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Annie Oakley - Little Sure Shot

Updated on June 3, 2011
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As a retired librarian, Yvonne finally has time to read! She enjoys sharing some of her favorite books and media with friends.

Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses

How many of you remember the beautiful, blond heroine of the Old West, Annie Oakley? She shot and rode her way across our television screens and became an instant hit with little girls all over America. She was one of the few female heroes of the old west and I, like many other little girls of the fifties, wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

But while we fell in love with this super hero in buckskin (played by actress, Gail Davis) the real Annie Oakley was an honest to goodness heroine and model of determination during a time when most people thought that a woman's place was in the home.

Annie Oakley - 1894 Original Footage

Annie Oakley in the Fifties

Since I grew up in the 50's and 60's, my first contact with Annie Oakley was the fictional television show on which the beautiful Annie, with the long gold braids did trick riding and always managed to save the day with her sharp shooting. After watching several episodes of this exciting program, I discovered a biography about Annie Oakley in the school library. To be truthful, I was a little disappointed as I read about the poor, rather coarse and unattractive dark haired young backwoods woman who could shoot a rifle better than most men.

Needless to say, at that time in the fifties, I wanted to be just like the blond haired beautiful Annie on TV, but in retrospect, I'm a little ashamed of those shallow feelings. As a grown up girl of the sixties and the woman's liberation movement, I now admire and respect the real Annie Oakley who, against all odds and the social norms of the time, used her great gift to become one of the few female western role models of her time. Her example that a woman can be a champion marksman, at a time when most people thought that a woman's place was in the home, was an extraordinary accomplishment.


Miss Annie Oakley by CircusArt

Annie Oakley, as she would come be to known by millions, was born on August 13, 1860 in Darke County, Ohio. She was the fifth of seven children. From the age of nine, she shot small game to help her widowed mother put food on the table.

When she was sixteen, Annie Moses become nationally know for her marksmanship after out shooting ranking marksman, Frank E. Butler, in Cincinnati.

Later Butler and Annie were married. They toured Vaudeville circuits and circuses until 1885 when they joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. She starred in "Buffalo Bill's Show" and was known as "Little Sure Shot". They stayed with the show for 17 years with Annie having top billing as "Miss Annie Oakley" "the Peerless Lady Wing Shot" and Butler, her husband, was her manager, promoter and attendant. Early on, Butler recognized Annie's star quality and crowd appeal and readily took a back seat to her.

At 30 paces, with a rifle, her amazing feats included hitting the thin edge of a playing card, a dime tossed in the air and the end of a cigarette held in Butlers lips.

Annie stayed active, even after a serious injury in a train wreck left her paralyzed for a time. She never gave up and at the age of sixty-two, in a shooting contest in Pinehurst, N.C. in 1922, Annie hit 100 clay targets, without missing, from the 16 yard mark.

She died at the age of sixty-seven of pernicious anemia on November 3, 1926 in Greenville, Ohio.

The Colonel and Little Missie

The story of Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and the Wild West Show, with 16 black and white pictures.

Which Annie Oakley do you identify with?

I wanted to be like Gail Davis in the Annie Oakley Show.

I wanted to be like Gail Davis in the Annie Oakley Show.

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    • ohcaroline 4 years ago

      I remember Gail Davis and the show. I was one little cowgirl at that time!

    • Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

      I confess, I wanted those gold braids & to stand up on a galloping horse & shoot the middle heart out of the 9 of hearts. A girl's gotta dream. But the real Annie Oakley was much more admirable.

    I think the real Annie Oakley had much more character.

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      • Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

        I never saw the TV show but there are plenty of glamorous actresses out there... there was only one Annie Oakley!

      Annie Oakley TV Show 1952-56

      Photo available at Swapsale

      The television program was a fictionalized story of the Annie Oakley story. Gail Davis played, Annie, a sharp-shootin', trick ridin' rancher lady. It was VERY unusual for a female to have the lead in any series, but in a Western was extremely rare.

      The series was geared toward children and was a big hit, especially with the girls. I was one of those little girls and wanted to learn how to shoot and ride. I also wanted long gold braids and a cow girl outfit. I did learn how to shoot and ride pretty well, but had to settle for golden brown braids in the late sixties and cut-off jeans with a peace symbol decorating them.

      Gail Davis was a marksman and a skilled rider and she did most of her own stunt work. She was definitely ahead of her time.

      Cast

      Gail Davis as Annie

      Jimmy Hawkins as brother, Tagg

      Brad Johnson as Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig

      Fess Parker as Tom Conrad

      Shelley Fabares as Trudy

      Horses: Target - Annie's horse

      Reference: fiftiesweb.com

      Annie Oakley Show Carnation Commercial

      Annie Gets Her Man

      Movies

      There were several movies about the life of Annie Oakley. Here are a few that I enjoyed:

      Annie Oakley (1935) Barbara Stanwyck

      Annie Get Your Gun (1950) Betty Hutton

      More Annie Oakley Movies

      Annie Get Your Gun Song

      Annie Oakley Costume

      I didn't get a cow girl outfit when I was a child, but maybe I could dress up now for Halloween or Mardi Gras. Better late than never, but I'm not sure about the spike heeled boots.

      Adult Annie Oakley Costume
      Price: 24.61
      Adult Annie Oakley Costume includes the cowgirl costume dress. Boots, gun and hat are sold separately.

      Rabbit Ears Treasury of Heroines - CD

      The Rabbit Ears Treasury of Heroines entertains and enlightens with classic stories of extraordinary women–read by favorite stars and featuring original music by some of today’s greatest artists.

      Old West Blanket

      Southwest Scene Woven Tapestry Throw
      Price: 59.95
      54" x 70" GINNY HOGAN - This fine tapestry throw is woven with a variety of cotton threads to display true woven art in an heirloom quality throw. 100% cotton, Easy care.

      Warrior's Horses Truce Throw

      Warriors Horses Truce Woven Tapestry Throw
      Price: 59.95
      54" x 70" This fine Warriors Horse Truce tapestry throw is woven with a variety of cotton threads to display true woven art in an heirloom quality throw. 100% cotton Made in the USA.

      Squid Lens Review - One Woman from the Old West
      Squid Lens Review - One Woman from the Old West


      Yahoo! Annie's been reviewed by Bev at Squid Lens Review - One Woman from the Old West. All you sharp shooters should ride right over and stay for a spell.


      You'll hit the bullseye with us if you leave a comment.

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          ohcaroline 4 years ago

          This brings back some sweet childhood memories.

        • missbat profile image

          missbat 6 years ago

          I remember reading about Annie Oakley in elementary school, plus I read "The Colonel and Little Missie" a couple of years back. What a great lens about a fascinating woman!

        • Mickie Gee profile image

          Mickie Goad 7 years ago

          I loved Betty Hutton as Annie! That is who I picture in my head. I really like this lens.

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

          I had to laugh at your comment about wanting her to be blond. I completely agree and had very much the same reaction. I did image her differently. Most Excellent lens. Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.

        • indigoj profile image

          Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

          She was certainly a fascinating character! I enjoyed learning more about her here.

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          GrowWear 7 years ago

          I remember Annie Get Your Gun, but I don't remember a lot of TV before the time of F Troop. :) I am guessing that the serial's creators were afraid to show Annie Oakley as someone less than pretty, yet they had no qualms about the show's opening where it shows a gun rotating on the screen to point and shoot at the viewer! ...Great lens about Annie Oakley!

        • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

          ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

          Annie Oakley's story is touching. She was an incredible woman.

          5* and lensroll to Annie Oakley.

          Lizzy

        • WindyWintersHubs profile image

          WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

          Great Info & Lens on Annie Oakley! She was an amazing lady of the Old West! :)

        • Stazjia profile image

          Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

          I was always Annie Oakley in games when I was a little girl. This lens brought back so many childhood memories - I'd completely forgotten about the TV show but recognised it as soon as I saw the photograph. Great lens, 5*.

        • drifter0658 lm profile image

          drifter0658 lm 8 years ago

          I live not far from Greenville and her heritage is still deeply rooted in the area. Annie was quite a gal in the way she used her talents to show that we are all equal.

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          kimmanleyort 8 years ago

          Love the videos and the layout of this lens. I had no idea there were so many Annie Oakley products out there. What a resource this lens is.

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          Sherry Venegas 8 years ago from La Verne, CA

          She was an amazing shot and shooter. I remember only having a picture of the series. Can't recall watching it on TV. This challenge has been fun reading.