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Buffalo Bill

  • American celebrity
  • Born February 26, 1846
  • Died January 10, 1917

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto Township, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven, after his father's death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 15. During the American Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865.


My restless, roaming spirit would not allow me to remain at home very long.




I thought I was benefiting the Indians as well as the government, by taking them all over the United States, and giving them a correct idea of the customs, life, etc., of the pale faces, so that when they returned to their people they could make known all they had seen.




Quick as lightning Wild Bill pulled his revolver. The stranger fell dead, shot through the brain.




The cholera had broken out at the post, and five or six men were dying daily.




The first trip of the Pony Express was made in ten days - an average of two hundred miles a day. But we soon began stretching our riders and making better time.




You who live your lives in cities or among peaceful ways cannot always tell whether your friends are the kind who would go through fire for you. But on the Plains one's friends have an opportunity to prove their mettle.




I could never resist the call of the trail.




But the love of adventure was in father's blood.




Some days I would go without any fire at all, and eat raw frozen meat and melt snow in my mouth for water.




I had many enemies among the Sioux; I would be running considerable risk in meeting them.




Excitement was plentiful during my two years' service as a Pony Express rider.




My brother was a great favorite with everybody, and his death cast a gloom upon the whole neighborhood.




The audience, upon learning that the real Buffalo Bill was present, gave several cheers between the acts.




General Custer was a close observer and student of personal character.




My mother's sympathies were strongly with the Union. She knew that war was bound to come, but so confident was she in the strength of the Federal Government that she devoutly believed that the struggle could not last longer than six months at the utmost.




But the West of the old times, with its strong characters, its stern battles and its tremendous stretches of loneliness, can never be blotted from my mind.




Wild Bill was anything but a quarrelsome man yet I have personal knowledge of at least half a dozen men whom he had at various times killed.




We got more provisions for our whiskey than the same money, which we paid for the liquor, would have bought; so after all it proved a very profitable investment.




Frontiersmen good and bad, gunmen as well as inspired prophets of the future, have been my camp companions. Thus, I know the country of which I am about to write as few men now living have known it.




The first presentation of my show was given in May, 1883, at Omaha, which I had then chosen as my home. From there we made our first summer tour, visiting practically every important city in the country.




With the help of a friend I got father into a wagon, when the crowd had gone. I held his head in my lap during the ride home. I believed he was mortally wounded. He had been stabbed down through the kidneys, leaving an ugly wound.




My great forte in killing buffaloes was to get them circling by riding my horse at the head of the herd and shooting their leaders. Thus the brutes behind were crowded to the left, so that they were soon going round and round.




The Indians were well mounted and felt proud and elated because they had been made United States soldiers.




After crossing the Smoky Hill River, I felt comparatively safe as this was the last stream I had to cross.




I felt only as a man can feel who is roaming over the prairies of the far West, well armed, and mounted on a fleet and gallant steed.




The Free State men, myself among them, took it for granted that Missouri was a slave state.




My wife was delighted with the home I had given her amid the prairies of the far west.




It was because of my great interest in the West, and my belief that its development would be assisted by the interest I could awaken in others, that I decided to bring the West to the East through the medium of the Wild West Show.




Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.




It was my effort, in depicting the West, to depict it as it was.




My debut upon the world's stage occurred on February 26, 1845, in the State of Iowa.




Having secured my Indian actors, I started for Baltimore, where I organized my combination, and which was the largest troupe I had yet had on the road.




The greatest of all the Sioux in my time, or in any time for that matter, was that wonderful old fighting man, Sitting Bull, whose life will some day be written by a historian who can really give him his due.




I was persuaded now that I was destined to lead a life on the Plains.




The Confederates had suspected Wild Bill of being a spy for two or three days, and had watched him closely.




Stations were built at intervals averaging fifteen miles apart. A rider's route covered three stations, with an exchange of horses at each, so that he was expected at the beginning to cover close to forty-five miles - a good ride when one must average fifteen miles an hour.



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