“Well, night came. The house was packed. Up went the curtain. Buntline appeared as Cale Durg, an old Trapper, and at a certain time Jack and I were to come on. But we were a little late, and when I made my appearance, facing 3,000 people, among them General Sheridan and a number of army officers, it broke me all up and I could not remember a word. All that saved me was my answer to a question put by Buntline. He asked, ‘What detained you?’ I told him I had been on a hunt with Milligan. You see Milligan was a prominent Chicago gentleman who had been hunting with me a short time before on the plains, and had been chased by the Indians, and the papers had been full of his hunt for some time; Buntline saw that I was ‘up a stump,’ for I had forgotten my lines, and he told me to tell him about the hunt. I told the story in a very funny way, and it took like wild-fire with the audience.
“While I was telling the story, Buntline had whispered to the stage manager that when I got through with my story to send on the Indians. Presently Buntline sung out: ‘The Indians are upon us.’ Now this was ‘pie’ for Jack and I, and we went at those bogus Indians red hot until we had killed the last one and the curtain went down amid a most tremendous applause, while the audience went wild. The other actors never got a chance to appear in the first act. Buntline said, ’Go ahead with the second act, it’s going splendid.’ I think that during the entire performance, neither Jack nor myself spoke a line of our original parts. But the next morning the press said it was the best show ever given in Chicago, as it was so bad it was good, and they could not see what Buntline was doing all the time if it took him four hours to write that drama.
“Our business was immense all that season, and if we had been managed properly we would have each made a small fortune. As it was I came out $10,000 ahead. In June, 1873, I returned to the plains, came East again in the fall, this time my own manager. I got a company, took the noted ‘Wild Bill’ with me, but could not do much with him as he was not an easy man to handle, and would insist on shooting the supers in the legs with powder, just to see them jump. He left a few months later and returned to the plains. He was killed in August, 1876, in Deadwood.
“In the summer of 1876 I was Chief of Scouts under General Carr, afterward with General Crook and General Terry.
“On the 17th of July I killed Yellow Hand, a noted Cheyenne chief, and took the first scalp for Custer. I returned to the stage in October, 1876, and during the season of 1876 and 1879 I cleared $38,000. I have generally been successful financially on the stage. I am now in the cattle business in Nebraska, to which place I will return as soon as the season is over, providing nothing serious occurs to call me home earlier.”
The yellow hand duel.