Grand Duke AlexisIn January of 1872, the Russian Grand Duke Alexis went on what was called a “millionaire hunt.”
 
Because of his political influence, General Sheridan was instructed to make sure the 21-year-old Grand Duke had a good time. So General Sheridan selected George Armstrong Custer as the grand marshal, and Buffalo Bill Cody as the hunting guide.  
 
Buffalo Bill enlisted Sioux Chief Spotted Tail and 100 of his braves as entertainment. According to Buffalo Bill “the Duke Alexis paid considerable attention to a handsome Indian maiden.”
 
Protocol dictated that the Grand Duke should kill the first buffalo.   
 
The Grand Duke wanted to take his buffalo with a handgun. But after he emptied two pistols with no hits, Buffalo Bill gave the Grand Duke his buffalo rifle, “Lucretia”. The Grand Duke got his buffalo. Afterward, everyone drank champagne. Buffalo Bill, in his autobiography commented that he “was in hopes the Grand Duke Alexis would kill five or six more, if champagne was to be opened every time he dropped one.” 
 
One can only imagine the battle for the Grand Duke’s attention that took place between Buffalo Bill Cody and General Custer. However, it seems that the Grand Duke actually liked General Custer quite a bit. General Custer got a big hug from the Grand Duke. The two took pictures together following the hunt. And when General Custer was killed, the Grand Duke sent money to General Custer’s wife Libby. Buffalo Bill did get three buffalo’s head broaches. And then, don’t forget the free champagne.

Filed under: Old West History

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