The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America

The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America

by Larry McMurtry
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Colonel and Little Missie 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
cannonball More than 1 year ago
This peculiar book presents McMurtry's thesis that Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley were America's first superstars. That may be true. The problem is the author assumes the reader is quite knowledgeable about the two main characters. There is no attempt at chronological history or biography. Those readers who are very up-to-date about the Colonel and Little Missie might enjoy McMurtry's discussion. But if you are unacquainted with the subject--as I was--it would be better to go elsewhere to learn about these Wild West stars.
SallyB More than 1 year ago
The research and writing are very well, but the author goes " back" too much and too much is repeated about Buffalo Bill's exploits. Not enough on Annie Oakley.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
According to Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize winner and Western authority, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley were the first superstars in America. And, he's probably right. Queen Victoria came out of mourning to see Cody's Wild West show; he was the central figure in more than 1700 dime novels, and his face was recognizable the world over. It was a handsome face which he used to his advantage in promotion and indulging his penchant for drink and women. Personality wise Annie Oakley, a crack shot, was probably his polar opposite, a small, sometimes self effacing young woman from Ohio who was happily and faithfully wed to sharpshooter and businessman Frank Butler. She was brought to more recent prominence with the hit Broadway show 'Annie Get Your Gun.' Nonetheless, their pairing of Cody and Oakley was huge box office in the 1880s and 1890s as railroad cars carried the Wild West show into 130 cities a year. Obviously, McMurtry has a fondness for these two iconic figures as he remembers his uncles reminiscing about seeing Buffalo Bill in person. Nonetheless, the author candidly describes both subjects of this dual biography - warts and all. The pair toured in their show for 16 seasons; she called him Colonel and he dubbed her Missie. Evidently, the two were compatible despite the difference in personalities. He was a bit like a bull in a China shop, and frequently drunk. Annie, while ebullient on stage, was frugal and reserved in private, so modest that she even requested a female embalmer. Necessary for their success were the services of a competent manager and press agent as the Show employed over 500 people and carried hundreds of animals with them. At one time their manager was James Bailey of Barnum and Bailey fame. Complete with 16 pages of black and white photos 'The Colonel and Little Missie' is a fascinating chronicle of American history and an unlikely partnership that brought fame and fortune to both. - Gail Cooke