The Show 

The show took place twice daily, commencing at two o’clock in the afternoon and eight in the evening, every day except Sunday.

Retrospective newspaper features are sometimes encountered, proceeding on the assumption that Annie Oakley was with the version of the show which toured Scotland in 1904. This is incorrect, as Annie had left the company for good in 1902.

By way of compensation, the cosmopolitan ‘Congress of Rough Riders’ now included Mexican vaqueros, Gauchos, ‘Cossacks’ (actually ethnic Georgians), a troupe of Imperial Japanese Cavalry, Bedouin and Riffian Arabs, Royal English Lancers and Cuban patriots, among several other attractions.

A fairly clear idea of the twenty-three items on the programme is provided by this standard newspaper advert.

A lot of additions and changes to the programme had taken place since 1891-92, but Wild West fans were not to be disappointed. The old familiar features - the Indian attacks on the Deadwood Stage, the wagon train and a settler’s cabin - remained as integral parts of the entertainment. This image (right) shows how the infamous Custer battle of 1876 was represented in a newspaper advert for the show.
However, one of the acts which was entirely new to Scotland and acclaimed as one of the absolute highlights wherever the show appeared, was Carter, the Cowboy Cyclist. The intrepid Mr Carter would ride his bike at speed down a steep ramp, make a leap through space and then ride down the incline on the other side to safety. Well, nine times out of ten anyway!

Carter’s flight was a short-lived feature of the show. The most likely explanation for its disappearance from the programme is that the stunt was every bit as dangerous as it looked and injuries to the cyclist were a common occurrence.

In this expanded version of the show, which was greatly influenced by Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, there was a smaller tent containing side shows such as performing animals, sword swallowers, and human curiosities including giants, midgets and other ‘freaks’. This exhibition remained open throughout the day and the cost of admission was 6d. Among the foremost attractions was ‘Princess Nouma-Hawa’, who was billed over several consecutive years as being twenty-one years of age and twenty-one inches tall. She is depicted here in a popular contemporary postcard. The privilege of shaking her tiny hand could be purchased for the further sum of 1d.


Next

Home

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Scotland