History & Research
William F. Cody is an American hero who lived during the Old West, where he was known as “Buffalo Bill.” His talent for hunting buffalo gained him this nickname early on. Eventually, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show traveled around the world, helping people to see what life was like here in America during that time period.
From Childhood to Fame
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in 1846 and grew up in Iowa, KS. When he was 11, he moved out to work as a cattle herder and wagon train driver.
Buffalo Bill went on to work as a fur trapper, gold miner, and was a member of the Pony Express for a while. Around 1860 he became an Army scout. He got the nickname “Buffalo Bill” after he became well-known as a hunter. After the Civil War, he went back to work as an army scout and eventually founded what is now one.
Cody’s adventures in the west made him a famous figure. He was soon featured in newspapers and shifty penny novels.
Buffalo Bill on Stage
Buffalo Bill had a successful career in show business back when he was in his 20s. He started off in 1872 when he was 26 years old with “Scouts of the Prairie” which also starred dime novelist Ned Buntline and Texas Jack Omohu.
Critics may make a show a success or not, but this critic sure didn’t intimidate Cody.
When Cody put on his act, he had the audience charmed and wowed. One critic noted how real Buffalo Bill’s performance seemed even though this was an actor of sorts.
Buffalo Bill became a successful showman and organizer of his own troupe after the Civil War. The Buffalo Bill Combination’s entertainment performances included Buffalo and Texas Jack and Cody’s old friend Wild Bill Hickok.
Read more: Colorado Railroad Museum near Lakewood CO
Wild Bill and Texas Jack left the show eventually, but Cody continued organizing a variety output until 1882. It was that year when he conceived and launched an American Wild West show.
They were put on for both educational and entertainment purposes, with a cast of hundreds of people as well as live buffalo, elk, cattle etc.
Exhibits & Events
The museum (which is only 15 miles from Central Lakewood) highlights Buffalo Bill’s personal history and his role in the Wild West shows. Many artifacts and pieces of memorabilia are on display, including items from his Native American culture and guns that he might have used.
The collection in the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave includes many Old West objects such as Sitting Bull’s bow and arrows, Buffalo Bill’s show outfits, Frederick Remington’s “Portrait of a Ranch Hand,” and more. You can find these items and more!
A Grave with a View
If you’ve never been to his grave before, now’s the time to finally visit. His grave overlooks the beautiful Great Plains and Rockies, attracting 400,000 annual visitors.