The American West currently, has created a particular adventurous wild picture of wild animals, cowboys, Indians, stagecoach ambushes and outlaws. The actual American west of that era was not as glamorous as usually exhibited. Army scouts, Native American Indians, outlaws as well as wild animals actually lived during that time in the West. Stage fights, savage battles, gunfights, and train holdups which are depicted as ordeal phenomenon during that time were not usual and daily nightmares. As currently seen, the dramatic Wild West myth is actually a puffed-up overstatement of the actual western frontier.
The whole picture of the western life myth was put into factual creation by use of sculptures, paintings, pulp magazines, dime-novels, live performances television and films. William Frederick, usually acknowledged as Buffalo Bill, has been over the years credited for assisting in creating and conserving a long lasting West legend. His Wild West show assumed the actuality of the western life as well as glamorizing it to make appealing show for audiences from the eastern side (Mckanna, 1995). This made permanent preservation for the Wild West legend.
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The Actual Wild West When one is thinking of the American west, the pictures that draws to his mind are those of outlaws and policemen engaging in battles on the dusty back streets, cowboys in open ranges leading cattle as well as those of buffalo herds being chased by Indian hunters on horseback. Such kin of images are usually common in movies, books throughout America. But as much as they are not fictionalized, they also don’t exhibit the real American West which was much far less dramatic than depicted in these pictures (Michael, 1992).
Just like a principiante which is first exposed to the society, the west was actually unrecognized place. The west was advocating for its labeling as well as being modified into the dramatic pictures that were usually shown when people thought of the west. The west became an answer to many people who were asking for a promising better and fresh life in the 1800’s. This promise was normally inspired by the open space of the area, as it became an open zone for new starts as well as imaginations. Individuals flocking the area as well as some fortunate settlers found the place quite promising for a better life.
They became the people who made the west myth to become a reality. But for others this promise did not come as they expected. The life here appeared to be tougher and harsher hence to them the truth of the west was rougher. A promise for the individuals struggling in the suburban, rural areas, eastern zone became a promising notion. This gave this people the hope and some life guarantee that the hardships they were experiencing were not going to last forever. The Wild West development shows acted as an approach of conserving the open promise without the failure which it usually shown in actuality.
These shows were taking the actual West and then glamorizing it for the audiences in the eastern side in order to provide them with an exciting appeal. The people who were involved in these show employed the western life to indicate an over exaggerated yet appealing picture that the audience in the eastern side were expecting and would be intrigued by. The shows became union of actual life in the west and some theater work which was engineered by the show designers who made them authentic and entertaining and at the same time enhancing the truth regarding the American west.
The shows proved t be reality and expressed the romance expected as well as adventure. Reality vs. Myth The Wild West, apart from giving the eastern people some promise, were acknowledged by the frontier lobby for becoming the most significant achievement in the history of America. They emerged as winning ideas in patriotism, history of the country as well as adventure that helped to manage and create some lasting spirit of the undiscovered west. In addition to this, the Wild West helped to capture the hearts on many audiences in America as well as Europe (Stephen, 1992).
To manage this popularity, the shows, in addition to being just shows had other actions encompassed in the shows. These included; theatrical reenactments, trick performances, Wild animals and all kinds of funny actors from the frontier which had all included in the adventurous program. Some of the theatrical reenactments were battle scenes, characteristic western scenes as well as hunt scenes. Also in the exhibitions were the shooting and extensive shooting shows that were displayed together with the trick shots.
The audience was most exhilarated and stimulated by the competitions which came animals and people’s races. Other exciting occasions included rodeo shows that included rough as well as dangerous acts which were acted by cowboys who used several animals. The shows started to encompass all modes of western actions which had any sort of appeal to the people who attended the shows. The Wild West shows’ origination was from the interest indicated by the eastern side of the wild and rough western frontier. Since by that time the actual west was not known, the audience of the shows started to believe in anything presented.
This east audience began to be enthralled by the west thus making the Wild West shows the answer to famous demands. The shows conserved the disappearing, unsettled and untamed world of the west as well as brought the audience some livelihood. Growth of the Wild West Shows According to Binnema (2002), Buffalo Bill was the first person to perform in the Wild West shows in Europe as well as in the United States of America. Buffalo’s shows were done in 1883 and went up until 1913. The shows were used to popularize several performers and personalities as well as romanticizing the American Old West version from the west.
Buffalo got the idea of the Wild West Show in 1883 after launching his first show in Omaha, Nebraska. He was later recognized as the greatest showman by then with full dominance of the Wild West show business. Buffalo’s motive was to help conserve the western way of living which he was brought up in and had great passion for. He turned the actual adventure of life into the first as well as the biggest outdoor show of the western America. He was acknowledged for being the first actual westerner to promote the western myth that had only been red in literature and novels or watched in plays.
Bill also helped to create as well as establishing the content and format of the Wild West shows. Although Buffalo Bill was acknowledged as the individual who started the Wild West shows in America, several people did contribute to its success. These included, Indians, military, scouts, Mexicans, cowboys as well as several other men from other heritages. Wild Bill Hickock, usually known as gunfighter, a dime novel hero and a marshal made big contributions to the success of the show also. He was famous to his audience for his act of genuine scout and dime novels (Faragher& Vine, 2001).
As time went on, other Wild West shows were organized with dozens of the shows following shortly after the first one. Several people with flamboyant names in the entertainment industry such as Pawnee Bill, Mexican Joe, Buckskin Joe as well as Dr. W. F Carver started to run the occasions. Women such as Kemp sisters and Luella Forepaugh also made contribution in this shows. However with all these, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show emerged as the most famous and the first show as well as the most successful Wild West show. Popularity
The extreme of the West Wild shows was at the turn of 20th century. The shows had attracted over 10 million fans as the audience who had attended the shows making a profit of about $ 100,000 in the first two years. The main reason for this popularity was that the easterners were very much enticed by the shows. They were willing and eager to have full enjoyment of the thrill as well as the danger of the west, thus the shows acted as an approach of making the west live a reality without involving the consequences as well as the risks associated with the actual west.
Through the Wild West shows, the people had their cravings for adventure satisfied. West shows took about 3 to 4 hours with large attraction of eastern audience. Most of the shows began with a horseback parade that was a main ordeal involving big crowds and several performers like the Congress of Rough Riders which was made up of marksman from several parts of the globe as well as the America’s future head of state, Theodore Roosevelt. He used to match the parade on horse back. Conclusion
Kasson (2000) claims that the Wild West shows made some significant picture in the history of America especially the American West. Although Buffalo Bill had played some major roles in representation of the west that is being seen today, so many other people and actors ass well as the influence of the easterners made the shows to be so successful. The shows of the Wild West come out as exaggeration of the actual American West that made it more appealing. It has helped informing the western myth that is currently usually mistaken with the actual American West.
Some of the events commemorated by these shows include the unique attributes, the settlers as well as the features of that era. The history of the frontier faction and the appealing pictures of the spirit of the Wild West are some of the legendary items left behind by the Wild West. References Binnema, T. (2002). Common and Contested ground. Cambridge: Harvard University press. Faragher, M. J. , & Vine, R. (2001). Why the west was Wild, retrieved on14 May 2009 from <http://www. americaslibrary. gov/cgi-bin/page.
cgi/aa/entertain/cody/show_1 Kasson, J. S. (2000). Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. New York: Hill and Wang. Mckanna, C. V. , Jr. (1995) Alcohol, handguns and homicide in the American west. Western historical quarterly 26, 4(winter): 455-482, retrieved on 14 July 2009 from http://www. jstor. org/stable/970849 Michael, M. A. (1992). New territory versus no territory. Western Historical Quarterly 23, 1 (February): 25-51. Stephen, A. (1992). Pioneers and profiteers. Western Historical Quarterly 23, 2 (May)179- 98.
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