Eye Spy Glasgow: Buffalo Bill Cody

It is safe to say that, over the years, a good few cowboys have graced the streets of Dennistoun.

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But the one who made the biggest impact wasn't an Eastender - he was the man from the Wild West.

In 1891 events in America held a fascination for people in Britain.

Thousands were heading to the New World hoping to make their fortune, and tales of frontiersmen and gunslingers were legendary.

So when Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show rolled into Glasgow in November of that year the interest was phenomenal.

Among his troupe was Annie Oakley - of Annie Get Your Gun fame - and a number of Lakota Sioux Indians.

One of the Indians, a certain Charging Thunder, became so at home in his Glasgow surroundings that he ended up spending a month in Barlinnie for assaulting the show's promoter.

Cody's show had been a major success in America and his European tour, which included Glasgow, proved equally fascinating.

Thousands turned up to watch the performance, called The Drama of Civilisation, a non-politically correct interpretation of how the white man had "civilised" the Indians.

There was a skewed re-enactment of the Indian victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn, lasso demonstrations, a simulated prairie fire and even a small herd of buffalo on stage.

Kicking Bear, a first cousin of the legendary Crazy Horse, became a familiar figure in the streets of the city and he had his photograph taken at a studio in Bellgrove Street.

The Glasgow show was was staged at the East End Exhibition Buildings in Whitehill Street, Dennistoun, where the Buffalo Bill statue was erected eight years ago.

Cody's Glasgow visit lasted for three months during which he paid a memorable visit to Ibrox to watch Rangers play Queens Park in a Glasgow Cup tie.

The cowboy is said to have worn a white sombrero and been presented to both teams at half-time. He was also apparently disappointed that Rangers lost 3-0.

His troupe also played a charity match at Celtic Park against the Brandon Club - in which they were well beaten.

The statue marking the somewhat unlikely theatrical attraction of 1891 is well hidden.

At Coia's cafe on Duke street, turn on to Whitehill Street and it is a few hundred yards up the road.

Happy hunting Pardner.

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