Spirit of the West

25 is not enough! But, for me, these objects best capture that ever-elusive "Spirit of the West" that will likely be obliterated when the super-volcano under Yellowstone erupts. I think that the reincarnated Buffalo Bill Center of the West would be off to a pretty good start if I could escape with these in time.
Curated by Rachel

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This gallery has 25 objects

The Scout! I find the early history of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association fascinating on many levels. This was the first piece commissioned by the BBMA following Buffalo Bill's death and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney completed it even though the funds she received did not cover her cost fully. So many people have personally gone above and beyond for this Buffalo Bill Center of the West and for me, The Scout captures that spirit. And I figure, this piece got us started the last time, it could do it again!
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Deadwood Stagecoach! These are the kind of "props" that Buffalo Bill used in the Wild West show. For me, it's a great indicator of the quality of the production. And the size of it makes me think about the logistics that would've gone into transporting, people, animals, "props", tents, etc. around the world during that time. Quite a feat!
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Buffalo Bill had some pretty serious personal style. No one should forget that. This was obviously worn a lot and that's pretty cool too!
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Even though this is a relatively new acquisition, it's a great example of what a big deal Buffalo Bill was in his day. And this poster is in amazing condition.
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Buffalo Bill had friends in high places. I remember seeing this "sleigh robe" the first time I visited the Center with my family. It also makes me think about the high-class hunting parties he would lead in the winter. I feel like they must have been the modern equivalent of "glamping" but that's probably not historically accurate!
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I bought a souvenir poster of this image on my first visit and it's a personal favorite. It's a clever illustration and a great likeness.
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I love the work of Thom Ross and I love that as a painter today, he's still finding inspiration in the characters of the old west.
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Well, this place won't exist anymore and it's pretty beautiful. I think Bierstadt's depiction captures the feel of Yellowstone Falls perfectly.
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This will be gone too and while I'm sure that photos will remain, there's a certain quality in this painting that seems more like the REAL Yellowstone.
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I've only lived in Cody for about 5 years, but when I think about what makes it different, Clyde seems to know exactly how to paint it. The colors and the feel in this painting are too pretty to be forgotten.
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Much of the landscape in this part of the country had a sort of mystical, magical, grand quality and Bierstadt totally gets that with Island Lake.
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I love Rungius' depictions of wildlife. I had never seen pronghorn before living out here and I'm not sure where else they are outside the eruption zone, but this is a nice colorful painting to remember them by.
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Well, it's hard to choose which Remingtons should be saved but I personally enjoy his night scenes. And it truly gets dark out here at night. Before that though, the color of everything changes and it's a challenge to paint it accurately.
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We have a lot of nice winter paintings here but I really got to like Remington's oil sketches when they were hanging right outside my office for a year or so. This would serve to remind me of the blue sky winters we have out here and Remington's color palette which is easily recognized after you get to know his work.
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I like the graphic quality of this Catlin and it makes me think of what the West must have looked like when everyone was first getting settled out here.
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You know that show Mountain Men? Well, a lot of those guys are living well within the eruption zone. This painting is a great reminder of mountain man culture. Like most of Bama's work, the amazing level of detail forces you to stick around longer to take it all in. I like when a work of art draws you in closer and makes you think about the artist and the technique and the accuracy of the depiction.
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I would save all of Koerner's work if I could but Madonna of the Prairie has to be one of our most iconic images and it's so pretty too!
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Kevin Red Star's work left a strong first impression on me and I'd have to grab at least one. This piece is playful and detailed and it's easily recognizable as his style.
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Buffalo Prayer is such a reverent and peaceful sculpture currently in one of our gardens. I would hope that it could be placed in a grove of aspen trees at the next Buffalo Bill Center of the West, too.
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I don't know who owned this shirt but every time I walk past it, it has a sort of weight to it. To me it's very clear that the man who wore this was a real boss.
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This Ghost Dance dress is the female equivalent of the green shirt for me. A garment with a real sense of power to it.
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This bear claw necklace isn't the oldest one in our collection but it's in SUCH great condition. It also has intact ribbons which usually deteriorate before the other materials.
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This little bag is currently part of what I believe is the most impactful display in the Plains Indian Museum, the timeline wall that chronicles the drastic changes that came to Indian populations as a result of white settlers and government regulations. During the reservation era when many Indians subsisted on government rations, they would keep their ration tickets in decorated bags like this one. It's a heartbreaking reminder of the importance of maintaining one's cultural values through great injustices.
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Well, guns are an inescapable part of the story of the West. This Winchester belonged to Annie Oakley and I can't think of a more iconic western firearm or a neater gun-totin' gal.
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It'll be a real shame if the bison don't escape Yellowstone amidst sure signs of an impending eruption. At least this one will still be around.
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Questions and Comments


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Buffalo Phil's deep thoughts

Thank you Rachel for your virtual exhibit. It does indeed contain the seed of a reincarnated Center of the West. We could get just about everything into a getaway car but might have to return to chip bronzes out of the breccia!


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Marg2309's deep thoughts

I particularly like the references to YNP--if it blows up, one would certainly want some remembrances of what it looked like "way back when." I'd love to know your plan to take the Scout along with you!