Title: Serious Shooting Accident at The Wild West

Date: May 3, 1888

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An accident of a very serious nature occurred late on Tuesday night, to Antonio Esquivel, the champion rough rider of Mexico. It appears that, on the conclusion of the evening performance at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, as the cowboys and Mexican vacqueros were riding off the ground together, one of the former, named Jim Kidd, [1] accidentally discharged his revolver full in the face of Esquivel, and so near that the wadding of the blank charge made a severe wound on the side of the Mexican's forehead, the powder at the same time entering his eyes and injuring them most terribly. Esquivel was carried to his tent in the camp, where a doctor attended him, and at once ordered his removal to St. Thomas's Hospital. On a closer and more careful inspection of his injuries it transpired that they were of a much more serious nature than was supposed at first. The medical report states that the celebrated rider will lose the sight of the right eye entirely, and great care and skill will be required to save the other. The affair was purely accidental, and the unintentional perpetrator of it is completely down with regret for the painful calamity he has brought upon his friend. Esquivel is one of the most popular men in the camp among both white men and Indians, so that the sad event has cast an usual gloom over the little community. His splendid feats of horsemanship and his indomitable courage under the most trying circumstances had made him an immense favourite with the audiences at the Wild West, and his loss to the show will be a very serious one indeed. It is only some four or five weeks since he narrowly escaped death at the heels of one of the most vicious of the buck-jumping horses, which dragged him for a considerable distance round the arena, one of his feet in the stirrup all the while. There is a touch of singularly hard luck for the proprietors of the Wild West, in the fact that two of their smartest and best hands are in hospital just now; Buck Taylor at the West London with a fractured thigh, and Antonio Esquivel at St. Thomas's with eyesight ruined for life. Meantime Esquivel's place in the daily programme is filled by another vacquero named Fedro, [2] who performs his difficult task with great skill and dexterity.

Note 1: James G. "Kid" Willoughby (1857-1916), a cowboy with Buffalo Bill's Wild West during 1885 through 1889. [back]

Note 2: "Fedro" is likely Pedro Esquivel who is listed as an American Cowboy and head gaucho in Buffalo Bill's Wild West and may have performed with the exhibition from 1886 to 1896. [back]

Title: Serious Shooting Accident at The Wild West

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3679.24.01 (Stroebel scrapbook)

Date: May 3, 1888

Topic: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Accidents American Indians Cowboys Firearms Horses Horsemanship Mexicans St. Thomas's Hospital (London, England) Wounds and injuries

People: Taylor, William Levi, 1857-1924

Place: Brompton (London, England)

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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