Long before the screen placed the face of Mary Pickford before the eyes of millions of Americans, this girl, born August 13, 1860 as Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses, had won the right to the title of “America’s Sweetheart.” Having grown up learning to shoot game to help support her family, Annie won first prize and met her future husband at a shooting match when she was fifteen years old. He convinced her to change her name to Annie Oakley and became her husband, manager, and number-one fan for the next fifty years.Annie quickly gained worldwide fame as an incredible crack shot, and could amaze audiences at her uncanny accuracy with nearly any rifle or pistol, whether aiming at stationary objects or shooting fast-flying targets from the cockpit of a moving airplane.
In August 1903, when she was well known as a champion shot in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Oakley became a target of defamation by a reporter for a newspaper owned by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. The libelous story alleged that the famous sure shot had been arrested for stealing and buying drugs. Annie sent a telegram denying the claim and asked the story to be retracted. Hearst refused and the story was then published in all his newspapers. Miss Oakley responded with a libel suit and spent seven years in court fighting the well-known businessman.
During the long, drawn-out legal battle, Annie was struggling with health issues. Despite these trials she poured her energy into advocating for the U.S. military, encouraging women to engage in sport shooting, and supporting orphans.
Chris Enss is an author, scriptwriter and comedienne who has written for television and film, and performed on cruise ships and on stage. She has worked with award-winning musicians, writers, directors, producers, and as a screenwriter for Tricor Entertainment, but her passion is for telling the stories of the men and women who shaped the history and mythology of the American West. Some of the most famous names in history, not to mention film and popular culture, populate her books. She's written or co-written more than two dozen books for TwoDot. And she's also a licensed private detective. She lives in Grass Valley, California.
Howard Kazanjian is an award-winning producer and entertainment executive who has been producing feature films and television programs for more than twenty-five years. He lives in San Marino, California.