By Julia Bricklin
this present day, such a lot bear in mind “California woman” Lillian Frances Smith (1871–1930) as Annie Oakley’s leader competitor within the small international of the Wild West exhibits’ lady shooters. however the girls have been particularly assorted: Oakley’s conservative “prairie good looks” character clashed with Smith’s tendency to put on flashy outfits and go along with the cowboys and American Indians she played with. This full of life first biography chronicles the Wild West showbiz existence that Smith led and explores the skills that made her a star.
Drawing on family members files, press bills, interviews, and various different resources, historian Julia Bricklin peels away the myths that enshroud Smith’s fifty-year profession. referred to as “The California Huntress” earlier than she used to be ten years outdated, Smith used to be a certified sharpshooter by the point she reached her teenagers, capturing goals from the again of a galloping horse in Buffalo invoice Cody’s Wild West. not just did Cody supply $10,000 to someone who may perhaps beat her, yet he gave her most sensible billing, surroundings the level for her contention with Annie Oakley.
Being the simplest woman sharpshooter within the usa used to be now not sufficient, despite the fact that, to distinguish Lillian Smith from Oakley and increasingly more ladylike cowgirls. So Smith reinvented herself as “Princess Wenona,” a Sioux with a violent and romantic prior. appearing with Cody and different showmen resembling Pawnee invoice and the Miller brothers, Smith led a tumultuous deepest existence, ultimately taking on the safeguard of a cast Indian personality. The morals of the time inspired public feedback of Smith’s loss of Victorian femininity, and the press’s tendency to play up her contention with Oakley ultimately overshadowed Smith’s personal legacy.
in any case, as writer Julia Bricklin indicates, Smith cared extra approximately residing her lifestyles on her personal phrases than approximately her public snapshot. not like her rivals who shot to make a residing, Lillian Smith lived to shoot.
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