On this Day 30th May 1904

Penzance meets Buffalo Bill

The Cornishman of 2 June 1904 welcomed the hero of the prairies, Buffalo Bill Cody, with a greeting in verse by none other than the editor himself, Mr Herbert Thomas.

From the far Wild West to the Western Wilds

You come like a freshening breeze;

Cowboys and Cossacks and Indian braves,

From the wide plains over the seas;

And towering above you, as towers a hill,

The King of Rough Riders – Buffalo Bill.


The Wild West Show had arrived on two trains on Sunday May 29th, their disembarkation proved a show in itself and the parade of rough riders, Indians and Cossacks up Market Jew was a major attraction. It sounds a fairly cosmopolitan affair with cowboys, Mexicans, Indians, Japanese and Cossacks all arriving at Long Rock at about 5.30am.

The afternoon saw a party of “Indians” take a GWR motor ride to Land's End where they were photographed pointing to the west, in the direction of their home.

Native Americans from Buffalo Bill's Wild West at Lands End

Native Americans from Buffalo Bill's Wild West at Lands End

The big day was Monday 30th May when “all Penzance and his wife” turned up to see the Wild West Show in all it's glory at the Recreation Ground. Most popular was the evening performance when there was a “larger crowd gathered together under cover in one place than was ever seen in Penzance before.” The displays of marksmanship and horse riding skills put the achievements of the previous year's pedestrian racers [see June 9th] firmly in the shade.

But it was Buffalo Bill they'd all come to see. “This hero of a thousand tales, the man of iron nerve, dauntless courage, and unfaltering spirit, that son of the prairie, that marvellous scout and warrior.” Though in an interview the great man professed himself surprised to be making a living as a showman and described how, back home in Nebraska, he was building a new community in a valley of three million acres irrigated by mountain streams. “At heart I am a pioneer”, he said, as he set off to take tea with Lady St Levan on St Michael's Mount.



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Penwith Local History Group
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Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

Edited by
Sally Corbet

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