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  • Matthew Kerns

Broadside

This broadside advertising the appearance of Texas Jack, who appeared with Buffalo Bill Cody,Wild Bill Hickok, and the Peerless Morlacchi in The Scouts of the Plains, was for weekend appearances in Keokuk, Iowa, in 1874. Because these broadsides were printed on paper and hung outdoors to advertise for shows, they are now exceedingly rare and highly collectible.

Most likely, broadsides for these shows were designed with each of the principal actors featured. Most often, advertising featured all members of the cast:

Their earliest advertising featured dual artistic renderings of the pair, and were often posted side by side in cities and towns along their show's route. These posters were from the collection of Mrs. Snell of North Platte, Nebraska, who knew both of the famous scouts well before they became household names and full fledged stars.



When Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill went their separate ways, each creating his own dramatic combination, the imagery they used was similar, which makes sense as theirs shows remained similar and they remained friends:



Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which began in 1883 —3 years after the death of his friend and former partner Texas Jack—took advertising to new heights under the watchful eye of John Burke, who had partnered with Texas Jack for several tours. Joe Dobrow's book Pioneers of Promotion details the ways in which marketing and advertising were forever changed by Burke's inherent promotional genius and savvy.


The iconography used by Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill in advertising and on stage, together and apart, laid the foundation for every subsequent depiction of western America, from Texas Jack's trusty revolver and whirling lasso to Buffalo Bill's favorite rifle and Stetson hat.

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