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Captain Jack Crawford's Winchester

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Captain Jack Crawford was a western scout who replaced Texas Jack as Buffalo Bill's right-hand man when Cody and Omohundro split up their theatrical partnership after four seasons of theatrical touring. Captain Jack's partnership with Buffalo Bill was to be short-lived—Crawford blamed Cody for an injury he sustained during one of their plays and the two remained bitter enemies for the rest of their long lives. Crawford was also a writer, known as the "Poet Scout" and he wrote one of the plays that Texas Jack occasionally performed.

WINCHESTER BELONGING TO CAPTAIN JACK CRAWFORD, ALSO KNOWN AS THE POET-SCOUT. Captain Jack Crawford was a friend to "Wild Bill" Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody, and rode as a scout for Generals Phillip Sheridan and George Crook, among others. As Cody recalls in his Autobiography of Buffalo Bill, Crawford, a teetotaler, famously delivered a bottle of whiskey to Cody in camp, a gift from General Jones in Cheyenne, after a 300 mile ride: "I will say in passing that I don't believe there is another scout in the West that would have brought a full bottle of whiskey 300 miles." Crawford joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1876, but left in 1877 after he accidentally shot himself on stage during a battle scene, and blamed Cody's drunkenness. After an unsuccessful attempt to form his own troupe, the "Poet-Scout" went back to scouting. When he retired in the mid-1890s, however, he finally found fame both on stage and in print, and his touring show "The Campfire and the Trail" charmed audiences across the U.S. and briefly, in England. His broadsides announced, "This is Not a Lecture, but a Budget of Jewels, Sparkling, Pathetic, Humorous and Original," and audiences, sometimes numbering in the thousands, were "held ... spell-bound for two hours by a simple narration of his life," according to the New York World.

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