Title: Great Audience is Held in Tense Wonder by the Buffalo Bill Indian War Pictures

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Famous Scout Tells How He Conceived the Plan of Perpetuating This Page of American History and Of Being Given Financial Backing in Denver.

BEFORE an audience that occupied every seat in the Tabor yesterday afternoon, the historical pictures of the famous Indian wars were first publicly presented and were received with continuous applause and enthusiasm.

Before the great crowd Colonel Cody — Buffalo Bill — appeared at the outset and delivered a preliminary address, which was pathetic, humorous, eloquent and illuminative. He gave the history of the pictures with a simplicity and ease that won for him the hearts and admiration of his hearers.

He told of the financial downfall of his great Indian Wild West show in the city last year, when he found himself surrounded by sheriffs, lawyers and debts, after having entertained, on two continents, more royalty and more people than had ever witnessed any single entertainment in the wide world. Broken financially and down on his luck, but determined to remain in the game, the colonel said he went into the wilderness, and by the [side?] of the beautiful Shoshones, he figured out how he would recuperate his dwindled fortunes.

He had an idea. He thought of his long career on the plains, of the wars he had been in; of the Indian battles he had fought; of the advance of white civilization through many stirring years, and he thought this page of thrilling American history should be perpetuated for the benefit of this and future generations.


The new art of moving pictures made it possible to reproduce some wonderful fights. But to accomplish all this it was necessary to have the approval and help of the government, a strong financial backing and the sanction of the famous generals who had helped to make history. He heard, while in the wilderness, that the secretary of war was in Colorado. "So," said Cody, "I chased myself down to Denver, met Mr. Garrison, laid my idea before him and he gave it cordial approval, promising the hearty support of the war department.


"Later I saw Secretary of the Interior Lane at Colorado Springs and asked his cooperation. He had the Indians under his supervision. He was a necessary factor. He took to the proposition warmly.

"Next I had to have money. It would take $100,000. I didn't have a dollar. I went to Tammen and Bonfils of your city and asked them if they would back me. There was no hesitation. 'Go as far as you like, Bill,' they both said. 'We will finance you.'

"Then Tammen and I went East to find the best picture makers the country could produce. We found them in the Essanay people, and Mr. Spoor, the president, gladly agreed to join in the work. 'You are all right, father,' Tammen said to me in Detroit, as we closed the big contract, and then went on and secured the personal aid, co-operation and support of General Miles, General Baldwin, General Lee, General King and all those Indian fighters with whom I had been associated years ago.

"Backed by the national government, they were as keen as I was for a true historical reproduction of the scene that resulted in the final surrender of the Indians to the white race. So the work began. The American troops and the American Indians were at our disposal. We had to pay the latter well. We gave them from two to five dollars a day each for their services. We left with the Indians some $10,000, so you can see what a costly proposition it is.

"We all — General Miles directing — went to the old fighting ground, and there, with wonderful accuracy, we reproduced, after weeks of work, the most wonderful series of Indian war scenes the world has known.


"When completed, they had first to be shown to the president and his cabinet at Washington, to receive their approval or disapproval, for, if found satisfactory they were to be placed in the archives of the war department and the interior department. Last week, before the cabinet, the leading senators and diplomats, they were shown in the government building and formally indorsed.

"Then New York wanted them immediately. A manner of inducements of a financial character were made for them to open a new theater. But I held that they must have their premier in the West; in the historic Tabor opera house; in the city that had made it possible for all this to be accomplished. So, ladies and gentlemen, you will see for the first time, these great pictures that mark an epoch in our western history, and which could not have been made but for the support of the Federal government and the financial backing of two of your enterprising citizens."


When Buffalo Bill finished, a storm of applause greeted him. He was a stately, impressive and picturesque figure as he stood there. Many thought him the most extraordinary American living. His presence seemed to lend a thrill to the important event.

Directly following the speech, the pictures were shown, and for over two hours the vast audience was strangely entertained.

It is quite impossible to describe them. They are very wonderful in their realism. They are something we can never see again. The grim and grizzled participants are in the Christmas of their days; their race is nearly run; they can never again be actors on the stage as they were in this tremendous reproduction. The pictures are therefore the only ones that we can ever see. The like we have never seen before. Their splendid accuracy, their lack of posing, their genuineness, their vividness, make them extraordinary. To the young they are an education. To the old a revival of fading memory; to all a display of American patriotism and bravery that cannot be too highly extolled.