the sisters Della and Bessie Ferrell [7] are equally fearless, skilful and as singularly graceful as the first-named. The whole performance is so interesting and striking that we do not marvel at the success it has met with everywhere. We heard German after German say that he "would not have missed it for the world", and advising those who are "hard up" to borrow the money or go short of something rather than lose the treat.

Note 1: Schütsenfest, marksmen's festival or a fair featuring target shooting competitions. [back]

Note 2: Oberst refers to Colonel William F. Cody, Buffalo Bill. [back]

Note 3: Prince Regent of Bavaria was Luitpold (Luitpold Karl Joseph Wilhelm Ludwig von Bayern, 1821-1912) who served as de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912. [back]

Note 4: Publius Horatius Cocles, a 6th century B.C. army officer of the ancient Roman Republic. [back]

Note 5: Leine River (Germany). [back]

Note 6: Georgie Williams, a lady rider with Buffalo Bill's Wild West. [back]

Note 7: Della (~1869-1896) and Bessie Ferrell were cowgirls and trick riders who performed with Buffalo Bill's Wild West during the first European tour. Della Ferrell married sharpshooter Johnny Baker. [back]

Title: Leipzig Notes | Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Periodical: The Anglo-American

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, MS6.3681.087.0 (Oakley scrapbook)

Date: June 22, 1890

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: American bison American Indians Cowboys Historical reenactments Horses Indians of North America Shooters of firearms Shooting contests Shooting Show riders Stagecoaches Trick riding Wild horses

People: Baker, Lewis H., 1869-1931 Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, 1821-1912 Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926 Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 Yellow Hand, 1850?-1876

Places: Leine River (Germany) Leipzig (Germany)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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