Buffalo Bill


Elle Ortner, Reporter

Buffalo Bill, or William Fredrick Cody, was born on February 26, 1846, and died on January 10, 1917.  In his 70 years, Buffalo Bill had four or five children. Kit Carson Cody, Cody’s only biological son, lived only 6 years. Irma Louisa Cody, lived 45 years, Arta Cody, lived 38 years, and Orra Maud Cody, lived 11 years. Ranger Bill Miller, who toured with the show claimed that he was Cody’s adopted son, however, according to both Codys, and Millers descendants, he was not.

At age 14 Buffalo Bill, very fitting for the advertised job, ”skinny, expert riders willing to risk death daily”, joined the Pony express. Cody later served in the civil war for the union (North). In 1867 He began Buffalo hunting to feed construction workers on the railroad, which gave him his name. According to Cody, he killed 4,280 buffalo in about a year and a half. He returned to the Army in 1868 as chief of scouts, he was given the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 which was taken away then reinstated.

As for show life, Cody had his stage debut on The Scouts of the Prairie in 1872. Cody toured with this troupe for ten years before funding his on show Buffalo Bills Wild West. Cody’s show was circus-like and incorporated animals and some Native Americans (to make it more “authentic”). Cody exaggerated the west to make it appear more interesting and exciting to the usual crowds of 20,000 people. Cody’s show included reenactments of a pony express relay, attack on dead wood stage, and Custer’s last stand. There were also many outdoor western skills like bulldogging, sharpshooting, and rope tricks.