Friday, 2 August 2013

Buffalo Bill comes to Boston.

Buffalo Bill and his wild west show visited Boston on Thursday, 24th September 1903. Large crowds greeted him at Mr. Ryan's field on Sleaford Road and excursions came from all parts of the district.
Writing of the afternoon performance a representative of the Boston Guardian said there was,
".................... a blare of an unusual kind of music, the cowboy band was playing 'The Star-spangled Banner,' the very name of which, apart from the music, marked the Americanism of the show. Then came the Grand Review in which Buffalo Bill introduced his Rough Riders of the World. To a lively fanfare and a roll of the drums there galloped in, dashed round and filed up between 150 and 200 riders, each mounted on a splendid steed. First and foremost came the Indians and then followed in turn the wild looking Russian Cossacks, the South American Gauchos, the Mexicans, the Cowboys, United States Cavalrymen and British Cavalrymen.

All this to the accompaniment of guttural cries from the Indians, shrill calls from the Mexicans, ooo-ees from the cowboys and yells from the whole company varied with cheers from the public around the arena. What a medley of sounds there was. And then, when the company had assembled in the square along three sides of which the sightseers sat, came the renowned Buffalo hunter, scout, guide and showman Buffalo Bill, on a magnificent charger, bowing, hat in hand, and smiling with stately courtesy, acknowledging the enthusiastic plaudits of the thousands of spectators, mingled as they were with the wild cries of his wonderful company."
Other features of the show included a demonstration of muzzle loading methods, a prairie emigrant train crossing the plains and then came an attack by marauding Indians who were repulsed by cowboys.
Colonel Cody himself now became the centre of attention. Riding in, he was accompanied by an attendant who through up glass balls, which were nearly all brought down by the veteran with unerring aim, while his steed went full speed around the enclosure.
There then followed The Pony Express, the rescuing of the shipwrecked by a U.S. Life Saving Corps., Cossack horsemanship, Johnny Baker giving a display of firearms skills, a group of Mexicans on the use of the lasso, the mounting and riding of the bucking broncos, Indian tribal war dancing, Arab horsemanship, attacks on a mail coach and a settlers cabin by Indians, military exercises by English and U.S. cavalry and a mock-up of the Battle of San Juan Hill. They closed with a salute by the entire cast and in a few minutes the immense crowd of spectators were on the roadway for home, only to meet the fringe of another crowd en route for the evening performance.
There were crowds in the vicinity of the showground, along the roadway to the station, and in the vicinity of the goods station to see the departure of the big show. In an incredibly short space of time the "tents" were struck and the showground deserted. Heavy rumbling waggons and a long line of riders were seen passing through the streets, and soon four trains passed out into the dark, and Buffalo Bill continued his great tour.

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