Thursday, June 3, 2021

Wild West Chronicles— Annie Oakley: Rise of a Shooting Star

By Christopher Robinson, WMD Senior Editor

Since Annie Oakley herself is busy rehearsing, her uniquely legendary story is provided to Bat Masterson (Jack Elliott), now a reporter, by Frank Butler (John C. Woolley), Annie’s manager and husband.

In response to Bat’s question as to how the unknown Ohio girl became the greatest of all trickshooters and the first true celebrity woman in America, Frank takes us back to his earlier sharpshooter days when he accepts a turkey shoot challenge, betting on himself against an opponent of the other’s choosing. When the opponent turns out to be the young Annie Mosey (Cooper Hardin), he is reluctant but the spunky lass convinces him to take the challenge.

The confident rifle-wielding girl impresses the crowd with her remarkable shooting and she beats Frank 26-25, inadvertently sparking a slowly developing romance between the two performers. Within a year Annie and Frank marry and she becomes his assistant in his crumbling road show. Eventually, the stress of the act overwhelms Frank and he soon sees Annie overshadowing his performances. It is then that they mutually agree to put Annie’s talents front and center.

When their finances become jeopardized, Annie decides the couples’ only shot at success lies with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show which initially rejects their offer. Subsequently, a freak turn of events creates an opening in the celebrated tour and Annie wins over Cody by splitting the edge of a playing card with a bullet from several yards away. The Butlers tour the world with Cody and they live out many of their shared dreams.

From there, we get a personal perspective of how Annie’s story is very much Frank’s, and how his belief and pride in her is so valuable to her success and legacy.

Annie Oakley: Rise of a Shooting Star will premiere this Sunday, June 6th at 5:30PM ET and re-air Friday, June 11th at 11PM ET. Find out where to watch.

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