Buffalo Bill, Rough Riders, and the Manly Image

Brent M. Rogers and Douglas Seefeldt

Spatial Distribution of Wild West Attendance

Currently, a compilation of attendance statistics for Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World does not exist for the years 1893 through 1903. This map is an early attempt to spatially plot attendance figures for these years. In the evidence-base there exists infrequent mentions of attendance statistics, and when present they are often vague. Tracking attendance is important in understanding the show as popular history and in visualizing the numbers of people exposed to its portrayal of manliness. This interactive map highlights the few mentions of more specific attendance figures and route maps of the show to demonstrate the reach and extent of Buffalo Bill's performance and the popularization of the images portrayed to the masses.

Cody's comparative vision of international manhood was exported across the globe through physical performance and ideological communication. Through the expansion of the Rough Rider exhibition, and through its immense international popularity, Cody cemented the new image of the cowboy and of ideal manliness. Through Cody's labors, the public understood, appreciated, and undoubtedly admired the Rough Rider title.

The Wild West route maps, presented as image overlays in white, include one for the United States in 1902 and one for the Great Britain tour of 1902-1904. The yellow pushpins indicate locations mentioned in the sources that contain recognizable, if vague, attendance figures. The locations plotted represent places the Wild West visited during the ten year period examined, 1893-1903. Visitors may click on the pushpin icons for more information. Use the zoom and directional tools on the side to further explore the maps.