The Wild West Comes to Town 

The venues selected were centres of population served by effective rail links. These were indispensable, as the vast entourage of 800 performers and 500 horses travelled in three special trains and the railway lines also brought visitors to the show in large numbers from outlying areas. Flamboyant posters were ubiquitously pasted on walls in advance of the day of the show, generating a palpable sense of excitement wherever they appeared.

A typical poster advertising special rail excursions to the show has been preserved in the collections of South Lanarkshire Council.

On the day of arrival at a new venue, the trains arrived in the early hours of the morning at a local goods yard. Crowds of local people invariably gathered in anticipation of their coming. All the equipment was swiftly and efficiently unloaded and transported in wagons to the show ground. The performers mounted up and rode along in seemingly endless cavalcade.

Canton, Cardiff (Wales) in 1903

Actual costume parades however were few and far between in 1904, if indeed any took place at all. The above photograph is understood to have been taken at Canton, Cardiff, during the 1903 season. Similar images exist which show a street parade in Birmingham during the same year.

On arrival at the showground, the canvas city, consisting of the vast arena, stables, sleeping quarters, dining marquee, refreshment tents for the spectators, the ever-popular Indian village and all the other associated temporary structures, would spring up over an area of several acres with a speed which never failed to astonish the local people.



Buffalo Billís Wild West in Scotland