Buffalo Bill


Buffalo Bill, more popularly known as Cody, was a famous showman and American scout. Bill grew famous at a fairly young age, thanks to his fictional depictions in several publications.

He later became globally renowned for his extraordinary traveling show called the ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’ show. His show would go on to feature some of the most colorful figures of the American West.

Early Life

Buffalo Bill was born in 1846 in Iowa. He and his family later moved to Kansas. Bill’s father died while he was still quite young, so Bill had to find a job to make ends meet.

One of his early jobs included working as a scout for the United States Army during the Utah War.

He also signed up for the revolutionary Pony Express which sped up the delivery of mail across the United States.

He later rejoined the army as a scout and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1872. By 1869, Buffalo Bill was 23 years old and had already participated in various adventurous jobs.

The Legend of Buffalo Bill

In 1869, publisher and writer Ned Buntline met Buffalo Bill. Buntline heard the stories and experiences of Cody and decided to write a novel based on them.

The novel became immensely popular and successful. This was in part due to the enduring fascination of the American public with the West during the 19th century.

During 1870s, the novel was followed by other sequels as well as similar works by other writers. All these made Cody a veritable legend of the American West and a well-recognized name across the United States.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

In 1872, Cody began his career as an actor and a showman. He first joined another show called ‘The Scouts of the Prairie’. His participation in several shows about the American west gave him the requisite experience to create his own show.

He did so in 1883 when he founded ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’, a show which earned him widespread fame and success. As part of the show, Cody traveled all over United States and also went to Europe.

His show was known for featuring real characters from the Wild West, such as the Indian chief Sitting Bull and Calamity Jane.

Cody also performed in front of many notable personalities of the time such as the Queen Victoria. He performed in Rome, Paris, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Belgium and a number of other European territories.

Relations with Native Americans

Cody believed that the Native Americans and their lifestyle needed preservation and protection. To this end, he himself regularly employed Native Americans and encouraged them to travel with the show along with their families.

The tents and families of the Native Americans served as a part of the shows attraction for the audiences.

He supported the civil rights of the Native Americans and believed that though they were once a foe, the Indians had been wrongfully deceived through broken promises by the government. Cody also supported the rights of the women.

Buffalo Bill Paperback – February 1, 1998