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Wild Wild West: True Stories and the Arena

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December 20, 2008 - August 23, 2009
Piper Memorial Wing

Wild Wild West is an exciting exhibit that separates the legend from reality of the pioneer lifestyle.

Real-life stories of Western heroes are presented alongside the famous legends from Wild West shows, such as William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Sitting Bull and others.Wild Wild West is an exciting exhibit that separates the legend from reality of the pioneer lifestyle. Real-life stories of Western heroes are presented alongside the famous legends from Wild West shows, such as William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Sitting Bull and others.

In addition to the Wild West lifestyle, see artifacts from the post Civil War era to the 1920s including Custer's sword from the Witte collections.

More than 100 additional objects are also on view from boots, spurs, belt buckles and saddles to American Indian artifacts, dresses, historical photos and guns. Furthermore, the exhibit includes printed history, such as rare posters from the Wild West and Broadway shows from the Witte's Hertzberg Circus Collection., handbills and pulp novels.

In late 1872 Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack brought their old friend Wild Bill Hickok to perform in 'The Scouts of the Prairie' for one season replacing Ned Buntline. Hickok's acting abilities proved to be poor at best. After less than a season Hickok returned to the west and to Deadwood Dakota Territory. In 1876, four years later, Hickok was dead; murdered at the poker table." - Bruce Shackelford

After "Buffalo Bill" made a name for himself on the battlefield, he found his niche in show business and dominated the Wild West show arena while working for Sells-Floto, the largest circus company of the time.

Curated by the Witte's Brown Foundation Curator Bruce Shackelford.

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