December had been quiet on the Nebraska prairie, but winter had come and the new year would bring nothing but excitement for Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill. Russian Grand Duke Alexis was in America, and was making for Fort McPherson. Cody and Omohundro had led hunts for notables, dignitaries, and aristocracy before, but this buffalo hunt would thrust them into the national spotlight and change their lives forever.
From the Chicago Tribune, January 4, 1872.
Alexis' Buffalo Hunt
General Sheridan's arrangements for Alexis' grand buffalo hunt are now fully perfected. The ducal party, accompanied by General Sheridan and three of his aides—General Forsyth, Colonel Forsyth, and Colonel M.V. Sheridan—expect to arrive at Fort McPherson on the 13th inst.
The party will proceed to North Platte Station on the ducal train, where all the servants will be left during the absence of the part on the hunt, which will taken them from the railway some six or eight days. It is the intention of all those who go to the hunting ground to take up the military mode of life and dispense with the luxuries of servants, carriages, etc.
The journey between North Platte Station and the buffalo region will be made by horseback and ambulance, and the Russians will be treated to a good specimen of "roughing it" in winter on the plains. The reports from that region, all agree that the weather is very fine, and General Sheridan is confident that the trip will be as pleasant as it will certainly be intensely intersting.
Meanwhile, Giuseppina Morlacchi's troupe was entertaining the city of Philadelphia at the Chestnut Street Theatre, where she was starring in the dramas Masaniello and The French Spy, as well as the comedy The Coming Woman. The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that the shows were interesting, but noted that the "chief charm lies in the grace and eloquence of Mddle Morlacchi's pantomime and the refinement of her dancing."
A note on the last page of the January 1st issue of Street & Smith's New York Weekly notified readers that E.Z.C. Judson, writing as Ned Buntline, was working with an "eminent dramatist" to turn his stories into plays, which he would" soon place ... before the public."
By the end of the year, Buntline's dramatic aspirations, the star power of the Italian danseuse Morlacchi, and the fame of the scouts Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack would combine in one of the most enduring popular culture experiences in American history.