The train carrying Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to winter quarters in 1901 collided with another locomotive. Several persons died in the accident. More than a hundred were injured, among them Annie Oakley, Geronimo’s “Little Miss Sure-Shot.”
Husband Frank Butler pulled her unconscious from the wreckage. In the hospital afterwards he paced the room, always returning to her bedside, watching. She teetered between life and death that night. He saw a remarkable transformation as she did. Her thick chestnut hair began to change color. It continued to change over the next 17 hours. At the end of that time the doctors said she would survive but might not walk or shoot again. At the end of that time, her chestnut hair had turned white. She did walk again. She did shoot again. Two years later she appeared at the traps of a New Jersey gun club. She called, “Pull”, instantly cradled the gun to her shoulder and splintered the target. Annie Oakley smiled and said, “...Good as ever!” But she was never again the chestnut-haired woman. Without her knowledge, under duress she had never before experienced, those 17 hours hovering between life and death aged her body, if not her shooting skill. Crisis can prematurely age us. Great American Folklore, 491-492.