1900 Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, Historical Sketches and Programme.
"The true Western man is free, fearless, generous and chivalrous. Of this class Hon. Wm. F. Cody, 'Buffalo Bill,' is a bright representative. As a part of his rushing career he has brought together material for what he correctly terms a Wild West Exhibition. I should call it a Wild West Reality. The idea is not merely to take in money from those who witness a very lively exhibition, but to give the people in the East a correct representation of life on the plains, and the incidental life of the hardy, brave, intelligent pioneers, who are the first to blaze the way to the future homes and greatness of America. He knows the worth and sturdiness of true Western character, and, as a lover of his country, wishes to present as many facts as possible to the public, so that those who will can see actual pictures of life in the West, brought to the East for the inspection and education of the public.
"'Buffalo Bill' has brought the Wild West to the doors of the East. There is more of real life, of genuine interest, of positive education in this startling exhibition than I have ever before see, and it is true to nature and life as it really is with those who are smoothing the way for millions to follow. 'All of this imaginary Romeo and Juliet business sinks to utter insignificance in comparison to the drama of existence that is here so well enacted, and all the operas in the world appear like pretty playthings for emasculated children by the side of the setting of reality and the music of the frontier so faithfully and extensively presented and so cleverly managed by this incomparable representative of Western pluck, coolness, bravery, independence and generosity. I wish every person east of the Missouri River could see this true, graphic picture of wild Western life; they would know more and think better of the genuine men of the West.
"I wish there were more progressive educators like Wm. F. Cody in this world.
"He deserves well for his efforts to please and to instruct in matters important to America and incidents that are passing away never more to return."
THE PASSING OF THE COW-BOY.
Until the advent of Buffalo Bill's Wild West introduced the cow-boy to the world at large, the great majority of people had altogether wrong notions about him. This was due chiefly to the misrepresentations of the cheap romances and the erroneous articles which had appeared from time to time in Eastern magazines and periodicals, which made a sort of "half horse, half alligator" character of him, and clothed him in a garb of absurdity and misconception. That civilized life to which his calling necessarily made him largely a stranger has, since Colonel Cody coaxed him from the plains, grown to justly regard him as a singularly interesting fellow, and ordinarily a very brave, quiet and unassuming one; generous to a fault, and a fast friend under all circumstances. It does not take him long to evidence in the great Wild West arena that he possesses the qualities of courage, clear-headedness, agility and endurance, which are absolutely necessary in the business from which his title is gained. In the pursuit of that business he is called upon to undergo the most severe hardships which can fall to the lot of any man, and he is schooled to bear them with admirable and uncomplaining fortitude. Rising at three o'clock in the morning, riding
all day at top speed and taking all sorts of chances, without regard to life or limb, he has little time for tomfoolery or lawless carousing. Bad food, little sleep, constant anxiety and exhausting work soon undermine the strongest constitution, and at forty years of age, and often much sooner, rough, hard lines in his face tell the story with a plainness not to be mistaken.
Already the business of raising cattle on a large scale is slowly and surely dying out. With the coming of the small stockman the cowboy is fast disappearing, and ten years from now he will be but a memory. He was a fit and manly type of the earlier civilization of the great West, and the vigorous vanguard of the army of settlers who will soon make the far West as prosperous and potential as is the East. And as with the cowboy so is it with his immediate predecessors, the pioneer, scout, trapper, plainsman and guide, and even the Indian. One and all must soon "cross the great divide," and with them their finest representatives, whom Colonel Cody has gathered together, to amuse, instruct and astonish both the present and the rising generation. They are truly and exceptionally, historic, heroic and romantic characters. They should be seen of all men, for they are a type that shall know no more.
LT.-COL> BADEN-POWELL, THE ENGLISH ROUGH RIDER, ON THE AMERICAN SCOUT.
Scouting as a fine art had its origin in America, when the pioneer settled first upon the shores of the new country which stretched away, away, to the Westward, how far they knew not. What wonders, what dangers, what secrets were held by that unknown country by the forest primeval they likewise knew not.
They were surrounded by hostile savages, who came and went like shadows, who found their way as straight as the flight of a carrier pigeon through countless miles of trackless forest; who appeared and disappeared as quickly and completely as the elfs of the fabled fairy-lands. But the instinct of self-preservation sharpened their wits; no man sleeps soundly when danger threatens.
They learned first the secrets by which the Indian made his way from place to place, and tracked his foe for vengeance or his game for sustenance. They quickly discovered how by training and vigilance the eye became quick, the ear alert, and the touch sensitive.
A crushed blade of grass or a weed, a broken twig, a bent bough, all these things were to the Indian as they are to Sherlock Holmes, sufficient to construct a theory as to the character and numbers of those he pursued.
THE WILD WEST REVIEW
In order to create even the merest outline mind picture of the superb effects, massed fiery action and equestrian skill made gloriously manifest in the Grand Review with which the performances in Buffalo Bill's Wild West are always inaugurated, precisely 2 and 8 P.M., one must imagine a kaleidoscope, with an object field of four and a half acres in extent, occupied by a swiftly moving mass of figures, individually picturesque, brilliant with metallic reflections and gay with colors, momentarily springing and flashing into new combinations and modes of motion which dazzle, confuse and fascinate the eye of the beholder. The Indians, the Mexicans, the Arabs, the Gauchos, the Cossacks, the Cowboys, the cavalry of the different nations, and all the riders come in, one organization at a time, all riding at a dead run. After all are drawn up in line "Buffalo Bill" rides forth and introduces the Congress of the Rough Riders of the World. It is a superb and indescribable picture then - rank after rank of horsemen from all the nations stretching across the plain, shining with steel and aflame with color; tossing manes, running along the lines like wheat moving under a breeze; above them the plumes and the bright crests, and still higher, held in upstretched arms, the white flashing sabres, until at a signal the ranks melt into moving streams of color advancing, receding, reforming by fours and sixes, trailing out in single file, moving ribbons of men and horses spangled with gleaming metal, until two long lines gallop away evenly and steadily, and disappear whence they came, to be succeeded by other historic, heroic and strangely fascinating scenes.
SOUTH AMERICAN GAUCHOS AT THE "WILD WEST."
The latest addition to Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" makes the sixth delegation to the "Congress of the Rough Riders of the World," which Messrs. Cody and Salsbury have organized in order to present the different schools of horsemanship to the world.
Having seen the performances of the Cow-boy, the Indian, the Vaquero, and, lastly, of the Cossacks of the Caucasian line, our appetites are considerably whetted at the prospect of seeing how the wild life on the South American pampas contrasts with theirs.
To the student of human progress, of racial peculiarities, of national characteristics, the Gauchos are a subject of investigation as remarkable as anything modern history has to show.
The Gaucho differs in many respects from the other rough riders of the only partially civilized sections of the earth. He is the product of a peculiar scheme of existence, and of savage conditions of life, that obtain in no part of the world save on the boundless Llanos of South America.
The Gauchos are the descendants of the early Spanish colonizers of the South American wilds. The fiery Hispanian temperament, the infusion of the native Indian blood, together with the wild lonely life on the ocean-like pampas, are the conditions responsible for the production of the Gauchos.
The civilization that the Spanish colonists took with them to the Llanos gradually became subdued by the savagery of the new situation, until their descendants, the Gauchos, were as wild and ferocious as the aborigines, the Indians. They were, forsooth, compelled to adopt in no small degree the manners and customs of these latter as a means of subsistence.
Like the North American Indian, the Cow-boy, the Vaquero, the Cossack, and the Prairie Scout, now for the first time in history his companion horsemen, the Gaucho is a near approach to the mythical centaur. Like them the Gaucho spends the greater portion of his life on horseback, and is associated with the wild equines of the pampas in even a more intense degree than any of the equestrian races.
In no other part of the world has man been so completely dependent on the horse as on the South American plains. The pampas without horses would be, for the uses of man, as an ocean without ships or boats. Hence this Gaucho breed of centaur is the natural growth of peculiar surroundings.
It may be interesting to state that from their primitive mode of existence, the Gaucho makes nearly every thing connected with his "outfit," even the rude saddle, from raw-hide the lasso, the "bolas" and even his boots - which are made from the skin (taken from the knee down, and shaped to the leg and foot while warm) of a freshly killed colt, sewed at the toe, thus forming practically a leather stocking without heel or sole. They are fond of music, are good dancers, retaining in many respects the poetic traditions and tendencies of their Castilian ancestors.
Enough has been said here, however, of their peculiarities. They will prove a welcome acquisition to the "Wild West," for they, no less than the Cossacks, have a distinct role of their own to play in this truly gigantic enterprise of a "Congress of the World's Rough Riders."
The powerful, practical, patriotic influence of Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World as a mighty and masterly National Object Teacher was strikingly manifested in the suggestion, formation, and even the popular naming of the most fearless and famous single military organization in all martial annals — Teddy Roosevelt's Regiment of Rough Riders.