Last of the Great Scouts HTML version
Tour Of Great Britain
IT was not until the spring of 1883 that Will was able to put into execution his long-
cherished plan--to present to the public an exhibition which should delineate in throbbing
and realistic color, not only the wild life of America, but the actual history of the West, as
it was lived for, fought for, died for, by Indians, pioneers, and soldiers.
The wigwam village; the Indian war-dance; the chant to the Great Spirit as it was sung
over the plains; the rise and fall of the famous tribes; the "Forward, march!" of soldiers,
and the building of frontier posts; the life of scouts and trappers; the hunt of the buffalo;
the coming of the first settlers; their slow, perilous progress in the prairie schooners over
the vast and desolate plains; the period of the Deadwood stage and the Pony Express; the
making of homes in the face of fire and Indian massacre; United States cavalry on the
firing-line, "Death to the Sioux!"--these are the great historic pictures of the Wild West,
stirring, genuine, heroic.
It was a magnificent plan on a magnificent scale, and it achieved instant success. The
adventurous phases of Western life never fail to quicken the pulse of the East.
An exhibition which embodied so much of the historic and picturesque, which
resurrected a whole half-century of dead and dying events, events the most thrilling and
dramatic in American history, naturally stirred up the interest of the entire country. The
actors, too, were historic characters--no weakling imitators, but men of sand and grit,
who had lived every inch of the life they pictured.
The first presentation was given in May, 1883, at Omaha, Nebraska, the state Will had
chosen for his home. Since then it has visited nearly every large city on the civilized
globe, and has been viewed by countless thousands--men, women, and children of every
nationality. It will long hold a place in history.
The "grand entrance" alone has never failed to chain the interest of the onlooker. The
furious galloping of the Indian braves-- Sioux, Arapahoe, Brule, and Cheyenne, all in war
paint and feathers; the free dash of the Mexicans and cowboys, as they follow the Indians
into line at break-neck speed; the black-bearded Cossacks of the Czar's light cavalry; the
Riffian Arabs on their desert thoroughbreds; a cohort from the "Queen's Own" Lancers;
troopers from the German Emperor's bodyguard; chasseurs and cuirassiers from the crack
cavalry regiments of European standing armies; detachments from the United States
cavalry and artillery; South American gauchos; Cuban veterans; Porto Ricans;
Hawaiians; again frontiersmen, rough riders, Texas rangers--all plunging with dash and
spirit into the open, each company followed by its chieftain and its flag; forming into a
solid square, tremulous with color; then a quicker note to the music; the galloping hoofs
of another horse, the finest of them all, and "Buffalo Bill," riding with the wonderful ease
and stately grace which only he who is "born to the saddle" can ever attain, enters under
the flash of the lime-light, and sweeping off his sombrero, holds his head high, and with a
ring of pride in his voice, advances before his great audience and exclaims: