Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World. A Group of Wild West Girls and Cowboys – The Virginia Reel on Horseback. Cincinnati: Enquirer Job Ptg., ca. 1890s. A 12-sheet color lithograph billboard (approx. 120 x 84”) mounted on old linen as one unit. With mild to heavy soiling, scattered chips and losses across image, some over-painting, but strong and colorful overall. Depicting one of the most popular and enduring features of Buffalo Bill’s show, the Virginia reel on horseback. In this portrayal, a gathering of men and women on horseback are shown on the open prairie, a section of them with brass instruments to accompany the couples’ dancing. Such imagery confirms what historian Louis Warren writes of the narrative backdrop of the performance, introduced about 1886, in which “a community in transition, either on their way across the prairie by wagon train or in the midst of building a ranch or town” would break into dance when some call for celebration was found (Buffalo Bill’s America [Knopf, 2005 pg. 250]). Possibly unique.
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