Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend


'This is the remarkable story of an amazing life. Cody not only lived the adventure of the frontier, he helped create the American West of the imagination. A fascinating story and a must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of the Western myth.' -Casey Tefertiller, Author, Wyatt Earp:The Life Behind the Legend Who was the real Buffalo Bill? This engrossing biography brings to thrilling life the frontier hero who is responsible for creating the lasting legend of the Wild West. Author Robert Carter takes us back to the Great Plains, where William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody emerges in his many incarnations:as a buffalo hunter, a Civil War cavalry scout, an Indian fighter, a Pony Express rider, until, finally, he conceives of the show that made him famous throughout the world-the Wild West Exhibitions. In Buffalo Bill Cody, the first full biography in over thirty years, we are given an intimate glimpse into the exhilarating life of this one-of-a-kind frontiersman and enormously popular showman, from his famous exploits to the lesser-known dramas surrounding his life. We gain fresh insights about many of the mysteries of Buffalo Bill's life, including whether he indeed killed Yellow Hand-the 'first scalp for Custer.' Elegantly written, Buffalo Bill Cody is a spellbinding achievement that not only reveals the truth behind this legendary subject, but also explores the myths of the Wild West that he created, which live on to this day.


Who was Buffalo Bill Cody? Most people know, at the very least, that he was a hero of the Old West, like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Kit Carson—one of those larger-than-life figures from which legends are made. Cody himself provided such a linkage to his heroic predecessors in 1888 when he published a book with biographies of Boone, Crockett, Carson—and one of his own autobiographies: Story of the Wild West and Campfire Chats, by Buffalo Bill (Hon. W.F. Cody), a Full and Complete His/ tory of the Renowned Pioneer Quartette, Boone, Crockett, Carson and Buffalo Bill. In this context, Cody was often called “the last of the great scouts.”

Some are also aware that he was an enormously popular showman, creator and star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, a spectacular entertainment of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

It has been estimated that more than a billion words were written by or about William Frederick Cody during his own lifetime, and biographies of him have appeared at irregular intervals ever since. A search of “Buffalo Bill Cody” on amazon.com reveals twenty-seven items. Most of these, however, are children's books, and it is likely that many of them play up the more melodramatic and questionable aspects of his life story; a notable exception is Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's Buffalo Bill, which is solidly based on fact. Cody has also shown up in movies and television shows, though not in recent years, for whatever else he was, he was never cool or cynical. As his latest biographer, I believe his life has a valuable contribu/ tion to make in this new millennium—it provides a sense of who we once were and who we might be again. He was a commanding presence in our American history, a man who helped shape the way we look at that his/ tory. It was he, in fact, who created the Wild West, in all its adventure, violence, and romance.

Buffalo Bill is important to me as the symbol of the growth of our nation, for his life spanned the settlement of the Great Plains, the Indian . . .

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