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The Great Scout Alliance

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Texas Jack had the expertise and the luxury of heading out West to explore when he wanted to take a break from acting. But even when the star isn't around, the show must go on.

Advertisement for The Great Western Scout Alliance on December 5th, 1878

In 1878, Texas Jack partnered with Doc Carver, demonstrating his skills with the lasso and six-shooter at exhibition and parade grounds up and down the East Coast. These were big outdoor spectacles, scheduled to coincide with State Fairs and local gatherings. Five years before Buffalo Bill staged the first of what would become the Wild West shows, these appearances by Texas Jack and Doc Carver were a kind of test case, and Carver would team up with Cody for the first year of the Wild West.


But while Jack was shooting coins out of the air and demonstrating his skill with the lasso for outdoor audiences, the actors of his stage show were appearing as the "Great Western Scout Alliance" in theaters.

Advertisement for Doc Carver and Texas Jack in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 3, 1878.

The Great Western Scout Alliance was essentially Texas Jack's show, without Texas Jack. Donald McKay was there. Arizona John Burke was there. Dashing Charlie was Charles Emmett. It is unknown if this is the same "Dashing Charlie" that Ned Buntline and Prentiss Ingraham wrote dime novels about, or if those two authors were even writing about the same man.




The play that the Great Western Scout Alliance performed, The Trapper's Daughter, was the same one Texas Jack and this cast had performed on tour throughout 1878 and would continue to perform when Texas Jack finished his series of exhibitions with Doc Carver and his trek across Wyoming with Dr. Amandus Ferber and Count Otto Franc.



The Great Western Scout Alliance played only a few cities over the course of the summer, fall, and winter of 1878, and when Texas Jack finished trekking through the Bighorn Basin and matching Doc Carver shot for shot at exhibitions throughout the Deep South, his friends Donald McKay and John Burke were ready to join him for another theatrical tour, this one lasting from December of 1878 through the middle of June 1879.

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