Though no night after the first would prove to be quite so disjointed and far removed from the script Ned Buntline had jotted down in his Chicago hotel room, The Scouts of the Prairie was a different show at almost every performance.
After the false start of the initial performance when Cody and Omohundro walked onto the stage and forgot their lines, theater-owner Jim Nixon attempted to avoid a repeat by offering the pair several pointers on how to appear more natural on stage. He advised Texas Jack to greet Buffalo Bill onstage when they made their entrance, “just as though you had not seen him in several years.”
So that night, as the two men walked onto the stage for the sophomore show, Jack yelled out, “Jesus Christ! How the hell are you, Bill?”
As the audience erupted in laughter, Cody responded in kind, asking, “Jack, ya damned fool! Don’t you know you are before an audience?” Texas Jack then told the audience about a winter elk hunt in the mountains of the Wyoming Territory, and the show proceeded from there.
They weren't professionals. They weren't even actors. But the audience hadn't come to see professional actors, they had come to see real heroes, and it was Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill's real lives, rather than their stage exploits, that made them legends.