Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Alpaca Power!

Mustang Creek’s soft supply

Oh, Hay There

A pair of self-proclaimed world capitals

New Orleans Bound: Heading Down to the Big Easy

Steamboats to street musicians, incredible food and a perennial party atmosphere – the Crescent City is a prime destination year-round.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2019

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Visit Andy Alligator’s Fun Park on Veterans Day Weekend for a day of family fun. To honor all who have served, all active and retired military get a FREE All Day Pass! With a valid military...

Cost: FREE All-Day Pass for active and retired military

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


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
Telephone: 405-321-7275
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

The Orange Prize-winning novel Small Island, by Andrea Levy, comes to life in an epic theatre adaptation, which explores the arrival of the Windrush Generation to the UK. Following the losses of...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
7777 South May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
View map »

More information

Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott, Edgar Meyer, and Joshua Roman will perform. This is your chance to hear this talented group in the state-of-the-art performance hall.

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

An informational discussion about VillagesOKC

Cost: 0

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

GAUGUIN IN TAHITI: PARADISE LOST traces the legendary life story of Paul Gauguin who left France for Tahiti, feverishly in search of deep immersions into lush nature, for feelings, visions and...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
7777 South May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
View map »

More information

Former Oklahoman editor Joe Hight discusses his debut nonfiction book: Unnecessary Sorrow: A Journalist Investigates the Life and Death of His Older Brother Ordained, Discarded, Slain by Police....

Cost: 0

Where:
Full Circle Bookstore
1900 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK  73118
View map »


Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

This Christmas, give your family the gift of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, over...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
6000 Prosper Blvd
Midwest City, OK  73110
View map »


Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Join us for candid monthly conversations about complex issues facing today's mature homeowners 

Cost: 0

Where:
Francis Tuttle
12777 N. Rockwell Ave
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

“My Love Affair with the Brain” is a documentary that covers the brain, the passion of scientific discovery, the creation of modern neuroscience, Albert Einstein, women in science, and...

Cost: 0

Where:
StoneCreek of Edmond
17701 N Western
Edmond , OK  73012
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

World-renowned pianist Jonathan Biss embarked on a 9-year project of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. These works are among the most expressive and challenging piano...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

The Luther Pecan Festival is November 16, 2019, on Main Street in Luther, Oklahoma. Celebrate the pecan harvest and enjoy an art show, live music, food trucks and plenty of pecan pie. Visit...

Cost: No cost.

Where:
Luther Main Street
116 S Main
Luther, OK  73054
View map »


Sponsor: Luther Register
Telephone: 405-888-9946
Contact Name: Dawn Shelton
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

SNACKS. FELLOWSHIP. COFFEE.  The Gathering is a social opportunity for members, volunteers, and those interested in VillagesOKC.  We will talk VillagesOKC, what's new, whats...

Cost: 0

Where:
Higher Grounds Coffee
5814 NW 63rd Street
Warr Acres , OK  73122
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

The 9th annual “A Perfect Finish” will feature a night of wine & beer tasting, an auction, food and fun benefiting the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crew.   The proceeds from this...

Cost: $75.00

Where:
McClendon Whitewater Center
800 RIVERSPORT Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags