Buffalo Bill
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 43° 31.987 W 096° 42.026
14T E 685807 N 4822588
Quick Description: At age 11, William F. Cody was forced to find work after his father died.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 4/29/2006 6:09:37 PM
Waymark Code: WMBHP
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member cary1952
Views: 28

Long Description:
Cody left his home in Leavenworth, Kansas, at the young age of eleven. He herded cattle and worked as a driver on a wagon train, crossing the Great Plains several times. He went on to fur trapping and gold mining, then joined the Pony Express in 1860. After the Civil War, Cody scouted for the Army and gained the nickname "Buffalo Bill" as a hunter. Cody’s life in the West offered the stuff from which legends were made and he soon was popularized in newspaper accounts and dime novels.

Buffalo Bill’s show business career began on December 17, 1872 in Chicago; he was age twenty-six. "The Scouts of the Prairie" was a drama created by dime novelist Ned Buntline, who appeared in it with Cody and another well-known scout, "Texas Jack" Omohundro. The show was a success, despite one critic’s characterization of Cody as "a good-looking fellow, tall and straight as an arrow, but ridiculous as an actor." 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.

The following season Cody organized his own troupe, the Buffalo Bill Combination. The troupe’ 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. That year the Wild West show was conceived. It was an outdoor spectacle, designed to both educate and entertain, using a cast of hundreds as well as live buffalo, elk, cattle, and other animals.

"Buffalo Bill’s Wild West" used real cow-boys and cow-girls, recruited from ranches in the West. At first, few people shared Cody's admiration of the cow-boys. 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 the Buffalo Bill Wild West shows. The shows demonstrated bronco riding, roping, and other skills that would later become part of public rodeos.
Buffalo Bill had a great love and concern for people, particularly children. Many free passes were distributed to orphanages when the Wild West show came to town. He also was a champion of women’s rights, advocating equal pay and voting rights for women. The women in his show received comparable pay for comparable work to the men in the show. In fact, the women in the Wild West often out-rode and out-gunned the men. Certainly the most famous was Annie Oakley, nicknamed Little Sure Shot by Sitting Bull.
Buffalo Bill came to Sioux Falls to the Tri-State Fair on Sept. 21, 1896. Over 25,000 people came to see the 3 hour afternoon and evening show.
Marker Name: Buffalo Bill

Marker Type: Other

Marker Text:
Minnehaha Historical Society Marker

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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