|The Wild West: a term that conjures up pictures
of wagon trains, unspoiled prairies, Indians, rough 'n' ready cowboys,
roundups, and buffalo herds. Where did this collection of images come
Paul Reddin explores the mythology of the
American frontier as a carefully crafted product of the Wild West show.
Focusing on such pivotal figures as George Catlin, Buffalo Bill Cody,
Tom Mix, Reddin traces the rise and fall of a popular entertainment
out of the "raw material of America."
Buffalo Bill and other entertainers capitalized
on public fascination with the danger, heroism, and courage associated
with the frontier by continually modifying their presentation of the
to suit their audiences. Thus the Wild West show, contrary to its own
of accuracy and authenticity, was highly selective in its
of the West, as well as widely influential in shaping the public image
of life on the Great Plains.
A uniquely American entertainment--colorful,
energetic, unabashed, and, as Reddin demonstrates, self-made--the Wild
West show exerted an appeal that was all but irresistible to a public
uncertainly between industrial progress and nostalgia for a
Read about this title
of the Past (Annie Oakley Joins the Buffalo
Bill Wild West Show)