Did you know that William Frederick Cody was born today in 1846? He is better known as “Buffalo Bill”. He worked as a Pony Express rider, served with the Union during the American Civil War, as a frontier scout, and a supplier of buffalo meat to the Kansas Pacific Railroad. What brought him international fame was his show “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” (later “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders”) which toured American and Europe for almost 20 years. It was a circus-like performance that featured staged races, feats of frontier skill, and re-enactments of frontier life such as stagecoach robberies.
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William Cody had to start working at the age of 11, after the death of his father. At age 14 he wanted to join the gold rush, but was recruited by the Pony Express on his way to the gold fields. He started as a Pony Express rider when he was 15.
William Cody gained the nickname “Buffalo Bill” during an 8-hour competition. During that time William Cody won by killing 68 bison to his opponent, William Comstock’s, 48.
William Cody named his Springfield Model 1863 rifle “Lucretia Borgia” after the beautiful and ruthless Italian noblewoman.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West performed for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. During their European tours they also performed for Kaiser Wilhem II, and Pope Leo XIII.
Many legends from the American Frontier participated in the show including, Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, Calamity Jane, Lillian Smith, and Sitting Bull.