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

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  249 ratings  ·  44 reviews
From the early 1800s to the end of his life in 1917, Buffalo Bill Cody was as famous as anyone could be. Annie Oakley was his most celebrated protege, the 'slip of a girl' from Ohio who could (and did) outshoot anybody to become the most celebrated star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

In this sweeping dual biography, Larry McMurtry explores the lives, the legends and ab
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 5th 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published May 31st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Bookmarks Magazine

Having attained celebrity himself by popularizing the Old West in countless works of fiction, from Lonesome Dove (1986) to The Berrybender Narratives (2002-2004), Pulitzer-Prize winning McMurtry should offer more insight into the West's enduring appeal than he ever attempts to do. Although he does support the subtitle's premise that superstardom began with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, his comparisons to today's pop stars (Martha Stewart, Courtney Love) are sometimes forced. The Colonel and the

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Tracey
It's an interesting, if disjointed look at the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, with a good deal of history thrown in. Annie Oakley gets a bit of short shrift, IMHO, and I've noticed a lot of repetition - sometimes the same exact sentence/phrase, it seems. Still worth a listen/read if you're interested in the myth of the Wild West & how it started.
O'linda
An interesting take on what stardom means. McMurtry, who lived in the West as a child, is a well known chronicler of life in the West and has written extensively on the subject. According to McMurtry, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley were the first true media stars in America. Their images, skillful blends of good press and great showmanship, embodied what the West meant to people here and abroad. Cody was the handsome hero, Annie Oakley a little lady with enough talent to outshoot any man.

B
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Douglas Perry
Larry McMurtry is a wonderful novelist, but I continue to find his nonfiction work disappointing. His memoirs -- he just published his latest, "Hollywood" -- are relentlessly slight, breezy affairs. They read as if he dictated them while sitting on his porch sipping a glass of lemonade.

I thought "The Colonel and Little Missie," not a memoir but a dual biography of Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, would be different. Alas, no. His theme is the rise of celebrity culture in modern America, a fine s
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Anthony
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megargee
My late father, who was born in 1883, remembered until his dying day going to the Wild West Show as a boy and actually shaking the hand of Buffalo Bill. To him, Buffalo was a larger than life, almost mythic figure. In this joint biography of William Cody and his protege Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill is not so grandiloquent, but then, who could be?
Julia
I didn't like the way the book was structured--I found it a bit confusing and repetitive. Nevertheless, I learned about something I haven't read much about before and enjoyed the process. It was especially interesting in what it said about historiography, and the way legends arise.
Chi Dubinski
McMurtry, author of “Lonesome Dove,” delivers a biography of two of the iconic figures of the American West. As entertaining as one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows, this book has a cast of characters that are larger than life. Terrific writing, interesting subject—anyone interested in western history will love this book.
Adam Watson
If you're looking for an in-depth, detailed, and chronological biography of Bill Cody or Annie Oakley, look elsewhere. The story flashes around and doubles back numerous times (I lost track of how many times McMurtry says "more of this later") which makes parts feel repetitive or simply filling pages and time. Also, half of title -- Oakley -- disappears for half of the book. On a positive note, McMurtry has an engaging style which makes this an enjoyable read, and I did learn some new facts abou ...more
Aengus
Breezy account of the origins of American celebrity. Apparently dime novels were the "People" magazine of their day.
Ryan Curell
A so-called look at the beginnings of superstardom in America, McMurtry's focus on Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley is apt; however, the author distracts attention to the late nineteenth century and the closing of the West as much as he considers the titular subjects.

Yet this is not a deviation from McMurtry's nonfiction writing (that which is not autobiographical in nature, anyway); his conversational look at the Wild West shows is another chapter in his ongoing thesis about a mythical versio
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Glynn
I don't think I would go so far as to call this a work of non-fiction. All of the info related by the author seemed to be from vague memories he had. There are no citations of any kind and only a brief bibliography in the back of the book. The stories are amusing sometimes and annoying sometimes and painful at other times. This book was supposed to be about Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill but it was mostly about Buffalo Bill. It was supposed to make the claim that they were the first superstars bu ...more
Perry
Book traces the roots of American celebrity, which is less earned than bestowed.
Audacia Ray
The best parts of the book were the brief bits of analysis and thinking about the construction of American celebrity, and the ways in which Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley laid the foundation for few celebs.

However, I wish McMurtry was more critical of the ways that "Wild West" were and have been re/presented by Bill Cody and his successors, especially with respect to the role of native peoples. His sharp analysis of some aspects and utter silence on others made the book very uneven for me.
Steven
Interesting history--nice to see non-fiction from a novelist.

Funny--novelists never seem to master the more formal, academic syntax typical of non-fiction writers. As great as their ear for language may be, years of spinning yarns seem to make it impossible for a novelist to fully embrace either the language or the standards of proof required of those more prosaic writers who handle "just the facts."

Enjoyed the history and the argument about the beginnings of superstardom.
Chris
I picked this up, because it was from the author of Lonesome Dove.
I listened to this while driving, so otherwise I might have put it down. The book is about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. There was much historical data that I enjoyed, but the author tended to repeat things, and it was a little dry. But, as I am enjoying learning about our countries history, this one did tell about two show people of the late 1880's.
Brenda
I listened to this book and found it to be very interesting. I had hoped for a little more information on Annie Oakley because I admire her, but this was more information about Buffalo Bill. What information about Annie Oakley that was presented was good. After listening to this I understand how Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley became such big stars.
David Ward
The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Shuster 2005)(Biography). This is a dual biography of two icons of the Wild West who became friends and partners in the era of the traveling "Wild West Show." My rating: 6/10, finished 2009.
Chad
It was an okay book about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. The only real problem I had with the book was that the author made references to current pop culture today. I as a reader can draw those parallels myself. It just came off as lazy on Larry McMurtry's part. He even mentioned Euro Disney three or four times in the book.
Cheryl Thomas
not my favorite of McMurtry's books, but it was interesting. Thought it would be more of a story, but it was more like a biography of Bill Cody & some of Annie Oakley.
Steven Phelps
Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley deserve to be more than just a quaint footnote, and McMurty makes a compelling yet simple case for their importance. His style of non-fiction is fairly casual in tone, and the book is not an exhaustive work although it is thoughtfully researched. Reccomended.
Tim Price
I've read reviews where several people found this book to be very boring. I don't know if I'd be willing to go that far. This is a very different book from Mr. McMurtry. In it he provides useful information, albeit in thumbnail fashion, of two breakthrough Americans.
Jen Winter
My children are related to Buffalo Bill on their father's side. This book was good for a quick look at the life of Bill and Annie without too much of the show getting in the way. If you are looking for anything in depth this is not the book for you.
Marsha
This was a history that contained some redundancy but was interesting to listen to. I don't think I would have taken the time to read it because it had to do mostly with their show business careers. It was, however, well researched.
Alice (;
THE most boring book i have ever read!! if you look in the back and look at the picture of the author... HE EVEN LOOKS BORED! I only read that book for my book report i had to do in my history class. UGH!
Bonsai
No organization whatsoever to the narrative. It's almost impossible to get a sense of these people's lives because of the way the author keeps zig-zagging through the chronology.
Carrie
I found this book interesting but terribly disorganized. I would have been more interested if I could see a pattern or chronology instead of the constant jumping around.
Melissa
Lots of interesting facts and anecdotes about Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, but somehow book seems "rushed," as though McMurtry dashed it off in a weekend.
Beckie
Larry McMurtry is a legendary writer. He could write about the history of dirt and I would read it. And probably enjoy it.
Jennifer
This is a non-fiction book. McMurtry looks at Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley as the first real superstars in America.
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1055
Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was adapted into the film "Hud".

McMurty went on to publish many more novels, a number of which went on to become movies as well as a TV mini-series.
More about Larry McMurtry...
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

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“Show business imposes its own strict temporality: no matter how many CDs or DVDs we own, it would still have been better to have been there, to have seen the living performers in the richness of their being and to have participated, however briefly, in the glory of their performance.” 1 likes
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