Scotland Meets the American West at Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill Historical Center

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As Americans traveled West in the 19th century, many of those making the journey were of Scots or Scots-Irish descent. With an afternoon of public programs and an evening lecture, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, celebrates the love that Scots have for the American West starting on Saturday, April 21, 2 – 4 p.m. in the Center’s Coe Auditorium.

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Greeting the Trappers by Alfred Jacob Miller, ca. 1837

Scottish immigrants have always added more to the story of the American West than a mere Scottish brogue.

Scottish immigrants have always added more to the story of the American West than a mere Scottish brogue. Take, for example, William Drummond Stewart, the Scot who paid a fur trading company $500 in 1833 to tag along as they delivered goods to the annual Green River Rendezvous in Wyoming or Thomas Moonlight, the Scot whom President Grover Cleveland appointed as Territorial Governor of Wyoming in 1887.

As it commemorates the Scottish holiday of Glen Saturday, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, celebrates the love that Scots have for the American West with its very own “Glen Saturday” on Saturday, April 21, starting with a series of presentations 2 – 4 p.m. in the Center’s Coe Auditorium. Patrons of the Historical Center are admitted free of charge; the program is also free with paid admission.

Speaking about Scotland and the American West are Chris Dixon, Senior Research Fellow, and Dr. John Young, Senior Lecturer, in the School of Humanities at the Glasgow, Scotland, University of Strathclyde, as well as Jeremy Johnston, managing editor of the Center’s Papers of William F. Cody.

Curt DiCamillo, an American architectural historian and authority on the British country house—also the executive director of the National Trust for Scotland Foundation U.S.A.—presents the keynote address at 8 p.m. titled “Tartan Tales: Stories from Historic Scottish Houses.” Preceding the lecture, a cocktail reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30. The cost for the reception, dinner, and lecture is $50 per person. Make reservations by calling 307.578.4126 or 307.578.4127.

“In the 1700s, population growth, agricultural modernization, and political upheaval in Scotland were the driving forces behind more than 50,000 immigrants crossing the Atlantic,” Johnston says. “Wyoming history is awash with tales of Scots in the territory.

“In fact, the state has marked its historic links with Scotland in monumental fashion when it unveiled Henry Snell Gamley’s bronze statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns near the Capitol Building in Cheyenne. Here in our area, the Bighorn Basin Scottish Society has celebrated the birthday of Robert Burns for many, many years, and is collaborating with us on the Glen Saturday celebration.” The Society continues the celebration with brunch at the Center on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $25.

Glen Saturday marks the date when the children of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, Scotland, went to Crawfurdland Castle to pick daffodils. It was—and still is customary—for the children of the town to go in droves to the castle to gather “glens,” a term for the yellow flowers growing in abundance on a lawn behind the mansion.

“We have good precedent for a Scotland/American West exchange,” Johnston continues. “Our namesake, William F. ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody, took his Wild West show to Scotland at the turn of the 20th century. Our lecture series event stems from an ongoing relationship between the Historical Center and Strathclyde that has already produced in a short time, two conferences, books from Chris Dixon, student research in Europe, and a greater understanding of the Wild West’s impact in Europe. Our hope is that Glen Saturday becomes an annual event, and that we’ll become the central repository of the Scottish experience of the American West.”

For more information about Glen Saturday at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, visit our Web site, or call 307.578.4126 or 307.578.4127. To learn more about the Papers of William F. Cody, visit

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and Yellowstone natural history—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its spring schedule, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. For general information, visit our Web site or call 307.587.4771.

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Marguerite House

Jeremy Johnston
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