It so happened that the unprecedented popularity of Winnethe (the first volume of the trilogy was written in 1893) coincided with the discovery (or creation) of the idealized cowboy of the American ruling class, as Owen Wister, Frederick Remington and Theodore Roosevelt saw him. But they had nothing in common. Is that both of them can be attributed to the imperialists, since Karl Mai (who, despite his vaguely pacifist inclinations, Hitler greatly admired), like other European writers of this genre, of course, took for granted a certain superiority of the white man or even more German.
If there is something in common in the popularity of the “Western” myth on different continents in the 1890s, it is almost certainly due to Buffalo Bill, who began his world tour with the Wild West show in 1887 and sharply increased the public interest in cowboys, Indians and everything else wherever he went. Karl May was simply the most popular representative of the genre, while most of these works have long been forgotten, such as the novels of the Frenchman Gustave Amar (with names like “Arkansas Trappers”). I cite these examples solely in order to emphasize the fact that the European myth of the Wild West was not borrowed from the American, as, for example, a large part of English popular music was borrowed from the Broadway hits. European myth was a parallel course to the American since the days of Fenimore Cooper, and in fact even earlier. He maintained his independence until the beginning of the twentieth century, when he began to parasitize on a secondary Western product such as the novels of Clarence Malford, Max Brand and first of all Zein Gray (1875–1939), as well as on Western films. I believe that the earliest and most famous example of such borrowing is the first and only work that truly deserves the name of “horse opera”: “The Girl from the West” by Puccini (1907), created on the basis of the bright play Belasco.
And what about the fictional cowboy tradition that, as we have seen, originated in the 1890s and gradually, for at least about half a century, absorbed and dissolved the original international myth of the Wild West? Or even – what with the various invented cowboy traditions, since this literary and literary topos turned out to be extremely flexible and many-sided? There is no need to associate the emergence of this tradition with a certain moment in the history of America, marked by coincidence at the Chicago exhibition in 1893, where Frederick Turner gave a report on his Theory of Frontier before the American Historical Association, while outside the Buffalo Bill safari park with fauna Wild West, no longer occurring in natural conditions.