Title: A Peep at Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Date: 1887

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Beatrice. E. [S]chuper.



To lasso the Buffalo on the plains,
To drive the wolf from its lair,
To run and race at break-neck pace,
To shoot at the hungry bear,

Away from the haunts of men to go
And follow his own sweet will,
O this was the sort of life, and the sport
That suited Buffalo Bill!

The whole Wild West was open to him;
And there he could freely roam,
And under the trees could live at his ease,
And make himself quite at home.

The dream of his boyhood it had been
To live in the wild-wood free
Like a pioneer, and to chase the deer
With others as wild as he.

So steady his hand and so sure his aim
As he flung out the light lasso,
That in the loop of his line he'd scoop
The terrible Buffalo.

The ways of the wild-ox well he learned—
And such was his nerve and skill
In snaring this game, that he won great fame,
And the name of Buffalo Bill.

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But out in the land of the setting sun,
The savages made their home,
And in search of food o'er mountain and wood
The red men were wont to roam.

And oft they would cross the great frontier
The white men to rob and slay,
And troops were sent by the government
To keep the wretches at bay.

Swiftly the arrows rushed through the air,
Loudly the guns replied;
And red and white took part in the fight
And the dead were on either side.

The savages knew every inch of the ground,
Very crafty were they and sly,
And with loosened rein o'er the level plain
With wonderful speed did they fly.

O brave and bold must the white man be
Who follows the red man's track,
By day and night prepared to fight
And parry the fierce attack.

With eye as keen as an eagle's own,
With a steady hand and nerve
He must stand in his place, and the foeman face,
And never from duty swerve.

The troops press on with a steady march,
With pistols and guns supplied;
But as brave as they are they cannot go far
Without a reliable guide;

And happy are they in meeting with one
So worthy this post to fill,
For there couldn't be found in the country around
Such a scout as Buffalo Bill.

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He knew where their wigwams were set up,
And once he had led a raid
Right into the camp of a tattoed scamp,
Who had reason to be afraid

Of a white man's wrath; for his hands were dyed
With blood, and much pride he felt
In having a gun he had seized from one
Whose scalp he wore at his belt.

By all the Sioux and the bold Cheyennes
Apaches and Nez Percés,
Was the scout well known, and he had grown
Familiar with all their ways.

He had seen them oft in bloodthirsty mood,
With feathery shield and lance,
With their war-paint on, and the scalps they'd won,
Indulge in a wild, war dance.

The fagots were lit, and around and around
In a ring the savages went,
While the horrid drum, with its tum-a-tum-tum,
With their shouts and their war-whoops blent.

And there on the embers they meant to lay
The prisoner lately caught,
So cruel were they, and this was the way
To treat their foes they were taught.

And many of those who across the plains
To the aid of the red men had come,
Had abused them well—'tis a shame to tell—
And increased their thirst for rum.

And the old feuds grew, and the red men claimed
The land they had long possessed;
And the white men fought for the prize they sought
A home in the Wild, Wild West.

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O'er dangerous roads, and through canyons deep
The Overland Coach moved on
With its living freight, and its treasures great,
In charge of the driver, John.

O wonderful stories he had to tell
Of the dangers that he had met,
For on many a trip he had cracked his whip,
And never once been upset.

But out of the shadows would bandits steal—
Those masked and merciless bands—
And the stage-coach stop, and their pistols pop,
Till the passengers raised their hands.

And then their money these rogues would take,
Their watches and chains without fail,
And empty each bag of the precious "swag"
That was part of the Overland mail.

And then if the white rogues they escaped
The red men were sure to come
With arrows and bows, and their way oppose,
And prove very troublesome.

And to keep themselves in good fighting trim,
And worthy a warrior's place,
Each youthful brave by his sire so grave
Was compelled to run a race.

And Hole-in-the-ground, and Rain-in-the-face,
In their moccasons did appear,
With Stick-in-the-mud, and Big-young blood
And Dare-devil in the rear.

And as swift as the nimble-footed deer
Away o'er the course they sped,
And Rain-in-the-face kept up his pace,
And always came out ahead.

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Still the settlers manage to push their way
Along through the Wild, Wild West,
And the weary length of the road their strength
Is daily put to the test.

And to keep them safe from the savage beasts
That growl and threaten to kill,
And from Indian bands that infest the lands,
They are guarded by Buffalo Bill.

And he and his men are on the alert
These enemies fierce to spy,
And if one of them shows the tip of his nose,
Ah me! how the bullets fly!

And through many perils the settlers reach
The spot that they think the best,
And a space is cleared, and a house is reared—
A modest but sweet home-nest.

And driven away by the white man's axe
From the early haunts of his race,
The Indian packs his tents, and makes tracks
For a suitable dwelling-place.

The squaws and papooses ride on ahead
With blankets around them twined,
With their houses all rolled up in a ball
And the tent-poles trailing behind.

And the little boys that are early trained
To hunt for the forest game,
With arrow and bow look out for the foe
And are very sure in their aim.

And this is the game of hide-and-seek
The white men and red men play
On the prairies wide, where on every side
They fight for the right of way.

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The Indian village again set up,
The Squaws must remain at home
With the younger brood, to prepare the food,
While the warriors further roam.

And girt with the weapons that they have won
From enemies they have slain,
They watch and wait both early and late
The approach of the settlers train.

And Buffalo Bill, who knows their ways,
And the evil that they would do,
Puts foot to horse, and soon comes across
The track of the sneaking Sioux.

And lucky for him if the band is small
And the weapons they hold but few,
For he and his men may easily then
Disperse the blood-thirsty crew.

The Indian mother is proud of her boys,
And will urge them to be as bold
And brave as their sire, whom they admire,
Of whose deeds they are daily told.

And the wild young savages run and leap,
And keep all their limbs in play,
Their lithe forms lave in the sparkling wave,
And the laws of their tribe obey.

While the Indian maiden, with raven hair,
Performs her duties apart
With a touch of grace, and a smile on her face,
And a sweet little dream in her heart.

And though some in the red men's homes may long
For wars that will never cease,
There are others we know who would gladly go
With the white men, and be at peace.

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The scouts and the settlers soon make friends,
And in company, side by side,
At a pace not slow away they go,
And over the prairies ride.

The wild-woods ring with their merry songs,
And happy as they can be
Are the girls and boys, for each enjoys
A home in the wild-woods free.

And in fun and frolic they all delight,
And practice their steeds with skill,
And with wondrous grace they take their place
And their part in a gay quadrille.

Now right and left, and forward and back,
And around in a ring they go;
Then ladies chain, and back again,
And promenade in a row.

O Buffalo Bill like a spirit rides
And dashes across the plain;
His wonderful steed to his voice gives heed
And answers the touch of the rein.

And swiftly the light lasso is flung,
And seldom is it at fault,
For it stops the speed of the flying steed,
That's brought to a sudden halt.

And to tame them and train them for future use
Is a joy to Buffalo Bill,
And the cow-boys and he are as fond as can be
Of the sport that demands such skill.

And almost human the beasts become,
And though under control of reins
They are almost as free as they used to be
When roaming wild o'er the plains.

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At home in the saddle the young folks are
From morn until late at night,
And the girls and the boys make all the noise
They can their steeds to affright.

They fire their muskets; shattering stones
That are thrown aloft in the air;
And are equally deft with right hand or left,
In touching the target there.

And away with a swift and a steady pace,
Like birds with their wide-spread wings,
The good steeds go, and their rider's glow
With the health that such pastime brings.

And one who is more expert than the rest,
The brave and the fearless Madge,
For the skill displayed, and the records made,
Is worthy a marksman's badge.

And Buckskin Joe, and Hurricane Dick,
Regard her doings with pride,
For to them she owes whatever she knows;
They taught her to shoot and to ride.

Some horses there are that a man can trust,
But oh! it requires great pluck,
It does, indeed, to manage a steed
That is always disposed to "buck."

Then there's a fight between horse and man,
And the strength of the will is shown;
And sometimes, alas! it comes to pass
That the rider is finally thrown.

And all these doings recorded here
In the haunts of the Buffalo,
Where the cowboys dwell, and the Indians yell,
Are part of the WILD WEST SHOW.

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Title: A Peep at Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

Source: McCracken Research Library, William F. Cody Collection, MS6.1899

Date: 1887

Topic: Buffalo Bill Himself

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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