Our previous story regarding Buffalo Bill's Wild West covered the life of William Cody as well as his great success with The Wild West performances both in America and in Europe. The interesting photo belowis of Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill taken in 1895.
mining town of Virginia City Nevada during the boom days. Historians maintain that it was in Virginia City that Clemens invented Mark Twain. To take a quote from Twain's 1884 letter " I have seen your Wild West show two days in succession, and have enjoyed it thoroughly". Mark Twain was a major promoter of the Buffalo Bill Show. Unfortunately P.T. Barnum, another world renown showman, never received this kind of endorsement from Mark Twain.
The Wild West shows did exceedingly well in all European cities visited. The shows appearing in England however had much more of a symbolic meaning. The Wild West show's 1887 opening and successes in England opened the doors to the rest of the European continent including a very successful tour of Italy. How Cody's show was received in England foretold how alluring the American frontier was to the entire continent as well as England. The fascinating story of America's wild west offered both promise and danger for Queen Victoria's England. The picture below left is of Queen Victoria in 1897, ten years after Buffalo Bill's Wild West appeared in England.
It probably wasn't by sheer accident that The Wild West opened in England during the Golden Jubilee, the celebration of Queen Victoria's 50 years on the throne.Not only was the Golden Jubilee going on but there was also the American Exhibition which displayed paintings and American manufactured products with the intent of luring British investment. The American Exhibition was surely planned to coincide with the Golden Jubilee and there's little question that The Wild West was scheduled to coincide with both large events.
When The Wild West cast landed in England they immediately began rehearsals. The Prince of Wales and other dignitaries attended a performance prior to the official opening and Queen Victoria had her own private performance. The Queen ended up attending twice. One thing the Queen's appearance did was counter any criticism out there that The Wild West was anything but a first rate show. Several interesting things happened during The Wild West tour of England.
With the Queen in attendance, a horse rider came waving the American flag at which point the Queen made a bow. It was a big first. It was the first time since the Declaration of Independence that a British sovereign saluted the star spangled banner. In part, because of the official royal acceptance of The Wild West, Buffalo Bill Cody's performances were hugely successful for years in Great Britain.
The reception accorded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in England paved the way for future tours throughout Europe. The enthusiastic acceptance from Britain's royals set a precedent that would be followed by monarchs throughout the continent. Buffalo Bill himself was every bit a part of the exhibition. The British who had followed William Cody through books for two decades could now see the living legend with their very eyes. This kind of legendary aura was something that P.T. Barnum with all his show business success could never duplicate.
Here are some interesting places to visit in connection with Buffalo Bills Wild West.
Wild West Living Museum Just Outside Yellowstone Park
Buffalo Bill Historical Center Cody Wyoming
More On Buffalo Bill's Wild West