The discussion about Categories of Reenactors got me to thinking about the Wild West shows and their costumes. Would they be period correct ?....heck, they were reenacting the period during the period... or would they have evolved into fanciful recreations of what might have been....after all Bill Cody was reenacting from 1872 until he died in 1917. One thing for sure the visuals Cody provided influenced everyone...including Arizona Charlie Meadows.
excerpt:Buffalo Bill Museum
Buffalo Bill’s show business career began on December 17, 1872 in Chicago; he was age twenty-six. "The Scouts of the Prairie" was a drama created by dime novelist Ned Buntline, who appeared in it with Cody and another well-known scout, "Texas Jack" Omohundro. The show was a success, despite one critic’s characterization of Cody as "a good-looking fellow, tall and straight as an arrow, but ridiculous as an actor." Other critics noted Cody’s manner of charming the audience and the realism he brought to his performance. Actor or not, Buffalo Bill was a showman
The following season Cody organized his own troupe, the Buffalo Bill Combination. The troupe’ show "Scouts of the Plains" included Buffalo Bill, Texas Jack, and Cody’s old friend "Wild Bill" Hickok. Wild Bill and Texas Jack eventually left the show, but Cody continued staging a variety of plays until 1882. That year the Wild West show was conceived. It was an outdoor spectacle, designed to both educate and entertain….
"Buffalo Bill’s Wild West" used real cow-boys and cow-girls, recruited from ranches in the West. At first, few people shared Cody's admiration of the cow-boys. Most people regarded them as coarse cattle drivers and used the term "cow-boy" as an insult. By the end of the 19th century, the cow-boy became the much more popular "cowboy," thanks in large part to the Buffalo Bill Wild West shows.