Buffalo Bill

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Buffalo Bill One of the most colorful figures of the Old West became the best known spokesman for the New West. He was born William Frederick Cody in Iowa in 1846. At 22, in Kansas, he was rechristened "Buffalo Bill". He had been a trapper, a bullwhacker, a Colorado "Fifty-Niner", Pony Express rider (1860), wagonmaster, stagecoach driver, Civil War soldier, and even hotel manager. He earned his nickname for his skill while supplying Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. He was about to embark on a career as one of the most illustrious prairie scouts of the Indian Wars. From 1868 through 1872 he was continously employed by the United States Army, a record in the hazardous and uncertain scouting profession. He won the congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 and was ever after the favorite scout of the Fifth Cavalry. The men of the Fifth considered Buffalo Bill to be "good luck." He kept them from ambush, he guided them to victory, and his own fame reflected glory on the regiment. Cody considered himself lucky too. He was lucky to have been wounded in action just once, and then it was "only a scalp wound." But mostly he felt lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. In 1872 he appeared on stage for the first time, playing himself in "Scouts of the Prairie." Thereafter he continued to act in the winter and scout for the Fifth in the summer. The Wild West show was inaugurated in Omaha in 1883 with real cowboys and real Indians portraying the "real West." The show spent ten of its thirty years in Europe. In 1887 Buffalo Bill was a feature attraction at Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. At the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, only Egypt's gyrations rivalled the Wild West as the talk of Chica... ... middle of paper ... ...hat he really wanted to be buried near Cody, close friends like Goldie Griffith and Johnny Baker, as well as the priest who administered last rites, affirmed that Lookout Mountain was indeed his choice. On June 3, 1917, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain, a promontory with spectacular views of both the mountains and plains, places where he had spent the happiest times of his life. Louisa, who had married Buffalo Bill back before he became famous, was buried next to her husband four years later. That year, 1921, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum was begun by Johnny Baker, close friend and unofficial foster son to Buffalo Bill. Just as millions of people saw Buffalo Bill in his Wild West shows during his life, millions of persons have visited Buffalo Bill’s grave in the years since 1917. Today it is one of the top visitor attractions in Denver and Colorado.

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