Tag Archive for: American Heroes Series


This is the first in our American Heroes Series. We want Americans to be proud of who we are and to know about the real life heroes who were born and raised in the United States of America.

We begin with a brief history of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody from the Buffalo Bill Museum.

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in LeClaire, Iowa, in 1846. While he was still a child, his family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. Cody left home at the young age of eleven to herd cattle and work as a driver on a wagon train, crossing the Great Plains several times. He went on to fur trapping and gold mining, then joined an early version of the Pony Express in 1860. After the Civil War, Cody scouted for the Army and gained the nickname “Buffalo Bill” as a hunter providing meat for the railroad workers. While he was known locally for his endeavors it was not until he met Ned Buntline, a dime novelist, who transformed his life into a series of larger-than-life stories that he became famous.

Buffalo Bill’s show business career began on December 17, 1872, in Chicago. He was twenty-six years old. Scouts of the Prairie was a drama created by Ned Buntline, who appeared in it with Cody and another well-known scout, “Texas Jack” Omohundro. The show was a success, despite some critics commenting on the quality of acting in the show. Other critics noted Cody’s manner of charming the audience and the realism he brought to his performance. Actor or not, Buffalo Bill was a showman and audiences were delighted to see him on stage.

The following season Cody organized his own troupe, the Buffalo Bill Combination. The troupe’s show Scouts of the Plains included Buffalo Bill, Texas Jack, and Cody’s old friend “Wild Bill” Hickok.

Wild Bill and Texas Jack eventually left the show, but Cody continued staging a variety of plays until 1882, the year Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was conceived.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was an outdoor spectacle, using hundreds of performers, as well as live buffalo, elk, cattle, and other animals. Cody and the show’s management team believed it both educated and entertained visitors.

The Wild West used real cowboys and cowgirls, recruited from ranches in the West. At first, few people shared Cody’s admiration of the cowboys. Most people regarded them as coarse cattle drivers and used the term cow-boy as an insult. By the end of the 19th century, the cow-boy became the much more popular cowboy, thanks in large part to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. The shows demonstrated bronco riding, roping, and other skills that would later become part of rodeos.

Read more about William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

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