Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review of The Colonel and Little Missie

I ran across a mint copy of Larry McMurtry's biography of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, The Colonel and Little Missie, (2005) recently in a second hand bookshop. The guy is (of course) an expert on all things Old West and I am a sucker for that sort of thing. In large part, because my cousin played the character in Euro-Disney's version of William F. Cody's Wild West Show for many years with real Native Americans exactly like the original performances in the previous century. This is mentioned in the book as proof of how lasting is the myth of Buffalo Bill. McMurtry cleverly suggests that Cody and Oakley were, in fact, the first American superstars, pre-cinema. This makes perfect sense. True to form, they both toyed with making movies towards the end of their careers without much success though the Cowboy genre would be huge in a few years and last for another hundred. This entanglement of myth and reality was apparent in a similar bio I read about Wyatt Earp: Silent movie star cowboy, Tom Mix cried at Earp's funeral.

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