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Daughter of Dawn / Cherokee Bill

October 18, 2000

Historian's Notes

I found out about the Daughter of Dawn movie premier just by flipping through the Chronicles of Oklahoma one day. It was an interesting story; one that I had never heard of before and I thought that it would make for a good Almanac feature.

Of all of Oklahoma's outlaws, and there were and are plenty, one of the more interesting, in my opinion, was Cherokee Bill. Violent, crazy and just "out there," Cherokee Bill never really made it to the level of big-time crook but always made interesting news wherever he went.

Resources for "Daughter of Dawn":

Chronicles of Oklahoma. (Fall. 1999). 77, (3).

Resources for "Cherokee Bill":

Shirley, G. (1994). Marauders of the Indian Nations: The Bill Cook Gang and Cherokee Bill. Stillwater, OK: Barbed Wire Press.

Almanac Transcript

Hello, I'm Steven Kite welcoming you to the Oklahoma Audio Almanac where we turn the pages of history to bring you the stories of our state's past.

On October 17 1920 movie critics and film fans flocked to theaters in Los Angeles for a sneak preview of the silent film, Daughter of Dawn. The audiences enjoyed the film giving it high marks for both its technical and artistic aspects as well as its entertainment value. For Oklahoma, Daughter of Dawn was a major success story; the film was shot entirely within the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma and featured an all Oklahoma cast of Kiowa and Comanche tribal members. Some of the more prominent players in the film included White and Wanada Parker son and daughter of the famous Comanche leader, Quanah Parker. The film featured approximately a dozen prominent characters and utilized over 100 extras. Basically a standard love triangle plot, Daughter of Dawn told the story of a Comanche chief's daughter torn between two lovers, one wealthy but cowardly, the other poor but honest and loyal. A contest of bravery involving a dangerous jump off of a cliff reveals the true nature of each man. The cowardly lover disgraced by his failing defects to the rival Kiowa tribe and joins in a failed attack on the Comanche village. When the Comanches successfully repel the attack the Chief gladly sends his daughter off with her true love and the young lovers, paddling together in a canoe, sail into the proverbial sunset.

October seems to be a month for outlaw activity in Oklahoma and in 1894 one of the most feared of all of the territory outlaws was at the height of his notoriety. On October 20th 1894, Crawford Goldsby or Cherokee Bill as he was better known, robbed a train at the Coretta siding south of Wagoner. The train was run onto a siding where it crashed into a line of empty boxcars. Cherokee Bill and his accomplices riddled the disabled train with bullets and robbed all of the passengers on board including two US Marshals and two Railroad security officers. The train robbery at Coretta is considered by some to be the masterpiece of Cherokee Bill's various crimes and one as well that increased both his notoriety and the bounty for his eventual capture. Oklahoma goes Hollywood and brazen outlaws this week in the Audio Almanac.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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