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A Story of Surpassing Truthfulness

77 Counties



 It heralded a touring show that would play in nearby Blackwell for one day only: October 27, 1900. Bold letters proclaimed “The Only Real Wild West Show in Existence: Pawnee Bill’s Historic Wild West” and vowed it would be …

Surpassing in Truthfulness … Intensity and Instructive Features … Any Exhibition of This Century.

Images swirled in vivid reds, bright yellows and electric blues, a garish fever dream of horse-ridin’, gun-totin’, sharp-shootin’, lasso-twirlin’, buffalo-huntin’ cowboys and vaqueros, galloping by Indians raiding a covered wagon, and a thundering U.S. Cavalry charge, and a regiment of the renowned Imperial Cossacks – Cossacks, I say! – from Russia, where Czar Nicholas II still sat on the throne, and skilled English horsemen, subjects of the long-reigning Queen Victoria, galloping past Pueblo tribes and near a mariachi band. Anchoring the frenzy of excitement are serene portrait vignettes of the show’s Wild West royalty: the Oklahoma showman Pawnee Bill himself, with his wife, Quaker-born sharpshooter May Lillie, entertainers as colorful as the poster itself.

This marvel of a show – “with 1,000 people and horses employed” – thrived in an era when real-life legends of the Old West, from Geronimo to Annie Oakley, were featured stars. The troupes toured here and abroad, entertaining throngs before the craze for movies and modernization took hold and the shadow of World War I crept closer.

Pawnee Bill and his crew came and went from Blackwell, doing the Oct. 27 show with covered seating for 10,000 people. Life in Lamont resumed. Soon, smaller handbills advertising coming attractions dotted the giant Pawnee Bill barnside.

Months later, the barn was converted into a storefront more suited for a territory on the verge of statehood. The roof was extended and an addition built. The old wall was boarded over as the building became Lamont’s first drug store, purchased by pharmacist Andrew Trimper Beegle in 1903. By 1911, he would move to Alva to operate Beegle Brothers’ Owl Drug with his brother, Bert. He sold the Lamont business to Harry Courtney, who ran it as Courtney Drug for 46 years.

The poster inside the walls was long forgotten as the place at the corner of Main and Jefferson became a favorite Lamont hangout, beloved for its owner’s gentle ways and for its soda fountain, where ice cream cones were sold for a nickel each. Its annual quarter-page ad in the Lamont High School Red Devil Yearbook touted its slogan: “A Good Store in a Good Town.”

Tony Almond bought the business in 1957, but the place eventually closed as downtown contracted and Lamont residents drove southwest to Enid or northeast to Blackwell or Ponca City to shop.

With little use for the old building, the town decided to have its firefighters knock it down in 1982 to make way for the new firehouse. Midway through the destruction, as they peeled back an unexpected lattice and a layer of plaster, they uncovered the astoundingly vivid and larger-than-life Pawnee Bill poster.

The demolition team halted its work, fascinated. Someone said an expert should be called in. Glen McIntyre, curator of the Chisholm Trail Museum in Kingfisher, was sent up to take a look.

The historical world was agog. The Smithsonian is said to have called it “the find of the century.” The state earmarked $15,000 for its careful restoration at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee.

The Lamont workers carefully dismantled the wall and numbered its 154 boards, each averaging 10 feet long. Martin Wiesendanger, former head of Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum, headed a small crew working with hot water and sponges to remove the more recent posters that had been glued on top and to save the delicate paper artwork beneath.

He told an interviewer at the time of the poster’s unveiling: “The faces are so good, they’re not done by any hack. I’ve never seen such life and action put into a lousy circus poster. That’s a Remington Indian or God didn’t make little green apples.”

  Although 14 feet of the original was lost to rotting lumber, 66 feet of the mural was salvaged and restored. The luminescent result was displayed in the East Gallery of the Oklahoma Capitol from late 1983 until early 1984, when it was installed in a custom-made glass case in a carriage barn on the Pawnee Bill Ranch, where it remains on permanent exhibit.

Thirty years later, an appraiser from the season-opening episode of Antiques Roadshow made the trek to the Pawnee to look at the poster.

His assessment: priceless. 


Editor’s Note: This is the 15th installment in a continuing series as author and photographer M.J. Alexander chronicles her travels across the state of Oklahoma.

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Calendar

November 2018

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

Join Untitled for an advanced quilting design workshop about visual thinking with local fiber artist and former Artspace Artist in Residence Sarah Atlee. In this intensive two-day workshop,...

Cost: $150

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
Contact Name: Meredith Zerby
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is honoring Veterans Day with a free All-Day Pass to all active and retired military with a military ID. Family members will save $5 on an All-Day pass. An All-Day pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275

More information

Sandi Patty is globally known for her incredible voice and passion for music. In addition to her musical gifts, she is a talented, prolific author - including her newest book, called The Voice:...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossings Community Church
14600 N Portland
Oklahoma City, OK  73134
View map »


Sponsor: Crossings Community Church
Telephone: 405.302.1233
Contact Name: Susie Wilson
Website »

More information

On the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I, Canterbury Voices presents Benjamin Britten’s 20th century masterwork “War Requiem.” The piece...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Canterbury Voices
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

 To celebrate the recent arrival of Hopdoddy Burger Bar in the Oklahoma City area, the from-scratch burger and beer joint is giving away burger “Season Passes” to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hopdoddy Chisholm Creek
1316 W Memorial Rd
Ste. 100
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

To celebrate the recent arrival of Hopdoddy Burger Bar in the Oklahoma City area, the from-scratch burger and beer joint is giving away burger “Season Passes” to the first 100...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hopdoddy OKC Nichols Hills
1125 NW 63rd
Nichols Hills, OK
View map »

More information

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

David Sedaris, regular National Public Radio contributor and author of bestsellers Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, will be appearing for...

Where:
Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
6000 Prosper
Midwest City, OK  73110
View map »


Sponsor: Innovation Arts & Entertainment
Website »

More information

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

Associate conductor Matthew Glover will lead the OSU Symphony Orchestra in a concert of hidden treasures from the orchestral repertoire, including Mozart's Overture to The Impresario,...

Cost: General Admission, $10; Students & Seniors, $7

Where:
Seretean Center for the Performing Arts
132 Seretean Center for the Performing Arts
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Thomas Taylor Dickey
Website »

More information

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

In honor of Yellow Submarine's 50th anniversary - as one of its animators, as well as the director of the 1960's Saturday morning Beatles cartoon series - Ron Campbell will make a rare...

Cost: Free

Where:
Framed in the Village
10631 North May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73120
View map »


Sponsor: Rock art show
Telephone: 610.389.1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Ladies, grab your friends and come to Home for the Holidays, the annual event hosted by Crossings Women to kick off the Christmas season in style! You’ll begin the evening by enjoying...

Cost: $25

Where:
Crossings Community Church - OKC Campus
14600 North Portland Avenue
OKC, OK  73134
View map »


Sponsor: Crossings Community Church
Telephone: 405.302.1208
Contact Name: Sheila Urton
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exciting evening of fine French music featuring works by Franck, Faure and Gaubert. Hear Robert Fasol and the Cantate Singers, along with Trio Lyrique, cellist Rob Bradshaw, flutist Alyssa...

Cost: Free —Donations are greatly appreciated and accepted at the door.

Where:
First Christian Church
220 S Webster Ave
Norman, OK  73069
View map »


Sponsor: Scissortail Productions, Inc.
Contact Name: Rob Bradshaw
Website »

More information

Christmas is coming, and so is the one and only Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Presenting world-class Russian artists, hand-painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens and jubilant nesting...

Where:
Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
6000 Prosper
Midwest City, OK  73110
View map »


Sponsor: Talmi Entertainment
Website »

More information

Come enjoy live, local comedy in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the 2nd Saturday of every month also has a family -friendly show...

Cost: $5 - $15

Where:
OKC Improv
1757 N.W. 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Contact Name: Kate McLain-Snipes
Website »

More information

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

In honor of Yellow Submarine's 50th anniversary - as one of its animators, as well as the director of the 1960's Saturday morning Beatles cartoon series - Ron Campbell will make a rare...

Cost: Free

Where:
Framed in the Village
10631 North May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73120
View map »


Sponsor: Rock art show
Telephone: 610.389.1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Join us for a holiday card-making workshop with our Fall Artist in Residence, Allie D. Caesar. Allie has just returned from an almost decade-long professional practice as both a printer and artist...

Cost: $40

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
Contact Name: Meredith Zerby
Website »

More information

Elijah Tindall is kicking off his Laugh Anyway comedy tour in Norman - an award-winning comic who specializes in bringing high-energy laughs to faces of all ages, he has been featured on multiple...

Cost: $10

Where:
Calvary Chapel of Norman
1401 W Boyd
Norman, OK  73069
View map »


Sponsor: 107.1 KOUJ
Telephone: 405.310.2418
Contact Name: Stephen Herrell
Website »

More information

Come enjoy live, local comedy in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the 2nd Saturday of every month also has a family -friendly show...

Cost: $5 - $15

Where:
OKC Improv
1757 N.W. 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Contact Name: Kate McLain-Snipes
Website »

More information

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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