An aged Western showman reflects over his long and colorful career
Few bother to separate the myth of Colonel Hugh Cardiff from his real life. The nation knows him as a sharpshooter, buffalo hunter, moving pictures pioneer, and one-time proprietor of the greatest Wild West show the nation has ever seen. Some of the stories are true, some exaggerated, and some rank among the wildest of tall tales. But for a man who has lived like Colonel Cardiff, the facts trump the myth. In the spring of 1868, Denver is the richest, wildest city west of the Mississippi. When an overweight Easterner named Dr. Bogardus rolls into town to announce a shooting contest with a $1,000 prize, ears prick up. Young Hugh wins the shoot with an ancient muzzle-loading rifle, knocking glass balls out of the air and missing only four out of one hundred targets. He is famous at nineteen, and the Colonel’s wild life is just getting started.