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Back in 1891-92, Glasgow was the sole Scottish venue but when it made a welcome return as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West & Congress of Rough Riders of the World in 1904, there was a total of twenty-nine consecutive Scottish venues, commencing with Hawick on Tuesday, 26th July.
A typical poster advertising special rail excursions to the show has been preserved in the collections of South Lanarkshire Council.
Glasgow (Monday, 1st August - Saturday, 6th) and Edinburgh (Monday, 8th August - Saturday, 13th) both received visits of one week, to such success and public acclaim, that, without doubt, particularly regarding the former, Buffalo Bill had good cause to regret that more time could not have been spent there.
Please express through your journal to the citizens of Glasgow my heartiest thanks for and profound appreciation of the magnificent support they gave us during the week. Glasgow has beaten all records for attendances on this side of the Atlantic, and comes second to the Chicago World’s Fair record in 1893. You may take it from this that I am more than satisfied. I expected much from Glasgow, but not so much.
- Colonel W. F. Cody, quoted in the Daily Record and Mail, 8th August 1904
At Glasgow especially the crowds were large. So large that they have been exceeded only by those of Chicago. So Buffalo Bill looks to Glasgow with respect, and Glasgow remembers him as the man who provided the largest and most realistic entertainment that ever visited the city.
- Manitoba Free Press, 1st October 1904
Buffalo Bill’s appearances at Dunfermline’s Race Park on Tuesday, 16th August provided the inspiration for two songs on local folk singer John Watt’s Heroes album.
The People’s Journal, 20th August 1904
A number of photographs taken in Dundee were utilised to create picture postcards and issued to help publicise the 1905 tour of France. These apparently include the following examples:
Arbroath, Forfar, Montrose...
Three days were devoted to Aberdeen, from Thursday, 25th to Saturday, 27th. As with Glasgow, the granite city likewise left a favourable impression on Buffalo Bill:
To the EDITOR of the “FREE PRESS”
Replying to your enquiry, permit me to say to the good people of Aberdeen and vicinity that the warmth of their reception to me personally and to the Wild West as an exhibition has been such that it will never be forgotten. Your city is one of the most beautiful as well as substantial in appearance I have ever visited, and when I am once more in my home at the Rocky Mountains I shall look back with pleasant memories to my pleasant visit to your city, and to the kindly treatment of its press and people.- Yours truly,
W. F. Cody,
- Aberdeen Free Press, 27th August 1904
At Fraserburgh, at least four photographs of Buffalo Bill and his Indians were taken by a enterprising photographer, who advertised prints for sale as souvenirs in the local press:
Fraserburgh Herald, 6th September 1904
A representative contemporary newspaper article described the show at Elgin thus.
On Saturday, 3rd September 1904, the second of a two-day stand at Inverness, the shoreline theme was invoked once again, when ‘Chief Iron Tail’ and ‘Sub-Chief Philip Blue Shield’ were sent to John O’Groats, for the purpose of having publicity shots taken there. They travelled in the charge of Frank Small, one of Buffalo Bill’s press agents, who on this occasion acted as photographer. The reasoning was that since the Indians had been photographed at Land’s End, the south-western tip of Great Britain, it made good sense to complete the set by repeating the exercise at the north-eastern extremity as well.
This image, reproduced in The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16th September 1904, is not otherwise known.
Perth, Stirling, Paisley, Greenock, Saltcoats, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Stranraer...
At Dumfries, Buffalo Bill’s last ever Scottish venue, photographs were taken of Wild West personnel in company with local dignitaries on a visit to the Robert Burns mausoleum on Wednesday, 14th September 1904.