William Frank "Doc" Carver (1851 – 1927). American sharpshooter and creator of a popular diving horse attraction.
was trained as a dentist and hence acquired the nickname "Doc". He
migrated to the West in 1872, where he practiced dentistry at Fort
McPherson and North Platte, Nebraska. He later attempted to distance
himself from his early profession as a dentist, but the name "Doc" clung
He migrated to California in 1876, where he honed his shooting skills.
Carver went into partnership with Buffalo Bill Cody to put a Wild West
show on the road. The grand opening of the "Wild West: Hon. W. F. Cody
and Dr. W. F. Carver's Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition" was in
Omaha, Nebraska, on May 17, 1883. The show was an immediate success, but
the relationship between the two showmen, Carver and Cody, was
contentious from the beginning. At the end of the season they parted
ways and divided the assets by the flip of a coin. Cody then formed a
partnership with the promoter and showman Nate Salsbury, and the show
continued as Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
After the breakup of his show
Carver put together a smaller show, which featured trained animals and
shooting exhibitions. His biographer wrote that Carver added the diving
horse act to the show in Kansas City, Missouri, in August 1894. Over the
next few years the other acts were eliminated, and the diving horse
exhibition became Carver's primary endeavor. Included in the touring
company were his son, Al, who helped train and take care of the horses,
and his daughter, Lorena, said to be the first rider. By the time his
future daughter-in-law, Sonora Webster, joined the show in 1924, Carver
had two diving teams on the road, each performing in a different city.
"The six foot four inch Carver weighed some 200 pounds and long red
hair fell in well combed ringlets over massive shoulders. Historians
often referred to him as the most handsome man who ever held a gun."
auburn hair was a flowing, wavy mane, and his ruddy face was splashed
with a vivid red mustache."
study in thigh-high boots and shoulder-length red hair..." https://books.google.it/
"At six foot four, with flowing red hair and a prominent jaw, he was an
imposing figure and natural star..." https://books.google.it