A Journey Back Into the Days of the Wild Wild West

By February 25, 2009 In the News No Comments
Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

Annie Oakley     Credits: Ca. second half of the 1880’s poster for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

The sun is settin’ in the distant western horizon. I climb down from my horse and brush the trail dust from my rawhide coat and boots. As I take a step, I feel the kink in my legs from settin’ atop my horse a might too long. So I stand for a spell and look off into the red gold sunset to watch the light fade slowly into the night.

My horse neighs to bring my attention back his way. Good ole Shannon has been with me for many years. He is a bit weary after ridin’ the trail for a week. I went to see Miss Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody at their latest Wild West show. It was a tiresome trip for ole Shannon and me but it was worth it to see my old friends ridin’ and shootin’ again. We haven’t ridden together in over three years. Reckon I feel content now.

The dusty trail clothes that I’m wearin’ now don’t make no comparison to the spiffy suits Annie and Bill wore for the show. No sir ree. I even got dressed up fancy to sit in the audience. My clothes were pretty enough for sparkin at a Saturday night hoe down.

I dressed to imitate the lovely Annie for my trail clothes are rugged and shabby. I really wanted to impress my old friends. You should’ve seen their eyes nearly bug out when they caught sight of old Calamity Jane wearin’ such fine leather. The pants and jacket were the same style that Annie often wore for ridin’. The leather of the coat and skirt is soft and moves with the body. This is real important if you want to keep your lady-like image. For me, I felt more like a queen than a frontier woman.

Thinkin’ about all this brings back memories of my travels as a wild western scout trackin’ outlaws and Indians. I carry my gun and I’m a great sharp shooter but I never cherish the idea of havin’ to use it to harm a soul. I’ve spent many hours of my life nursin’ folks back to health and sendin’ some of them on the way to their Maker. Small pox epidemics were the worse.

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane  Credits: Picture taken in 1895 by H.R.Locke

I miss my old friend Wild Bill Hickok. We covered many miles together across the Great Plains during the Indian uprisings. Wild Bill’s taste for gamblin’ and my gold fever got in the way of common sense. It was that day in Deadwood that sticks hardest in my mind. Wild Bill was gunned down in the back while gamblin’. I pined the rest of my days ever since for my friend.

Wild Bill Hickok knew how to dress up. Indeed. I gaze upon his portrait often. I carry it in my pocket to keep Wild Bill close to me. Ah, the memories. Take a look at my favorite picture of him.

Wild Bill Hickok

   Wild Bill Hickok     Credits: c 1873-1874    ( in collection of Joseph G. Rosa, biographer)

Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill and I rode together in the Wild West shows, after my travelin’ days. Theater was the excitement in those days. I loved the clothes we wore to show off for the crowds. Annie Oakley turned many heads in her buckskin dresses!

Buffalo Bill Cody

Buffalo Bill Cody    Credits: 1903    http://www.americaslibrary.gov

Well, the night chill is creepin’ into these agin’ tired bones. I’m fixin’ to build a fire after I bed down ole Shannon. I’ll gaze at the moon into the night and cherish the memories of those wild west days. Reckon I’ll smoke one of my favorite cigars in memory of Wild Bill. See you all somewhere down the trail.

Guess it’s time to end this story-telling session. I hope you young folks enjoyed the history lesson. I know this is a Renaissance Faire but the west plays such an important part of American history, I couldn’t resist sharing the wild west with you all. Now I have to put on my Pirate Queen outfit and get back to work.  This renaissance festival just got started!

Oh, one more bit for the history lesson.  Do you have any idea about the type of clothes western scouts actually wore?