Buffalo Bill

William F. Cody

1846-1917

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Who was Buffalo Bill?=====
Born William F. Cody in Iowa in 1846, Buffalo Bill moved to Kansas with his mother in 1857. He wide range of jobs, like mounted messenger, prospector, soldier, and rider in the Pony Express. In 1867, Cody took the job that got him his name, hunting buffalo to feed railroad workers on the Kansas-Pacific railroad. He achieved fame in 1869 when a writer under the name of Ned Buntline made "Buffalo Bill" the hero in a series of dime novels. Once the books took off, Buntline had Cody star in his play, called The Scouts of the Plains. Cody's career took off from there, and in 1883 he introduced a show with some colleagues called "Buffalo Bill's Wild West".

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"Buffalo Bill's Wild West"=====
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"Buffalo Bill's Wild West" was a traveling outdoor show that depicted imaginative and romanticized views of frontier life, from Western sharpshooters to Cowboys versus Indians. The show featured Cody as the star, the rugged frontiersman whose stories captivated audiences. But he wasn't the only famous person who took part. Annie Oakley, the woman sharpshooter, and Sitting Bull, the Indian Chief who beat General Custer in battle, were featured on the show too after it took off. It wasn't just popular in America either. Americans and Europeans alike were amazed at the exploits of the Western man. The show ran from 1883 to 1913.

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Changing the View of the West=====
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Today, when many people think of the "Wild West", they think of shootouts and sheriffs. But the West back then wasn't exactly the same as the drama depicted in Buffalo Bill's show. Cody was an icon, and to the audience members he represented the West. They thought that the show was what life was actually like in the West. Most of them had never been down that far, so Cody's show was their only experience of that land's culture. They imagined that Buffalo Bill's highly romanticized portrayal was fact, and they couldn't get enough of it. Our views of the West today are greatly altered by wild west shows like Cody's, because those shows were what people remembered of the West.