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Texas Jack and I spent several weeks in hunting in the western part of Nebraska, and at the end of our vacation we felt greatly reinvigorated and ready for another theatrical campaign.

We accordingly proceeded to New York and organized a company for the season of 1873-74. Thinking that Wild Bill would be quite an acquisition to the troupe, we wrote to him at Springfield, Missouri, offering him a large salary if he would play with us that winter. He was doing nothing at the time, and we thought that he would like to take a trip through the States, as he had never been East.

Wild Bill accepted our offer, and came on to New York; though he told us from the start that we could never make an actor out of him. Although he had a fine stage appearance and was a handsome fellow, and possessed a good strong voice, yet when he went upon the stage before an audience, it was almost impossible for him to utter a word. He insisted that we were making a set of fools of ourselves, and that we were the laughing-stock of the people. I replied that I did not care for that, as long as they came and bought tickets to see us.

Wild Bill was continually playing tricks upon the members of the company, and it was his especial delight to torment the "supers." Quite frequently in our sham Indian battles he would run up to the "Indians" (the supers), and putting his pistol close to their legs, would fire at them and burn them with the powder, instead of shooting over their heads. This would make them dance and jump, so that it was difficult to make them fall and die--although they were paid twenty-five cents each for performing the "dying business." The poor "supers" often complained to me about this, and threatened not to go on the stage and be killed again if that man Wild Bill did not stop shooting and burning their legs. I would order Wild Bill to stop his mischief; he would laugh and then promise not to do it any more. But it would not be long before he was at his old tricks again.

My company, known as the "Buffalo Bill Combination," did a fine business, all through the East. Wild Bill continued his pranks, which caused us considerable annoyance, but at the same time greatly amused us.

One day at Titusville, Pennsylvania, while Burke, the business agent, was registering our names and making arrangements for our accommodation, several of us started for the billiard room; but were met by the landlord, who stopped me and said that there was a party of roughs from the lower oil region who were spreeing, and had boasted that they were staying in town to meet the Buffalo Bill gang and clean them out. The landlord begged of me not to allow the members of the troupe to enter the billiard room, as he did not wish any fight in his house. To please the landlord, and at his suggestion, I called the boys up into the parlor and explained to them the situation. Wild Bill wanted to go at once and fight the whole mob, but I persuaded him to keep away from them during the day.

In order to entirely avoid the roughs, the members of the company entered the theater through a private door from the hotel, as the two buildings joined each other. While I was standing at the door of the theater taking the tickets, the landlord of the hotel came rushing up and said that Wild Bill was having a fight with the roughs in the bar-room. It seemed that Bill had not been able to resist the temptation of going to see what kind of a mob it was that wanted to test the pluck of the Buffalo Bill party; and just as he stepped into the room, one of the bruisers put his hand on his shoulder and said:

"Hello, Buffalo Bill! we have been looking for you all day."

"My name is not Buffalo Bill; you are mistaken in the man," was the reply.

"You are a liar!" said the bruiser.

Bill instantly knocked him down, and then seizing a chair he laid out four or five of the crowd on the floor, and drove the rest out of the room. All this was done in a minute or two, and by the time I got down stairs, Bill was coming out of the bar-room, whistling a lively tune.

"Well!" said he, "I have been interviewing that party who wanted to clean us out."

"I thought you promised to come into the Opera House by the private entrance?"

"I did try to follow that trail, but I got lost among the cañons, and then I ran in among the hostiles," said he; "but it is all right now. They won't bother us any more. I guess those fellows have found us." And sure enough they had. We heard no more of them after that.

Another incident occurred, one night, at Portland, Maine. Bill found it impossible to go to sleep at the hotel on account of the continued talking of some parties who were engaged in a game of cards in an adjoining room. He called to them several times to make less noise, but they paid little or no attention to him. He finally got up and went to the room with the intention of cleaning out the whole crowd. He knocked and was admitted; greatly to his surprise, he found the party to be some merchants of the city, whom he had met the previous day. They were playing poker, and invited him to take a hand. Bill sat down at the table, and said that, inasmuch as they would not let him sleep, he wouldn't mind playing for a while, provided they would post him a little in the game, for he didn't know much about it. At first he didn't play very well, intentionally making many blunders and asking numerous questions; but when morning came, he was about seven hundred dollars ahead. Bill put the money in his pocket, and just as he was leaving the room he advised them never to wake a man up and invite him to play poker.

Wild Bill remained with me until we reached Rochester. I met my family there, and having bought some property in that city, with the intention of making the place my home, I asked Bill not to cut up any of his capers, for I wanted the performance to go off smoothly, as I expected a large audience that evening. He, of course, promised to behave himself. When the curtain rose the house was crowded. The play proceeded finely until the Indian fight in the second act, when Bill amused himself by his old trick of singeing the legs of the "supers."

After the curtain dropped, the "supers" complained to me about it. Bill's conduct made me angry, and I told him that he must either stop shooting the "supers," or leave the company. He made no reply, but went to the dressing-room and changed his buckskin suit for his citizen's dress, and during one of my scenes I looked down in front and saw him elbowing his way through the audience and out of the theater. When I had finished the scene, and had retired from the stage, the stage-carpenter came up and said:

"That long-haired gentleman, who passed out a few minutes ago, requested me to tell you that you could go to thunder with your old show."

That was the last time that Wild Bill and I ever performed together on the stage. After the evening's entertainment I met him at the Osborn House. By this time he had recovered from his mad fit and was in as good humor as ever. He had made up his mind to leave for the West the next day. I endeavored to persuade him to remain with me till spring, and then we would go together; but it was of no use. I then paid him the money due him, and Jack and myself made him a present of $1,000 besides.

Bill went to New York the next day, intending to start west from there. Several days afterwards I learned that he had lost all his money in New York by playing faro; also that a theatrical manager had engaged him to play. A company was organized and started out, but as a "star" Wild Bill was not a success; the further he went the poorer he got. This didn't suit Bill by any means, and he accordingly retired from the stage. The company, however, kept on the road, using Bill's name, and employing an actor to represent him not only on the stage but on the street and elsewhere. Bill heard of this deception and sent word to the manager to stop it, but no attention was paid to his message.

Finally, Bill resolved to have satisfaction and he proceeded to a town where the company was to play; he entered the theater and took a seat near the stage, and watched the performance until the bogus Wild Bill appeared. He then sprang upon the stage, knocked the actor clear through one of the scenes, and grabbing the manager by the shoulders he threw him over the foot-lights into the orchestra.

The other actors screamed and yelled "Police!" The audience could not at first understand what it all meant, some of them supposing the affair to be a part of the play.

Wild Bill retired from the stage in good order, resumed his seat, and told them to go on with their show. A policeman now appearing, Bill was pointed out as the disturber of the peace; the officer tapping him on the shoulder, said:

"I'll have to arrest you, sir."

"How many of you are there?" asked Bill.

"Only myself," said the policeman.

"You had better get some help," said Bill. The officer then called up another policeman, and Bill again asked:

"How many of you are there now?"

"Two," was the reply.

"Then I advise you to go out and get some more reinforcements," said Bill, very coolly.

The policemen thereupon spoke to the sheriff, who was dressed in citizen's clothes. The sheriff came up and said he would have to take him into custody.

"All right, sir," replied Bill, "I have no objections to walking out with you, but I won't go with any two policemen." At the court next morning Bill stated his reasons for having acted as he had done, and the judge fined him only three dollars and costs.

This was the last time that Wild Bill appeared on the stage. He shortly afterwards returned to the West, and on arriving at Cheyenne, he visited Boulder's gambling room and sat down at a faro table. No one in the room recognized him, as he had not been in Cheyenne for several years. After losing two or three bets he threw down a fifty dollar bill and lost that also. Boulder quietly raked in the money. Bill placed a second fifty dollar note on another card, when Boulder informed him that the limit was twenty-five dollars.

"You have just taken in a fifty dollar bill which I lost," said Bill.

"Well you needn't make any more such bets, as I will not go above my limit," replied Boulder.

"I'll just play that fifty dollar bill as it lays. If it loses, it's yours; if it wins, you'll pay me fifty dollars, or I'll know the reason why."

"I am running this game, and I want no talk from you, sir," said Boulder.

One word brought on another, until Boulder threatened to have Bill put out of the house. Bill was carrying the butt end of a billiard cue for a cane, and bending over the table, he said: "You'd rob a blind man." Then he suddenly tapped Boulder on the head with the cane, with such force as to knock him over. With another sweep of the cane he tumbled the "look-out" from his chair, and then reaching over into the money drawer he grabbed a handful of greenbacks and stuck them in his pocket.

At this stage of the game four or five men--who were employed as "bouncers" for the establishment to throw out the noisy persons--rushed up to capture Bill, but he knocked them right and left with his cane, and seeing the whole crowd was now closing in on him, he jumped into a corner, and with each hand drew a revolver and faced the enemy. At this moment the bar-keeper recognized him, and sang out in a loud voice:

"Look out boys--that's Wild Bill you've run against."

That settled the matter; for when they heard the name of Wild Bill they turned and beat a hasty retreat out of the doors and windows, and in less time than it takes to tell it, Wild Bill was the only man in the room. He coolly walked over to Dyer's hotel, and retired for the night. Boulder claimed that he had taken $500, but he really got only $200. Boulder, upon learning that it was Wild Bill who had cleaned him out, said nothing more about the money. The next day the two men met over a bottle of wine, and settled their differences in an amicable manner.

Poor Bill was afterwards killed at Deadwood, in the Black Hills, in a cowardly manner, by a desperado who sneaked up behind him while he was playing a game of cards in a saloon, and shot him through the back of the head, without the least provocation. The murderer, Jack McCall, was tried and hung at Yankton, Dakota, for the crime. Thus ended the career of a life-long friend of mine who, in spite of his many faults, was a noble man, ever brave and generous hearted.

Jack and myself continued playing through the country after Wild Bill left us, and we finally closed our season in Boston on the 13th of May, 1874.

Business called me from Boston to New York, and after I had been there a few days, I met an English gentleman, Thomas P. Medley, of London, who had come to America for a hunt on the Plains. He had often heard of me, and was anxious to engage me as his guide and companion, and he offered to pay the liberal salary of one thousand dollars a month while I was with him. He was a very wealthy man, as I learned upon inquiry, and was a relative of Mr. Lord, of the firm of Lord & Taylor, of New York. Of course I accepted his offer.

When we reached the hunting ground in Nebraska, he informed me, somewhat to my surprise, that he did not want to go out as Alexis did, with carriages, servants, and other luxuries, but that he wished to rough it just as I would do--to sleep on the ground in the open air, and kill and cook his own meat. We started out from North Platte, and spent several weeks in hunting all over the county. Dr. W. F. Carver, who then resided at North Platte, and who has recently acquired considerable notoriety as a rifle-shot, hunted with us for a few days.

Mr. Medley proved to be a very agreeable gentleman and an excellent hunter. While in camp he busied himself in carrying wood and water, attending to the fire, and preparing and cooking the meals, never asking me to do a thing. He did not do this to save expenses, but because he wanted to do as the other hunters in the party were doing. After spending as much time as he wished, we returned to the railroad, and he took the train for the East. Everything that was required on this hunt was paid for in the most liberal manner by Mr. Medley, who also gave the members of the party several handsome presents.

About this time an expedition consisting of seven companies of cavalry and two companies of infantry--to be commanded by Colonel Mills of the Third Cavalry, was being organized to scout the Powder River and Big Horn country, and I was employed as guide for the command. Proceeding to Rawlins, Wyoming, we "outfitted," and other guides were engaged--among them Tom Sun and Bony Ernest, two noted Rocky Mountain scouts. We there left the railroad, and passing through the Seminole range of the Rocky Mountains we established our supply camp at the foot of Independence Rock on the Sweetwater. I was now on my old familiar stamping ground, and it seemed like home to me. Fifteen years before, I had ridden the pony express and driven the overland stages through this region, and the command was going into the same section of country where Wild Bill's expedition of stage-drivers and express-riders had recaptured from the Indians a large number of stolen stage-horses.

Leaving the infantry to guard the supply camp, Colonel Mills struck out for the north with the seven companies of cavalry. One day while we were resting on a prairie near the head of Powder river, a horseman was seen in the distance approaching us. At first it was thought he was an Indian, but as he came near we saw that he was a white man, and finally when he rode up to us, I recognized him as "California Joe," a noted scout and frontiersman who had spent many years in California, on the plains and in the mountains. He was armed with a heavy old Sharpe's rifle, a revolver and a knife. I introduced him to Colonel Mills and the other officers and asked him where he was going. He replied that he was out for a morning ride only; but the fact was that he had been out prospecting alone for weeks along the foot of the Big Horn mountains.

Having no permanent occupation just at that time, Joe accompanied us for two or three days, when Colonel Mills suggested that I had better employ him as a scout, so that he could make a little money for himself. Joe didn't seem to care whether I hired him or not; but I put him on the pay-roll, and while he was with us he drew his five dollars a day. It was worth the money to have him along for company's sake, for he was a droll character in his way, and afforded us considerable amusement. We finally surprised Little Wolf's band of Arapahoes and drove them into the agencies. We then scouted the Powder river, Crazy Woman's Fork, and Clear Fork, and then pushed westward through the mountains to the Wind river. After having been out for a month or two we were ordered to return.

I immediately went East and organized another Dramatic company for the season of 1874-75, Texas Jack being absent in the Yellowstone country hunting with the Earl of Dunraven. I played my company in all the principal cities of the country, doing a good business wherever I went. The summer of 1875 I spent at Rochester with my family.

For the season of 1875-6, Texas Jack and I reorganized our old Combination, and made a very successful tour. While we were playing at Springfield, Massachusetts, April 20th and 21st 1876, a telegram was handed me just as I was going on the stage. I opened it and found it to be from Colonel G.W. Torrence, of Rochester, an intimate friend of the family, who stated that my little boy Kit was dangerously ill with the scarlet fever. This was indeed sad news, for little Kit had always been my greatest pride. I sent for John Burke, our business manager, and showing him the telegram, told him that I would play the first act, and making a proper excuse to the audience, I would then take the nine o'clock train that same evening for Rochester, leaving him to play out my part. This I did, and at ten o'clock the next morning I arrived in Rochester, and was met at the dépôt by my intimate friend Moses Kerngood who at once drove me to my home. I found my little boy unable to speak but he seemed to recognize me and putting his little arms around my neck he tried to kiss me. We did everything in our power to save him, but it was of no avail. The Lord claimed his own, and that evening at six o'clock my beloved little Kit died in my arms. We laid him away to rest in the beautiful cemetery of Mount Hope amid sorrow and tears.