Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, begun in 1883, was a classic example of American show business: a cowboy-and-Indian spectacular starring 36 real Pawnees, a bunch of rodeo cowboys, 180 horses, and 18 buffalo. Cody treated his mostly eastern audiences to thrilling displays of shooting and riding, exotic Indian ceremonial dances, and blood-curdling reenactments of famous western battles. The show, a huge success, helped perpetuate the Wild West myth for the millions who saw it; in London, even Queen Victoria was impressed. Imagining the lives of Cody's Indians, one might predict a level of exploitation. Not so, Moses argues in this historical study. He provides first-hand narratives and fascinating photos that venture behind the curtain of Cody's show to suggest that as Cody's Indians traveled the world, they preserved their cultural heritage and had a good time doing it.
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"Insightful and imaginative. . . . Moses's argument is convincing because he takes Show Indians seriously, something that previous historians have failed to do." -- Western Historical Quarterly