Traveling circuses in the 1880s frequently were the only entertainment with the possibility of a traveling medicine show. Medicine shows tended to play smaller towns, circuses, although in the 1880s-90s there were hundreds of them crisscrossing the country. A lot of towns of, say, 10,000 or larger had opera houses, so they did have other venues. But nothing was any more exciting than the circus coming to town. The town would literally close down. It was an essential part of the years excitement.