Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show

 

 

 

click above photograph to see larger image

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panorama Photograph of the entire Cast and Crew of the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show. It features a posed portrait of approx. 200 Cowboys, Cowgirls, Native American Indian Men Women and Children, Clowns, Band Members, Trick Rope Artists, Mexican Performers, management, road crew members, members of the African American Band, "Outlaws", "Heroes", etc. The photo was taken out of doors in front of what appear to be large Circus Tents and is titled in the negative "101 Ranch - Season 1913".

Photograph includes many of the most famous members of the 101 Wild West Show including Bill Picket, the great African American Rodeo Star; "Iron Tail", the Native American Oglala Sioux Chief who's profile was to be later found on the Buffalo / Indian Head Nickel; Hoot Gibson and Tom Mix of later Movie Fame and even the young Will Rogers.

The Millers' neighbor Major Gordon W. Lillie, who performed as "Pawnee Bill", motivated the Millers to produce a traveling Wild West Show of their own. The Millers made their transition from putting on local shows to the national scene in 1907, when they performed at the Jamestown Exposition in Virginia. In 1908, the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show began the tour circuit in Brighton Beach, New York. Joe Miller, the eldest, was an exceptional equestrian and star performer. Over the course of the show, it boasted famous performers such as Bill Picket, Bessie Herberg, Bee Ho Gray, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Will Rogers, Chief Iron Tail, Geronimo, Pecos "Bill" Higgins, Buck Jones, Rex Ritter, Bee Ho Gray, Bill Caress, Joe Lewis, Hank Darnell, Mabel Strickland, Jack Hoxie, Mexican Joe, and eventually Buffalo Bill.

 


 

Bee Ho Gray was my great uncle,

 

Here's a brief history of my great uncle. Bee Ho was part Chickasaw, part Cherokee and Anglo. He was born in Indian Territory in 1885 and was named by Quanah Parker (Comanche chief).

 

He and his brother and both of their wives performed with the 101 Ranch and all had 50-year careers in Western performance. He was also with Irwin Brothers, Colonel Cummins Wild West, California Frank's All-Star Wild West, in 1914 he was with Diamond Dick's Congress of World's Western Champions, several circuses and had his own Wild West show (Bee Ho Gray's Wild West, ca. 1919-1932).

 

He escorted Iron Tail to New York to model for the "Indian Head Nickel." He held the World Champion Trick Roper title for several years. He taught many of his best tricks to Will Rogers (as acknowledged by Rogers in one of his books).

 

He was in several silent Western films including the legendary "Greed" by Erich von Stroheim. He performed with people like Fred Stone and Bing Crosby until his death in 1951.

 

Clark Gray

 


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