You would have needed one of these to see The Great Train Robbery when it came out in 1903. Actually, you might have needed two of them. In 1903, the nickelodeon had not yet been established as a venue for motion picture exhibition. If you lived in a town on one of the regular vaudeville circuits, you would have been more likely to see The Great Train Robbery on a vaudeville program. The cheapest admission to that would normally have been ten cents, but of course you would have been treated to a full bill of live vaudeville acts, in addition to the one or two short movie attractions. If you lived in a place off of a regular vaudeville circuit, you might have seen the film in a traveling tent show, as a sideshow attraction at a local fair or in a hall rented for the purpose by an itinerant exhibitor.
In any case, hundreds of thousands of people paid hundreds of thousands of nickels to see The Great Train Robbery in 1903 and in the years following. It was the first sensationally successful American story film. It help establish the story film as the primary form of movie entertainment and also helped establish the Western as a vital genre of that form.