An English Westerners' Society Publication


Black Elk, Mexican Joe & Buffalo Bill:

The Real Story


Tom F. Cunningham



Images above are Black Elk, Mexican Joe and Buffalo Bill


This is the real story behind Black Elk's time in Europe based on extensive research by the author, as a result of his dissatisfaction with earlier work that tended to dismiss Mexican Joe's outfit as "a show that left little trace."

Readers will have been familiar with Black Elk from his autobiography Black Elk Speaks written on his behalf by John G. Neihardt and Colonel William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, needs no introduction. Less may be known about Mexican Joe, who was “Colonel” Joe Shelley and not to be confused with another Wild West Show performer with the same nickname, Jose Barrera.

This book provides insights into Black Elk's time with Mexican Joe's show from May 1888, after being left behind with three other young Lakota's who had been with Buffalo Bill's Wild West tour, until he left Mexican Joe's outfit in the spring of 1889 through ill-health. He would eventually rejoin with Buffalo Bill and eventually return to the Pine Ridge Reservation in the USA that same year. Unlike Buffalo Bill's show, Mexican Joe's had no seasons and toured Europe from  the summer of 1887 until its collapse in 1894.

English Westerners' Society Brand Book Volume 48, No. 2

Price £4.00 ($8.00) to Subscribing Members of EWS includes postage and packaging.

Price £4.00 ($8.00) to Non Subscribing Members through EWS excludes postage and packaging.

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