(4) “Wild West” Subjects

A Bad Man in a Better Place: Jesse James in Nebraska

by Jeff Barnes

The notorious Jesse James typically isn’t thought of in connection with Nebraska… but he was here. Nebraska was where the outlaw could find family and friends. It was where he could plan robberies, make a recovery or an escape, and even sit for his most famous photograph. He wanted to buy a farm here and some even say he started a family here! Author Jeff Barnes shares what’s known of the truth, the fiction, and the legend of Jesse James in Nebraska.

Buffalo Bill’s Nebraska

by Jeff Barnes

William F. Cody was born, raised, and died elsewhere but it was in Nebraska where he made his home and where the celebrity and legend of Buffalo Bill was born. What happened in the Cornhusker State to create a man who was arguably the world’s first “superstar”? Author Jeff Barnes tells the story of Cody in Nebraska, from his days as an Indian scout, as a hunting guide to the rich and famous, as the creator of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” and his enduring legacy in the state, nation, and world today. PowerPoint presentation with historic and contemporary photos and images.

Legends and Leaders of the West

by Lyn Messersmith by Deb Carpenter-Nolting

Learn about leaders and legends who shaped the American West. Sacagawea, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley, Doc Middleton and others are the focus of this program of original songs, stories and poems. Student activities based on the program are available on request.

Cattle Towns and Soiled Doves

by Marla Matkin

Possessing a twinkle in her eye and a tantalizing sense of humor, the Contessa is in rare form as she deftly transports you to the frontier of cow towns, painted ladies and the riveting characters that strode the streets and rode the range. Movies, television and novels have long kept the West and its saga alive, but it takes the insight of a charmer such as the Contessa to immerse you in the history and lore of such an unforgettable moment in time. Her invitation is an appeal to suspend 21st century reality and travel back to the boomtowns where men lived by the gun and women lived by their wits. It’s the Victorian Era on the wild side. As the Contessa, Matkin employs ample supplies of humor, sensitivity and skill to navigate the nuances of the subjects of this presentation.

Meet Buffalo Bill

by Terry Lane

William F. Cody reflects on his life as express messenger, teamster, buffalo hunter, scout, actor, showman and builder of the West through a series of true-life adventures–from Bill’s perspective, of course. Length and content can be varied according to audience.

The History of Trick Roping and the Wild West Show

by Joan Wells

Wells uses the vanishing folk art of trick roping to bring the color and history of the Old West alive. South of the border in Old Mexico, the charros created rope spinning -making intricate flower designs with ropes. When Vincente Otopeza introduced this trick roping tradition to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1894, he gave American cowboys a different perspective on trick and fancy roping. Wells follows the evolution of trick roping through the heyday of Will Rogers and his affiliation with the Texas Jacks Wild West Show and the Ziegfeld Follies in the first decades of the 20th century.

The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley

by Charlotte M. Endorf

She was described as the “greatest woman rifle shot.” A star attraction of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her daring shooting feats. A champion in a man’s sport, she changed ideas about the abilities of women in the 19th century. Her fame and fortune came from her skill with guns, yet she was a Quaker.  This presentation dispels myth to reveal the real Annie Oakley.  Charlotte has traveled into seven states the summers of 2015 and 2016 following the journey of Annie.  She has met with museum curators and Annie’s family members to delve into the Oakley history.  Always on Target:  Adventurous Annie Oakley was released Easter of 2016 and From Phoebe to Famous:  Annie Oakley a Legacy of Giving is coming early 2017.