Title: Salus Populi Lex Suprema

Periodical: Liverpool Mercury

Date: July 7, 1891

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The ground selected by Major Burke, the genial and energetic manager of the exhibition, for the Wild West encampment abuts Newsham Park. The arena where the performances take place is in form a parallelogram, on three sides of which raised seats capable of accommodating some 8000 people form a capital vantage ground for viewing the performance or representations as the case may be. The greater part of the auditorium is under cover, the arena being exposed to the weather. At the south end of the ground is situated the grand stand, from which a magnificent view can be obtained of all that goes on. Facing the grand stand the fine trees in Newsham Park and the large expanse of open country form an appropriate background, and certainly heighten the effect of scenes which from their character if enacted within four walls must necessarily lose much of that realism which is so essential and so marked a feature of the whole exhibition. Notwithstanding an unpromising climatic outlook, quite 5000 people attended at the first entertainment yesterday afternoon. The proceedings commenced by an overture from the Cow Boy band—an excellent band under the direction of Mr. William Sweeney. From a stand in the centre of the arena, Mr. Clifford, in a clear resonant voice which could be heard all over the place, proclaimed the first item in a long and diversified programme. It may be here explained that each and every scene represented is intended to represent employments, scenes, and episodes drawn from the eventful career of Colonel Cody (Buffalo Bill), which fact, taken in conjunction with the fact that this gentleman himself figures in most of the numbers in the programme, lends an additional interest to the performance. The first item consisted of a kind of muster of the whole troupe, which, as we have before pointed out, consists of 210 men, of whom 70 are Indians. At a given signal a wild war-whoop is heard, and a group of painted Araphoe Indians in full war paint and feathers, and mounted on spirited horses, dash headlong up the arena, headed by "Plenty of Wolves," their chief, who last winter figured as a U.S. army scout. They are followed by a group of cowboys under Jim Mitchell. The next group is formed of Brules led by their chief, "Short Bull," who was only last winter the leader of the "hostiles."   The other groups consisted of "Cut-off" Indians, led by "Kicking Bear;" Mexican vaqueros, led by Antonio Esquival; Cheyenne Indians, led by "Lone Bull;" Sioux Indians of the Ogallala tribe, led by "Black Heart." The old backwoodsman, John Nelson, who conducted Brigham Young to the Salt Lake City, and an old Indian chief, "Bone Necklace," followed, besides whom were a group of ladies from the Far West, two boy Sioux chiefs, and "Long Wolf," a sorcerer and medicine man of the Sioux. With their magnificent eagle plumes and fantastically-painted bodies and faces, the Indians formed a most imposing picture, and one could easily imagine the terror with which settlers on the frontier must behold them when on the warpath. "Buffalo Bill," who was received with ringing applause, brought up the rear. With incredible speed, at a signal from the colonel, the Indians and cowboys vanished off the course, on which the next item was an exciting race between a cowboy, a Mexican, and an Indian, the latter riding bare-backed, and all mounted on Spanish-Mexican horses. The third item consisted of a marvellous exhibition by Miss Annie Oakley (Little Sure Shot) of the prowess which has entitled her to the name. With absolute precision she loads and fires her gun at flying objects, and revolving balls, and appears to be as sure of her mark whether holding the gun with one hand or over her head backwards, with the aid of a looking-glass. The next item is drawn from an historical fact from the life of "Buffalo Bill," and represents an encounter between him and a Sioux Chief in which the latter was killed. Following this, the old method of running the pony express before the introduction of railways and the telegraph is illustrated, and gives a good idea of the extraordinary celerity with which the Western horseman change their horses when occasion requires. An exciting and realistic picture of an Indian attack on a convoy of emigrants forms the next item on the programme.