Annie Oakley (Legends of the Wild West) by Rachel A. Koestler-Grack

By Rachel A. Koestler-Grack

In Annie Oakley, examine this notable lady whose sharpshooting talents and quickly wit gained her many fanatics and admirers.

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Extra info for Annie Oakley (Legends of the Wild West)

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The tour would be rigorous. Annie Oakley would be performing one-night shows in hundreds of towns and cities across the United States. In 1895, the Wild West made 131 stops along the railroad lines. The following year, the show played in 132 towns. While many of the show’s workers had to suffer with cramped quarters, Oakley and Frank Butler had much more comfortable accommodations. They had a full bedroom, complete with a dresser and two plush chairs. They even had running water in their room. To make the place feel more like home, Oakley sewed a pretty bedspread and matching curtains to hang in the train car windows.

Her plan backfired horribly, however. indd 44 1/12/10 4:11:44 PM Rival Shooter 45 infection. Instead of traveling the 7-mile (11-km) parade route, she should have been resting in bed. At the end of the parade, she had to be lifted off her horse and carried to her tent. Her ear bled for nearly five hours. The next morning, a doctor diagnosed Oakley with blood poisoning. Because of the severe infection, she lost four days of work, while Smith took her place on stage. Years later, Oakley wrote that those four days were the only ones during her 40-year career in which she missed a show.

Oakley noticed a man standing at the corner of the grandstand. He wore a knee-length coat and a derby hat and carried a fancy cane. Dressed like a city slicker, he certainly did not look like he belonged with the Wild West. Thinking he was just a random spectator, Oakley paid little attention to him. She picked up a shotgun and began to practice. Butler winged clay pigeons from a trap, and Oakley shot them to rubble. She fired quickly, with her gun upside down or right-side up, in her left hand or her right.

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