Nebraska’s Unique Contribution To The Entertainment World

The election of William F. Cody in August 1967, to the Nebraska Hall of Fame indicated a popular interest in the history of Western America and the people contributing to its colorful lore. Buffalo Bill was one of those people. His contributions are disputed in extremes by everyone from hero worshipers to those seeking to debunk him. However, one is able to assign Cody with at least one unique contribution during his lifetime. William F. Cody gave the world the Wild West Show, a unique form of Western / American entertainment, with its format and success established in the State of Nebraska, then presented to America and Europe.

The concept of the Wild West Show was not the original idea of William F. Cody and Dr. W. F. Carver when they opened their Wild West, Rocky Mountain, and Prairie Exhibition in Omaha in May of 1883. There had been at least five other attempts at this type of entertainment, and various persons have claimed they originated the idea of the Wild West Show. However, Cody and his partner were the first to produce such entertainment successfully. Their Wild West Show of 1883 established the Western theme and style of events adopted by all subsequent Wild West Shows, both those undertaken by Cody and hi~ partners and those conducted by imitators.

The first of these five previous attempts was a Grand Buffalo Hunt, staged on August 31, 1843, by P. T. Barnum in Hoboken, New Jersey. Barnum’s display of Buffalo was quickly turned into a roping exhibition by C. D. French when the buffalo calves were stampeded by the shouts of the audience, crashed through a fence, and fled to a swamp.

Read the entire article here.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

The 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address – March 4, 2011

The 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address – March 4, 2011

Marker Monday: Mari Sandoz

Marker Monday: Mari Sandoz

How ‘Equality Before the Law’ became our state motto

How ‘Equality Before the Law’ became our state motto

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.