Annie Oakley’s real name was Phoebe Moses and she was born in Darke County, Ohio in 1860. She helped her family survive by hunting and selling game, or wild animals.
Though she learned to use a rifle for practical reasons, she eventually became a skilled sharpshooter (a person skillful in hitting a target). She met her husband, Frank Butler, in a shooting contest in Ohio, and legend has it that she won the match with 25 out of 25 shots, to his 24.
Together, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley created a show and began to travel around the country giving shooting demonstrations, even joining the circus as “champion rifle shots.”
The husband-and-wife team joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1885 and toured with the show for sixteen years. This celebration of the “Old West” included skits of stage robberies, gunfights, and military exhibitions.
Though most heroes of the “Wild West” were men, Buffalo Bill’s show celebrated Annie Oakley’s skills, and she became one of the most famous women of the West.
Her nickname, "Little Sure Shot", was given to her by Chief Sitting Bull who was so amazed by her skills.
Once, at the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, she knocked the ashes off a cigarette he was holding in his mouth.
She was severely injured in 1901 when the train that carried the Wild West show collided with another and she became partially paralyzed. She performed again but not as the same Annie. She died in 1926, a few years after an auto accident from which she never regained her health.