Despite the cartoonish nature of the stage show, "Buffalo" Bill Cody was actually a strong supporter of Native American rights.
Poster courtesy Library of Congress

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    On May 9, 1887, “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” opened in London, England. The show, developed by former Army scout “Buffalo” Bill Cody, was a circus-like extravaganza depicting an exciting, romantic fable of life in America’s “Wild West.” 
    "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West" had already enjoyed years of success touring venues across the United States. The show featured Pony Express relay races, sharpshooting, Native Americans in costume, and cowboys performing rope tricks and daredevil horseback riding. The most extravagant and popular parts of the show were elaborately choreographed fights and staged attacks by Native Americans on forts or settlers’ cabins. Some of the celebrities who participated in "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West" include sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Lakota leader Sitting Bull, and frontierswoman Calamity Jane.
    "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West" was wildly popular. Queen Victoria herself attended two performances, and the show traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. In fact, the show eventually included “rough riders” from all over the world. Costumed Mongolians, gauchos, Arabs, vaqueros, and Cossacks joined American cowboys in demonstrating their equestrian skill.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bison Noun

    large mammal native to North America. Also called American buffalo.

    choreograph Verb

    to plan and direct the movements of a dance.

    Cossack Noun

    people and culture native to western Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.

    cowboy Noun

    person who herds cattle on a ranch, usually on a horse.

    elaborate Adjective

    complex and detailed.

    equestrian Adjective

    having to do with horses.

    extravagant Adjective

    outrageous or unreasonable.

    extravaganza Noun

    lavish production, often humorous or whimsical, with elaborate costumes and staging.

    fable Noun

    traditional short story that usually has a moral lesson.

    foe Noun

    enemy or antagonist.

    fort Noun

    military outpost, area, or set of buildings.

    frontier Noun

    largely unpopulated area that is slowly being opened up for settlement.

    gaucho Noun

    South American cowboy.

    Lakota Noun

    people and culture of seven Sioux tribes native to the Great Plains.

    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    pioneer Noun

    person who is among the first to do something.

    Pony Express Noun

    (1860-1861) mail route between Missouri and California.

    relay adjective, noun

    type of team racing where athletes compete in sequence. Also called a relay race.

    soldier Noun

    person who serves in a military.

    vaquero Noun

    Latin American cowboy.

    venue Noun

    location of an event.

    Wild West Noun

    (1850-1900) western part of the United States, before and during the establishment of stable government.