Found: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Pictures (from Duluth?)

I found a group of photos I believe show Buffalo Bill Cody in a procession on Duluth’s famous carriage path. Then there are a few photos of the show itself with a lot of people, including many American Indians highly adorned, milling around a circle. If you look closely you see white people sitting on chairs.

Are these all related to Cody’s time in Duluth?



about 2 months ago

Sorry, just not seeing any continuity here that shows a Duluth connection in this case. That coaching party image is likely from a widely-circulated postcard.

Paul Lundgren

about 2 months ago

I'd be interested to know more about where the photos were found and if they were all together and labeled as being from Duluth.

The postcard image, as previously mentioned, is likely not related to the other images at all. Coaching parties on Skyline Parkway aka Boulevard Drive were a common thing in those days.

There doesn't seem to be anything in the photos that positively connects them to Duluth, or completely rules out that they might have been shot in Duluth.


about 2 months ago

I am also interested in the context of this group of photos. What is the source and is there any context with the photos? I agree with the previous post in that there isn’t enough here to confirm or rule out your theory. A few random observations that may or may not be of interest:

The first couple photos depicting a procession of elderly white dudes with drums and flags remind me of photos I have seen of Civil War veteran parades. These celebrations were common in small town throughout the United States ca. 1880-1920, and sometimes took place during annual community celebrations or 4th of July parades. A few of the men look to have medals or commemorative ribbons affixed to their jackets. These photos could depict a veterans parade in Duluth, or any other U.S. location. 

The photos depicting Native American dancers in full regalia dancing around center pole are interesting. There appears to be regalia that could indicate the presence of several tribal groups. Some of the beaded designs on the guantlets and bandolier bags appear to be Ojibwe floral patterns; an elder, or someone more versed than me, might be able to place them more specifically. That said, in the second photo, there is breach/legging beading that is more geometric in design and likely associated with Plains tribes. The dancers look to be engaged in a round dance around the central pole. The presence of multiple tribal groups is interesting, and might suggest something other than a community pow wow/celebration, presuming this photo dates from the 1880-1920 era. Looking around a bit, it sounds like Wild Bill’s shows had staged dance performances, but the presence of white folks watching on the sidelines does not necessarily indicate a staged “Wild West” performance. I have seen photos of Ojibwe dancers in procession at small community celebrations in northeastern Minnesota from the same time period. Bois Forte pow wow at Tower 4th of July celebrations and Grand Portage folks participating in community celebrations/parades in Grand Marias. There are photos of Ojibwe gatherings/dances out on Park Point with white folks on the sidelines watching from the 1890s.

I would be really curious about any contextual or source information that came along with the photos.

Bosco J. Seitzer

about 2 months ago

Hey guys thanks for your thoughtful comments.

A. I do not know that these four pics are of the same event, in the same location, or if it is indeed Duluth or if it is the famous Bill Cody.

I have seen the image of Bill leading the march across the bridge recently at an auction, I added a picture of the original I discussed with some friends (there was a handwritten note on back; "Decimation Day" -- my guess is maybe there was a reenactment of the 1862 Dakota conflict).

There are a handful of videos of his Wild West Shows on YouTube and you can see its not what we are used to thinking. When he would parade into town everyone especially kids would line up and follow, paid attendees would definitely be sitting around, up-close observing and even participating in the show. 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. 1898, 1902, 1910

I thought that maybe someone would recognize the photo and provide more context.

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