COWBOY UP: EVOLUTION OF THE FRONTIER HERO IN AMERICAN THEATER, 1872 – 1903

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Title: COWBOY UP: EVOLUTION OF THE FRONTIER HERO IN AMERICAN THEATER, 1872 – 1903
Author: Buss, Kato M. T.
Abstract: On the border between Beadle & Adam’s dime novel and Edwin Porter’s ground-breaking film, The Great Train Robbery, this dissertation returns to a period in American theater history when the legendary cowboy came to life. On the stage of late nineteenth century frontier melodrama, three actors blazed a trail for the cowboy to pass from man to myth. Frank Mayo’s Davy Crockett, William Cody’s Buffalo Bill, and James Wallick’s Jesse James represent a theatrical bloodline in the genealogy of frontier heroes. As such, the backwoodsman, the scout, and the outlaw are forbearers of the cowboy in American popular entertainment. Caught in a territory between print and film, this study explores a landscape of blood-and-thunder melodrama, where the unwritten Code of the West was embodied on stage. At a cultural crossroads, the need for an authentic, American hero spurred the cowboy to legend; theater taught him how to walk, talk, and act like a man.
Description: 215 pages
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/12302
Date: 2012-03


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