William Cody (Buffalo Bill)

William Cody (Buffalo Bill)


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William Cody (Buffalo Bill) nasceu perto de Le Claire, Iowa, em 26 de fevereiro de 1846. Sua família mudou-se para o Kansas em 1854 e se estabeleceu perto de Leavenworth.

Cody trabalhou como mensageiro expresso e aos 12 anos afirmou que matou seu primeiro nativo americano. Mais tarde, ele trabalhou como motorista em Fort Laramie. Cody também tentou fazer fortuna como mineiro de ouro. Isso não teve sucesso e em 1860 Cody tornou-se um piloto Pony Express. Mais tarde, ele disse ao escritor Ned Buntline que estabeleceu um recorde ao pedalar 322 milhas em 21 horas e 30 minutos.

Durante a Guerra Civil Americana, ele serviu como batedor para o 9º Kansas Volunteers na Santa Fe Trail. Mais tarde, ele se juntou ao 7º Kansas Volunteers.

Depois da guerra, Cody trabalhou como motorista de palco de Fort Kearny a Plum Creek. Em 1867 ele foi contratado como escoteiro pelo General George A. Custer. Em seguida, obteve-se um contrato para matar búfalos para a empresa fornecedora de alimentos para os homens que construíam a ferrovia Union Pacific. Mais tarde, Cody se gabou de ter matado 4.280 búfalos em 17 meses, usando um rifle Springfield de 50 clibres. Embora a maioria das pessoas pensasse que isso era um exagero selvagem, ele recebeu o apelido de Buffalo Bill.

Em 1868, Cody foi nomeado pelo general Philip H. Sheridan como batedor-chefe da 5ª Cavalaria. Ele ocupou este cargo durante a campanha republicana do rio. Junto com Frank North e seus Pawnee Scouts, Cody participou da vitória sobre os guerreiros Cheyenne em Summit Springs, Colorado, em 11 de julho de 1869. Cody mais tarde afirmou que havia matado seu líder, Tall Bull, mas isso foi contestado por outros que foram envolvidos na operação.

Além de patrulhar o exército, Cody trabalhou como guia para pessoas que queriam caçar búfalos. Isso inclui levar o Grão-duque Alexis da Rússia para o que ficou conhecido como a Grande Caça Real ao Búfalo. Durante esse tempo, ele conheceu o escritor Ned Buntline. Isso resultou no artigo, Buffalo Bill: Rei dos Homens da Fronteira, que apareceu no New York Weekly em 1869. Essa publicidade ajudou Cody a receber a Medalha de Honra do Congresso.

Em 1872, Cody apareceu em uma peça em Chicago escrita por Buntine chamada Os Batedores da Pradaria. Foi um grande sucesso e Cody saiu em turnê com a peça. Mais tarde ele apareceu em Batedores das Planícies, uma peça escrita por Fred Maeder.

Em 1876, Cody voltou a trabalhar como batedor do General George Crook nas guerras contra os Sioux. Em julho daquele ano, ele matou e escalpelou o chefe Cheyenne Mão Amarela em batalha enquanto servia na 5ª Cavalaria. No ano seguinte, Cody juntou-se a seu velho amigo, Frank North, para comprar um rancho no rio Dismal em Nebraska.

Cody achou o trabalho muito monótono e decidiu voltar ao show business e em 1882 estabeleceu seu Wild West Show. Ele recrutou várias pessoas famosas para atuar em seu show, incluindo Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud e Frank North. Isso incluiu reconstituições da Última Resistência de Custer, ataques de nativos americanos a diligências e cowboys exibindo suas habilidades.

Em 1887, Cody fez uma turnê pela Europa com seu show e fez uma apresentação especial em Londres na frente da Rainha Vitória e da Família Real. O Príncipe de Gales (o futuro Eduardo VII) ficou tão impressionado que o viu três vezes. Cody e sua equipe também atuaram na França, Espanha, Itália, Alemanha, Áustria e Bélgica. Em 1893, o Wild West Show de Cody foi a atração principal da Exposição Colombiana Mundial de Chicago.

Cody fez fortuna com seu Wild West Show, mas maus investimentos lhe causaram problemas financeiros. Em 1908, ele fundiu suas operações com Pawnee Bill Show, do Major Gordon W. Lillie. Isso não teve sucesso e depois que a parceria acabou, Cody juntou-se ao Circo Sells-Floto.

William Cody faliu e estava profundamente endividado quando morreu em 10 de janeiro de 1917.

Conheci o Sr. Cody pela primeira vez em outubro de 1868, na Estação Buffalo, na ferrovia Kansas Pacific, no Kansas. Ele era o batedor e guia das sete companhias da Quinta Cavalaria, então sob o comando do Coronel Royal, e da qual fui encarregado de assumir o comando.

De seus serviços sob meu comando, continuamente no campo por nove meses, de outubro de 1868 a julho de 1869 e nas ocasiões subsequentes, estou qualificado para prestar testemunho de suas qualidades e caráter.

Ele era muito modesto e despretensioso. Há muito tempo eu não sabia quão bom era o título que ele tinha para a denominação, 'Buffalo Bill'. Estou apto a desconsiderar as afirmações dos batedores, já que ocasionalmente eles exageram; e quando encontrei um que não falava nada sobre si mesmo, não pensei muito nele, até que o provei. Ele é um cavalheiro natural em seus modos e também em seu caráter, e não tem nada da aspereza de um típico homem da fronteira.

Ele pode tomar parte quando necessário, mas nunca ouvi falar dele usando uma faca ou uma pistola, ou se envolvendo em uma briga onde isso pudesse ser evitado. Sua força e atividade pessoais são tais que dificilmente pode encontrar um homem com quem não pode lidar, e seu temperamento e disposição são tão bons que ninguém tem motivos para brigar com ele.

Sua visão é melhor do que um bom vidro de campo; ele é o melhor trailer de que já ouvi falar; e também o melhor juiz da 'configuração do país' - isto é, ele é capaz de dizer que tipo de país está à frente, para saber como agir.

Ele é um juiz perfeito da distância e está sempre pronto para dizer corretamente quantas milhas são até a água, ou qualquer lugar, ou quantas milhas foram percorridas.

O Sr. Cody parecia nunca se cansar e estava sempre pronto para ir, na noite mais escura ou no pior tempo, e geralmente se oferecia, sabendo o que a emergência exigia. O seu encalço, ao seguir índios ou à procura de animais vadios ou de caça, é simplesmente maravilhoso. Ele é um caçador extraordinário. Eu não podia acreditar que um homem pudesse ter certeza de atirar em antílopes correndo até que eu o tivesse visto fazer isso com tanta frequência.

Em uma luta, o Sr. Cody nunca é barulhento, barulhento ou excitado. Na verdade, nunca quase o notei em uma briga, a menos que por acaso eu o quisesse, ou ele tivesse algo a relatar, quando ele estava sempre no lugar certo e suas informações eram sempre valiosas e confiáveis.

Nada ocorreu para interromper nossa jornada até chegarmos a Plum Creek, no rio South Platte, a cinquenta quilômetros a oeste de Old Fort Kearney. Tínhamos feito um passeio matinal e acampado para o jantar. Os donos das carroças e a maioria dos homens haviam adormecido sob as carroças do refeitório; o gado estava sendo vigiado por três homens e o cozinheiro preparava o jantar. Ninguém fazia ideia de que havia índios perto de nós. O primeiro aviso que recebemos de que estavam infestando aquela parte do país foram os disparos de tiros e os gritos e gritos de um grupo deles, que, nos pegando cochilando, nos deram uma surpresa muito indesejável. Todos os homens pularam e pegaram suas armas. Eles viram com espanto o gado correndo em todas as direções, tendo sido atropelados pelos índios, que haviam atirado e matado os três homens que estavam no serviço de rebanho diurno, e os diabos vermelhos estavam agora atacando o resto de nós.

Pensei então nos temores de minha mãe de que eu caísse nas mãos dos índios, e tinha quase decidido que esse seria o meu destino; mas quando vi com que frieza e determinação os irmãos McCarthy estavam se comportando e dando ordens ao pequeno bando, me convenci de que "afastaríamos os índios", como diz o ditado. Nossos homens estavam todos bem armados com revólveres Colt e yagers do Mississippi, que carregaram uma bala e dois tiros de gamo.

Os meninos McCarthy, no momento adequado, deram ordens para atirar no inimigo que avançava. O vôlei deteve-os, embora eles retribuíssem o elogio, e atirou na perna de um dos nossos. Frank McCarthy então cantou: "Rapazes, façam uma fuga para o lamaçal lá, e então poderemos ter o banco para um parapeito".

Corremos para o pântano que ficava a apenas uma curta distância e conseguimos alcançá-lo com segurança, trazendo conosco o homem ferido. O banco revelou-se um parapeito muito eficaz, proporcionando-nos uma boa protecção. Há pouco tempo que estávamos lá, Frank McCarthy, vendo que quanto mais estivéssemos encurralados pior seria para nós: -

"Bem, rapazes, vamos tentar voltar para Fort Kearney vadeando no rio e mantendo a margem para um peitoral."

Todos concordamos que esse era o melhor plano e, portanto, descemos o rio vários quilômetros dessa maneira, conseguindo manter os índios a uma distância segura com nossos canhões, até que o lamaçal fizesse uma junção com o principal rio Platte. De lá para baixo encontramos o rio às vezes bastante profundo, e para carregar o ferido conosco, construímos uma jangada de mastros para acomodá-lo, e assim ele foi transportado.

Ocasionalmente, a água ficava muito funda para que pudéssemos vadear, e éramos obrigados a colocar nossas armas na jangada e nadar. Os índios nos seguiram bem de perto e estavam continuamente procurando uma oportunidade de obter um bom alcance e nos dar uma rajada de fogo. Cobrindo-nos mantendo-nos bem embaixo da margem, avançamos o mais rápido possível e avançamos bastante, a noite nos encontrando ainda no caminho e nossos inimigos no caminho.

Os vagões usados ​​naquela época por Russell, Majors & Waddell eram conhecidos como "vagões J. Murphy", feitos em St. Louis especialmente para o negócio das planícies. Eles eram muito grandes e fortes, sendo capazes de transportar sete mil libras de carga cada um. As baias eram muito cómodas - do tamanho dos cômodos de uma casa comum - e cobertas por duas grossas lonas para proteger a mercadoria da chuva. Essas carroças eram geralmente enviadas de Leavenworth, cada uma carregada com seis mil libras de carga, e cada uma puxada por várias juntas de bois a cargo de um cocheiro.

Durante o inverno em Fort Bridger, conversei frequentemente com Wild Bill (Hickok) sobre minha família e, como me tornei muito apegado a ele, pedi-lhe que viesse fazer uma visita à nossa casa, o que ele prometeu fazer. Então, um dia, logo após nosso retorno de Fort Bridger, ele me acompanhou de Leavenworth para casa. Minha mãe e minhas irmãs, que ouviram tanto sobre ele de mim, ficaram encantadas em vê-lo e ele passou várias semanas em nossa casa. Eles fizeram todo o possível para retribuir sua bondade para comigo. Desde então, quando estava em Leavenworth ou perto dela, Wild Bill ia a nossa casa para ver a família, estando eu em casa ou não, e sempre recebia uma recepção muito cordial.

Às vezes eu tinha sob meu comando os batedores e guias mais notáveis ​​do país ocidental. Um príncipe entre aqueles caçadores e homens da fronteira era William P. Cody, mais conhecido como "Buffalo Bill", um apelido que lhe foi dado por cavalgar e atirar com rifle. Ele era de uma boa família. Seu pai, um forte patriota, foi morto no que ficou conhecido como a "Guerra da Fronteira". Naquela época, Cody era um dos homens mais bonitos que já vi; muito alto e reto, uma abundância de cabelos dourados caindo sobre seus ombros, como um antigo cavaleiro; grandes olhos castanhos brilhantes, bigode ruivo e cavanhaque, e feições tão perfeitas como se tivessem sido esculpidas em mármore.

Tive minha célebre caça ao búfalo com Billy Comstock, um notável batedor, guia e intérprete, que na época era chefe dos batedores em Fort Wallace, Kansas. Por muito tempo, Comstock teve a reputação de ser um caçador de búfalos muito bem-sucedido, e os oficiais em particular, que o viram matar búfalos, estavam muito desejosos de apoiá-lo em uma luta contra mim. Ficou combinado que eu deveria atirar nele para matar búfalos, e as preliminares foram fácil e satisfatoriamente acordadas. Devíamos caçar um dia de oito horas, começando às oito horas da manhã e fechando às quatro horas da tarde. A aposta era de quinhentos dólares cada, e o homem que matasse o maior número de búfalos a cavalo seria declarado vencedor.

A caçada aconteceu cerca de trinta quilômetros a leste de Sheridan e, como havia sido muito bem anunciada e comentado no exterior, uma grande multidão testemunhou a cena interessante e emocionante. Um grupo de excursão, principalmente de St. Louis, composto por cerca de cem cavalheiros e senhoras, saiu em um trem especial para ver o esporte, e entre eles estava minha esposa, com o bebê Arta, que viera para ficar comigo por um tempo.

Os búfalos eram bastante numerosos, e ficou combinado que deveríamos entrar no mesmo rebanho ao mesmo tempo e "correr", como chamávamos, cada um matando o máximo possível. Um árbitro deveria seguir cada um de nós a cavalo quando entrássemos no rebanho e contar os búfalos mortos por cada homem. Os excursionistas de St. Louis, assim como os demais espectadores, cavalgaram até as proximidades dos campos de caça em carroças e a cavalo, mantendo-se bem longe da vista dos búfalos, para não assustá-los, até que chegasse a hora para nós. correr para o rebanho; quando deviam chegar o mais perto que quisessem e testemunhar a perseguição.

Finalmente chegou a hora de começar a partida. Comstock e eu corremos em direção a um rebanho, seguidos pelos árbitros. Os búfalos se separaram; Comstock ficou com o grupo esquerdo e eu com o direito. Meu grande forte em matar búfalos a cavalo era fazê-los girar montando meu cavalo à frente do rebanho, atirando nos líderes, aglomerando assim seus seguidores para a esquerda, até que eles finalmente girassem e girassem.

Nesta manhã, os búfalos foram muito complacentes, e logo os coloquei correndo em um belo círculo, quando os derrubei grosso e rápido, até ter matado trinta e oito; que terminou minha corrida.

Comstock começou a atirar na retaguarda do rebanho, que perseguia, e eles seguiram em frente. Ele conseguiu, no entanto, matar vinte e três, mas eles estavam espalhados por uma distância de três milhas, enquanto os meus estavam próximos uns dos outros. Eu tinha "cuidado" meus búfalos, como um jogador de bilhar faz as bolas quando dá uma grande corrida.

Os pioneiros do Kansas, principalmente alguns que se estabeleceram na fronteira - ao longo dos vales superiores dos rios Smoky Hill, Republican, Solomon e Saline - praticamente deviam suas vidas à existência dos búfalos. Durante anos, no início dos anos 60, uma boa parte da carne consumida por aqueles primeiros colonizadores foi cortada da carcaça do animal nobre e peludo que por tanto tempo existiu como monarca das planícies. Milhares de pessoas que logo cedo foram por terra para Utah, Oregon e Califórnia tiraram seu suprimento de carne do búfalo. Onde esse salva-vidas foi encontrado, sabia-se que, seguindo seus caminhos, seria encontrado perto da água. O principal artigo de combustível encontrado na fronteira para cozinhar a carne do búfalo era o excremento seco do animal, conhecido no jargão inicial do Kansas e do Nebraska como "chips de búfalo". O búfalo era um dos mais nobres de todos os animais. Parecia indispensável. Forneceu ao homem abundância da carne mais saudável; a pele era transformada em sapatos e roupas usados ​​durante o dia, e era uma cama confortável e fornecia uma cobertura quente dentro ou fora de casa à noite.

A última manada de búfalos que vi no estado selvagem e nativo foi no outono de 1870. Ficava ao longo da ferrovia Kansas Pacific, perto das cabeceiras do rio Smoky Hill. A ferrovia acabara de ser construída e os animais pareciam terrivelmente assustados com os carros. Em sua corrida louca para o oeste ao longo da ferrovia, eles realmente acompanharam o trem de passageiros, que se movia de quinze a dezoito milhas por hora. A corrida tornou-se emocionante e todos os passageiros, muitos dos quais nunca tinham visto um búfalo, prenderam a respiração em suspense. Percebeu-se que os animais nunca mudavam de curso, mas continuavam se aproximando cada vez mais do trem, aparentemente determinados a cruzar os trilhos na curva um pouco além. Não se importando com uma colisão que poderia descarrilar o trem, o maquinista desistiu da corrida e assobiou para "diminuir os freios", parando a poucas varas dos animais para deixá-los atravessar. Uma saudação de despedida foi dada por alguns dos passageiros, que esvaziaram as câmaras de seus seis tiros entre os animais, mas que eles não pareciam se importar mais do que um tiro de uma metralhadora de brinquedo. Enquanto esses animais costumavam cobrir as planícies do oeste do Kansas e Nebraska em incontáveis ​​milhões, quase nenhum deles resta para nos lembrar dos rebanhos outrora nobres e poderosos originalmente conhecidos no grande oeste como "bois de costas tortas".

Durante quatro anos - 1865-1869 - durante a animada era da construção da ferrovia do Pacífico e suas ramificações, nada menos que 250.000 búfalos foram abatidos no Kansas e em outros estados do oeste. De 1869 a 1876 ocorreu a maior matança, e o número de mortos nesses anos atingiu a casa dos milhões. Os animais tornaram-se bastante raros no final dos anos 70 e início dos anos 80, mas não menos que um milhão e meio de búfalos foram mortos. O ano de 1870 foi um grande ano para a caça ao búfalo, durante o qual mais de dois milhões foram mortos em Kansas, Território Indígena e Texas. ''

A pessoa mais conspícua envolvida na grande matança foi o intrépido batedor e guerreiro índio, coronel William F. Cody, que era mais conhecido como "Buffalo Bill". Em 1867, quando a ferrovia Kansas Pacific estava sendo construída através das planícies de Denver, Cody, então um jovem, fez um contrato com os funcionários da ferrovia para manter seus funcionários abastecidos com carne de búfalo. Por fazer isso, ele recebeu $ 500 por mês. Ele se dedicou a esse trabalho dezoito meses, durante os quais matou em média cerca de oito por dia - ao todo 4.280 búfalos; e foi assim que Cody se tornou o renomado "Buffalo Bill".

Sempre gostei de caçar e agora tinha uma boa oportunidade de satisfazer minha ambição nessa direção, pois tinha muito tempo livre em minhas mãos. Nesse contexto, vou relatar uma de minhas aventuras de caça ao urso. Um dia, quando eu não tinha mais nada para fazer, selei um cavalo expresso de pônei extra e, armando-me com um bom rifle e um par de revólveres, parti para as colinas do Pico Laramie para uma caça ao urso. Cavalgando descuidadamente e respirando o ar fresco e revigorante do outono que descia das montanhas, eu me sentia como só um homem pode sentir que está vagando pelas pradarias do extremo oeste, bem armado e montado em uma frota e galante corcel. A liberdade perfeita de que goza é em si um estimulante revigorante para a mente e também para o corpo. Tais eram de fato meus sentimentos neste lindo dia enquanto cavalgava pelo vale da Ferradura. Ocasionalmente, assustei um bando de galinhas-salva ou um coelho. Antílopes e veados quase sempre estavam à vista em qualquer direção, mas como não eram o tipo de caça que eu procurava naquele dia, passei por eles e continuei em direção às montanhas mais altas. Quanto mais eu cavalgava, mais áspero e selvagem se tornava o país, e eu sabia que estava me aproximando do esconderijo do urso. Não descobri nenhum, entretanto, embora tenha visto muitos rastros na neve.

Por volta das duas horas da tarde, com meu cavalo cansado e eu bastante cansado, alvejei uma sela e, desmontando, tirei a sela do meu cavalo e amarrei-o a uma pequena árvore, onde ele poderia facilmente se alimentar do grama da montanha. Fiz então uma pequena fogueira, grelhei o frango e temperei com sal e pimenta, que havia obtido de meus alforjes, logo me sentei para uma "genuína refeição quadrada", que apreciei muito.

Depois de descansar por algumas horas, montei novamente e retomei minha viagem para cima da montanha, tendo decidido acampar naquela noite em vez de voltar sem um urso, que meus amigos sabiam que eu tinha saído. Como os dias estavam ficando curtos, a noite logo chegou e eu procurei um local adequado para acampar. Enquanto estava assim ocupado, assustei um bando de galinhas-salva, duas das quais alvejei, com a intenção de comer uma para o jantar e a outra para o café da manhã.

A essa altura já estava escurecendo e desci até um dos pequenos riachos da montanha, onde encontrei um lugar aberto na floresta adequado para um acampamento. Desmontei e, depois de tirar a sela de meu cavalo e amarrá-lo a uma árvore, preparei-me para acender o fogo. Só então fiquei surpreso ao ouvir um cavalo relinchando rio acima. Foi uma grande surpresa para mim e imediatamente corri para o meu animal para impedi-lo de responder, como os cavalos costumam fazer nesses casos. Achei que o cavalo estranho pudesse pertencer a algum bando de índios errantes, pois não conhecia nenhum homem branco naquela região do país naquela época. Eu tinha certeza de que o dono do estranho cavalo não poderia estar muito distante e estava muito ansioso para saber quem era meu vizinho, antes de informá-lo de que eu estava por perto. Portanto, remontei meu cavalo e, deixando-o amarrado para que pudesse alcançá-lo facilmente, peguei minha arma e comecei uma expedição de reconhecimento rio acima. Eu havia percorrido cerca de quatrocentos metros quando, numa curva do riacho, descobri dez ou quinze cavalos pastando.


Buffalo Bill Cody

Nascido William Frederick Cody, & # 34Buffalo Bill & # 34 ganhou seu apelido depois de ser nomeado fornecedor-chefe de carne de búfalo para a Ferrovia Kansas Pacific, um ramo sul da Union Pacific, que abriu seu caminho através do meio da América após a Guerra Civil . Cody matou 4.280 cabeças de búfalos em 17 meses. Os primeiros anos Nascido no condado de Scott, Iowa, em 1846, Bill cresceu nas pastagens do meio-oeste. Quando seu pai morreu em 1857, a família mudou-se para o Kansas, onde Bill trabalhava para uma empresa de frete de vagões como mensageiro a cavalo e tratador de gado. Em 1859, com 13 anos de idade endurecida pela pradaria, ele tentou a sorte como um & # 34Fifty-niner & # 34 prospectando na corrida do ouro Pikes Peak. No ano seguinte, Bill juntou-se ao Pony Express quando eles queriam & # 34skinny, pilotos especialistas dispostos a arriscar a morte diariamente. & # 34 Durante a Guerra Civil, Bill serviu como batedor da União em campanhas contra os Kiowa e Comanche. Em 1863, ele se alistou aos 17 anos com a Seventh Kansas Cavalry, que foi para a batalha no Missouri e no Tennessee. Após a guerra, Bill se casou com Louisa Frederici em St. Louis e de Fort Ellsworth, Kansas, continuou com o exército como escuteiro / despachante. A lenda começa Em 1868, Cody voltou ao exército como chefe dos batedores da Quinta Cavalaria e participou de 16 batalhas, incluindo a derrota do Cheyenne em Summit Springs, Colorado, em 1869. Por seu serviço e & # 34galanteria em ação, & # 34 ele foi premiado com a Medalha de Honra do Congresso em 1872. Graças a uma série de romances baratos de Ned Buntline, começando em 1869, a pessoa pública de Buffalo Bill evoluiu para uma adoração de herói romantizada. Buntline aludiu que Cody estava totalmente na mesma classe de homem da fronteira que seu amigo Wild Bill Hickock, assim como Kit Carson e Davy Crockett. Os romances eram, de fato, uma mistura inebriante de fato e ficção. Em 1872, Buntline incitou Cody a levar seu novo manto ao palco, estrelando em sua peça, Buntline & # 39s, Os batedores das planícies. Cody tirou proveito de seu showmanship inato ao encerrar o show e foi aplaudido por um público agradecido. Cody permaneceu no palco por 11 temporadas e também se tornou um autor. Ele terminou a primeira edição de sua autobiografia em 1879 e desafiou seu próprio estilo de romances de Buffalo Bill. Eventualmente, Cody escreveria cerca de 1.700 desses contos de fronteira. Nas entressafras do teatro, Cody guiava ricos da nobreza oriental e europeia, incluindo o grão-duque Alexis da Rússia, que tinha 19 anos na época, em expedições de caça e passeios em carruagem. Em 1876, ele voltou ao serviço americano como batedor do exército na campanha indiana que se seguiu à morte de Custer em Little Bighorn. Em 1883, aos 37 anos, Cody organizou Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, um espetáculo ao ar livre que retratou vividamente alguns dos momentos mais idílicos e encantadores da vida na fronteira. O show incluiu uma caça ao búfalo com búfalos reais, um ataque indígena no palco Deadwood com índios reais e um passeio de Pony Express. O show contou com cerca de 1.200 artistas, incluindo árabes, cossacos, gaúchos, mongóis e turcos, bem como nativos americanos, vestidos com os trajes de suas respectivas culturas. Entre as atrações principais do grupo estavam Annie Oakley, apelidada de & # 34Little Sure Shot & # 34 e Sitting Bull, que tomou seu lugar durante o final - uma encenação picante de Custer & # 39s Last Stand. O show foi o precursor do rodeio moderno de hoje com uma grande pitada de circo e aulas de história. Ele misturou sentimentalismo com sensacionalismo e provou ser um grande sucesso, viajando pela América por 20 anos. Sua turnê pela Europa em 1887 incluiu uma apresentação de comando antes da Rainha Vitória. Em 1893, a trupe se apresentou como parte da Chicago World & # 39s Columbian Exposition, agora conhecida como World & # 39s Fair. Em 1890, Cody foi mais uma vez convocado pelo exército durante os levantes indígenas associados à Dança dos Fantasmas. Ele chegou com alguns índios de sua trupe que provaram ser pacificadores eficazes, e até viajou para Wounded Knee após o massacre para ajudar a restaurar a ordem. Os últimos dias Cody ganhou muito dinheiro com o programa, mas perdeu para a má administração e esquemas de investimento que não deram certo. No final, até mesmo o show do Velho Oeste foi confiscado pelos credores. Cody morreu em janeiro de 1917 e está enterrado em uma tumba no cume da Montanha Lookout, perto de Denver, Colorado.


Quem foi Buffalo Bill?

William F. Cody nasceu em 26 de fevereiro de 1846 em LeClaire, Iowa, filho de Isaac e Mary Ann Laycock Cody. De acordo com Arquivo William F. Cody, a família Cody mudou-se para a fronteira do Kansas quando William tinha oito anos, pois seu pai decidiu se estabelecer em um terreno público lá.

Infelizmente, os Codys experimentaram principalmente reveses pessoais e financeiros durante esse período. Isaac Cody foi esfaqueado e morto em 1857 por fazer um discurso anti-escravidão. William de repente se tornou o homem da casa e, conseqüentemente, Bill Cody tinha apenas 11 anos quando decidiu encontrar seu primeiro emprego.

Wikimedia Commons Aos 19, Cody já havia trabalhado como motorista de gado, caminhoneiro, caçador de peles e garimpeiro.

Depois de ingressar na firma Russell, Majors e Waddell como caminhoneiro e caminhoneiro, Cody se tornou um homem da planície e costumava acompanhar trens de suprimentos militares com destino ao oeste. Sua autobiografia de 1879 também revelou que ele se tornou um garimpeiro de ouro, um caçador de peles e trabalhou como piloto do Pony Express em menos de duas décadas de seu tempo na Terra.

Embora seja difícil para os historiadores verificar se Cody realmente teve todos esses empregos em um momento ou outro. Por um lado, ele provavelmente não andou com o Pony Express.

Cody conheceu sua primeira lenda do Velho Oeste enquanto conduzia o gado para a empresa: ninguém menos que James Butler & # 8220Wild Bill & # 8221 Hickok. Esta figura foi indiscutivelmente melhor retratada no entretenimento moderno por Keith Carradine na HBO & # 8217s populares Deadwood série ambientada no final do século XIX.

Wikimedia Commons Cody tentou se divorciar de sua esposa Louisa por acreditar que ela havia tentado envenená-lo. Quando o juiz indeferiu a ação, eles se reconciliaram e permaneceram juntos até a morte dele.

Quando ele se reinventou como Buffalo Bill, Cody modelou seu visual após Hickock e os dois iriam se apresentar juntos.


Fundador da cidade e magnata da irrigação: Buffalo Bill que ninguém sabe

William F. Cody, famoso em dois continentes como Buffalo Bill, líder do grande show do Velho Oeste, estava cheio de dinheiro e cheio de autoconfiança quando embarcou em sua vida no Wyoming em 1894, prometendo construir um império irrigado ao longo do Shoshone Rio que seria maior do que qualquer empreendimento do gênero que o Ocidente jamais vira. Em 1916, falido e doente, ele fugiu de Wyoming para morrer no ano seguinte na casa de sua irmã em Denver, ainda famoso e muito pranteado, mas não a figura que ele pretendia se tornar 22 anos antes. A vida de Cody em Wyoming deixou um rastro largo, no entanto, e nem tudo foi ladeira abaixo.

No início da década de 1890, já havia se passado 20 anos desde que Cody começara a transformação de escoteiro em herói de romance em showman em tempo integral. Em 1894, o show do Wild West fez uma grande turnê na América do Norte e na Europa quatro vezes, se apresentando duas vezes antes do Queen Victoria, vendendo milhões de ingressos e tornando Cody um homem rico.

Seu extraordinário sucesso com seu show na Exposição Colombiana de 1893 em Chicago marcou o auge de sua carreira como showman. Agora ele queria deixar uma marca fora da arena do show, algo que lhe valesse o respeito duradouro dos homens ricos do Oriente.

Foi a água que trouxe Buffalo Bill para Bighorn Basin, no norte de Wyoming. Os empresários George Beck e Horace Alger de Sheridan compraram um direito de água para irrigar uma grande área ao longo do lado sul do rio Shoshone, onde flui das montanhas Absaroka, 160 quilômetros a oeste de Sheridan. Cody os conheceu em Sheridan em 1893, e eles tiveram o prazer de trazer seu nome e recursos para o projeto. Depois que Beck e o engenheiro estadual Elwood Mead pesquisaram a terra em 1894, e o relatório de Mead o descreveu como um projeto que não poderia falhar, eles formaram a Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company e começaram a cavar o Canal Cody em 1895.

Desde o início, a saga dessa empresa, reorganizada e rebatizada de Shoshone Irrigation Company em 1896, foi uma espécie de novela. Cody sabia pouco ou nada sobre irrigação ou construção, mas como presidente da empresa, ele tentou microgerenciar toda a empresa de seu vagão enquanto viajava pela América com o Velho Oeste.

Quanto a Beck, ele nunca se comprometeu a gerenciar um projeto tão complexo. Muitas vezes ele encontrou um equilíbrio entre as demandas por desempenho dos diretores da empresa e a necessidade de conservar fundos escassos quase impossíveis, e optou por não dizer ou fazer nada em vez de entrar em brigas. O terreno através do qual estavam cavando o canal era extraordinariamente difícil: em alguns lugares era como cascalho cimentado, em outros era tão arenoso que as margens não agüentavam, e eles literalmente tiveram que construir um canal de tábuas de madeira acima do solo.

Bill Cody tinha grandes planos para atrair colônias de colonos, mas todas fracassaram. Os investidores orientais pararam de fornecer o capital necessário apenas a disposição de Cody de pagar muito mais do que sua cota justa manteve o projeto da vala funcionando. Em 1897, parte da água começou a fluir para a pequena cidade homônima de Cody que eles haviam fundado no ano anterior e, no ano seguinte, atraíram mais alguns fazendeiros. Tempestades violentas no verão de 1898 destruíram o canal, entretanto, e levaram seus diretores a tentar vendê-lo por US $ 150.000, aproximadamente a quantia que haviam investido nele. Não houve compradores.

O desenvolvimento dos recursos hídricos no Ocidente nunca foi fácil. Os ocidentais argumentaram desde 1890 que apenas os sistemas de irrigação poderiam fazer o trabalho, e o governo federal teve que assumir a liderança. A Lei Carey de 1894, em homenagem ao senador Joseph Carey do Wyoming, foi uma primeira tentativa. Cada estado receberia um milhão de acres de terras públicas, e eles contratariam empreendedores privados para construir os sistemas de água.

O Canal Cody foi um dos primeiros projetos da Lei Carey no país. Watching Carey Act failures all across the West, irrigation advocates realized free land was not enough: The cost of building good irrigation systems was still too great for private resources. Federal intervention would be needed—on a scale beyond anything the government had been willing to consider. In 1902, Congress passed the National Reclamation Act, putting federal money directly into water development for the first time, and the U. S. Reclamation Service was formed to do the job.

When the Burlington Railroad completed its spur line to the town of Cody in 1901, settlement picked up. That was a mixed blessing, however, in that more settlers meant more demand on the canal. The irrigation company’s contract with the state under the Carey Act expired that same year. The directors applied for an extension, but the new state engineer—Elwood Mead having moved on to federal employment—inspected the canal and found it was only half built, and the constructed portion was not reliable. He required them to spend another $43,000 extending and rebuilding the ditch, and two years later his successor returned and required a further $20,000.

The business of the canal was taken over by George Bleistein, a printing magnate and Shoshone Irrigation Company director from Buffalo, N.Y., leaving both Beck and Cody out of it. Company officials found the money and did the work, but it was not enough to keep a group of farmers from taking them to court for failure to provide water. All 26 lawsuits were settled in favor of the plaintiffs, wiping away all possibility of the canal investors recovering their money.

The canal was turned over to the settlers in 1907, and when the cloud of litigation dispersed, the settlers had to sell $95,000 of bonds to raise the money needed to make it irrigate even 12,000 acres reliably. The Shoshone Irrigation Company had spent $282,000 by the end of 1905 to build a canal that could not do its job, and had taken in only $82,000 in water sales to settlers. It was a sorry excuse for an irrigation empire.

The U.S. Reclamation Service

But the Cody Canal was the smaller part of Buffalo Bill’s imperial ambitions. In 1897, amid the chaos and bickering along the Cody Canal, Cody convinced his Wild West partner, Nate Salsbury, to join him in a second irrigation venture.

This one was to carry water to 120,000 acres on the north side of the river, extending more than 25 miles east from Cody. They got their plans approved and the state water right issued in May 1899. Cody and Salsbury knew they would have to raise great sums of money to accomplish this Buffalo Bill pronounced himself ready to raise a million dollars! That he would take this on at a time when the Cody Canal seemed to be falling apart shows a measure of his ambition and his self-delusion. The partners actually did little real work on this venture.

Capitalists with the kind of money Cody was looking for were not impressed with the chances of this kind of project. When the federal government finally moved decisively into western water development in 1902, officials in the new U.S. Reclamation Service immediately expressed interest in the Cody-Salsbury plan. They wanted to acquire Buffalo Bill’s water right.

The Burlington Railroad, which had built the line to Cody in 1901, wanted to see a federal project on that land they had no confidence that Cody’s private plans could succeed. Cody temporized throughout 1903, but in early 1904 he finally agreed to relinquish his water right to the Reclamation Service. As a result, the federal government immediately appropriated $2,250,000 to build the Shoshone Project.

They built what was then the highest concrete arch dam in the world in the canyon west of Cody, creating a reservoir of 465,000 acre-feet of water that irrigated 93,000 acres centered on the new town of Powell, 25 miles northeast of Cody. In 1946, on what would have been his hundredth birthday, the dam and the lake were renamed for Buffalo Bill. This honor acknowledged Cody’s vision, while omitting mention of his rather feckless career as an irrigation developer.

Cody’s namesake town

Bill Cody had been better at building a town than an irrigation project. After a stuttering start, with competing layouts two miles apart, the Shoshone Irrigation Company laid out the town of Cody in the spring of 1896. Cody was interested in every detail of the new town: getting a proper hotel built, making sure the streets were wide, recommending that liquor license fees be set high enough to keep the rough trade away.

When they formed the Cody Townsite Company to sell lots, Cody watched it closely. When the Burlington finally came to the deciding point on building into the town, Bill Cody argued in his correspondence constantly and forcefully for the construction. He warned his partners in the townsite company to accommodate the interests of the railroad as expressed through its development arm, the Lincoln Land Company, or risk losing everything they had invested.

The arrival of the Burlington in the fall of 1901 guaranteed that Cody would be a viable town, but it meant that the irrigation company partners had to cede half the income from town lots to the Lincoln Land Company. Buffalo Bill always took credit for getting the railroad to the town. This was clearly overstating the case—the Burlington had good corporate reasons without regard to Bill Cody—but what else would one expect from one of the greatest promoters of his or any other time.

Buffalo Bill owned the livery stable, the blacksmith shop, the newspaper and several ranches around town. He started a company to mine coal outside of town and drilled oil wells. As many as half of the 500 or so people who lived and worked in Cody in 1899 were dependent upon him, and many more applied to him for occasional charity, with which he was famously generous. After the railroad came in, he decided to more than double his financial commitment to the town by building the Irma Hotel—named for his daughter.

Opened with a grand reception Nov. 18, 1902, the Irma—an imposing stone structure in a town of wooden buildings—probably cost him $80,000. No less a judge than the great painter Frederic Remington pronounced it as good a hotel as any in the West. In 1903, a local writer estimated that Cody had poured more than $216,000 into his namesake town. As he fell deeply into debt mining for gold in Arizona, his financial commitment to the town dwindled he even mortgaged his hotel and his home ranch in that decade and later deeded them to his wife, Louisa, to keep them from being sold by creditors.

But his personal commitment to Cody never wavered. When he returned to Wyoming after the summers of Wild West shows, he always gave a big party at the Irma, when he would speak of his optimism for Cody’s future. No other little town in the West could boast of a cheerleader to compare with Buffalo Bill.

The Irma, “Buffalo Bill’s Hotel in the Rockies,” became the centerpiece of his vision for Cody and the country around it. Cody and Beck marked out a wagon road west from Cody up the North Fork of the Shoshone River to the eastern edge of Yellowstone Park. He built Pahaska Tepee, a hunting lodge, just outside the park, at the end of that road, and the Wapiti Inn halfway between Cody and Pahaska these became part of the infrastructure of Yellowstone Park tourism, a new industry that the town and the railroad could advertise. He bought a fleet of steam-driven automobiles to carry tourists up and back and lobbied hard in Washington to have a road built from the center of Yellowstone to a new east entrance.

Cody had worked from his very first years in Wyoming to connect his town with the metropolitan East. He organized hunting parties west of Cody in the high Absaroka Mountains every fall when he returned to Wyoming. At first he was hoping to get wealthy men to invest, but later he was more generally determined to make Cody famous among the elite of eastern cities, especially New York.

He joined the Camp-Fire Club in New York, where he could rub shoulders with men who lived to hunt a few years after he joined the club Cody created an affiliate chapter, one of only four outside of New York. Some Cody men started selling their services as guides and outfitters for eastern hunters, and others began to offer accommodations to tourists who wanted to live on ranches. Cody himself advertised his home ranch, the TE, as a dude ranch in the summer of 1916.

Taken altogether, his creation—for it was nothing less—of the tourist industry in Wyoming was a reverse image of his Wild West show. The Wild West set out to bring the West to the arenas of the East, but the tourist industry grew by bringing more and more Easterners to the West. Cody’s own personality and reputation made for a seamless transition, and to this day the engines of tourism in Wyoming run in no small part on images and memories of Buffalo Bill.

Judged by the standard he set for himself when he came to Wyoming, he must have felt himself something of a failure. He was never marked out by talent or experience to succeed in the irrigation business there were, in fact, very few notable successes in that line of work anywhere in the West. But everything he had done as a showman led easily and naturally to success in tourism. His townsmen followed where he led, and Cody became a town where the tourist dollar sustains life. Buffalo Bill did not earn great wealth from his tourism ventures, but nearly a century after his death he smiles genially down from large billboards along highways across five states. He literally looms larger than life over the corner of Wyoming that calls itself “Cody Country.”


10 Things You Might Not Know About Buffalo Bill Cody

“Cody.” Around here, the name alone conjures up iconic images and stories of the American West. From wagon trains to gold rushes, gunslingers to sunset riders — the American West certainly earned its wild reputation. And among all the legends that sprung forth from this era of American history, none is more renowned or revered than William Frederick Cody. Does that name sound unfamiliar to you? Well, you might know him by his nickname — “Buffalo Bill”. As for us, well, we know him as our town founder.

Easily one of the Wild West’s most colorful characters, Buffalo Bill Cody might also be the most misunderstood. So, to honor him — on what would have been his 175th birthday — we’ve put together a list of 10 incredible facts about the showman and pioneer who dazzled millions around the world with “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show”.

Buffalo Bill Cody Was a Proponent of American Indian Treaty Rights

In his younger days, Bill Cody fought in wars against American Indians, but he always spoke of his opponents with great respect. He also advocated for the rights of American Indians, saying, “Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.”

In his Wild West Show, Cody often cast American Indian performers in central roles. To this day, the reasoning and results of these choices remain debated. However, many scholars suggest providing audiences with authentic displays of songs, traditions, dances, and horsemanship helped preserve many aspects of American Indian culture during a period of considerable assimilation.

He Also Supported the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Having spent years in the presence of legendary women like Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane, it comes as no surprise that Bill Cody was an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage. And he didn’t just talk a big game — he put his money where his mouth was and insisted on equal pay for all members of his traveling shows, regardless of gender. Famously, Cody put it very simply when he said, “What we want to do is give women even more liberty than they have. Let them do any kind of work they see fit, and if they do it as well as men, give them the same pay.” By today’s standards, this may not seem like much, but in the late-1800s, this perspective was practically revolutionary! Cody never backed down from his stance, however. In fact, he took things a step further by saying, “These fellows who prate about the women taking their places make me laugh.”

Never let it be said that Buffalo Bill didn’t have a flare for the dramatic!

After His Father’s Death, He Took a Job at Age 11 to Help His Family

Bill Cody was never afraid of hard work. In fact, he went to work at the early age of 11. Unfortunately, it was to ease the financial burden on his family after the death of his father. The job Cody took was as a wagon train “boy extra”. Today, this is the kind of job that would be done by text message — literally. Cody would ride along the length of the wagon train on horseback, taking and delivering important messages to different drivers throughout the train, ensuring everybody had the most up-to-date information.

He Rode With the Pony Express… Or Did He?

Sometimes, the legend of Buffalo Bill is bigger than the man himself. We suspect he liked it that way. This is why he was happy to tell people that he signed on with the Pony Express at the ripe old age of 14 and, after an apprenticeship building corrals and stations for the burgeoning mail service, became a full-fledged rider. Historians have never truly been able to verify these claims, and contradictions in his own autobiography have raised speculation about their veracity.

Regardless, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show went on to lionize the Pony Express, and his name will forever be synonymous with the service.

Whether he rode the trails or not, one thing is clear — Buffalo Bill was never one to stand in the way of a good rumor.

Cody was a Freemason

Bill Cody was very active in Freemasonry in his later years. In fact, he achieved the rank of Knight Templar in 1889 and 32-degree rank in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1894. When he passed away in 1917, he received a full masonic funeral — complete with pallbearers dressed in their Knights Templar uniforms.

And speaking of Bill’s funeral…

There Are Conflicting Reports on Where Buffalo Bill is Really Buried

While thousands visit the Buffalo Bill gravesite outside of Denver annually, many Cody residents believe their town’s namesake is actually buried on Cedar Mountain overlooking the town of Cody itself. The legend behind this belief involves a bold plan, a middle-of-the-night trip to a Denver mortuary, and an unlucky ranch hand bearing a likeness to Buffalo Bill. Spend enough time learning about Bill Cody, and you’ll quickly discover that nothing is impossible!

Cody’s Family was Quaker and Vehemently Opposed Slavery

When Bill Cody was a young child, his family moved from Scott County, Iowa, to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory. Arriving in the young territory in 1854, the Cody family was greeted by a hotbed of conflict between slavery advocates and abolitionists. And this is where we learn that Bill’s belief in equal rights was most likely inherited from his father, Isaac Cody.

Not long after arriving in the town of Leavenworth, Issac found himself in Rively’s Trading Post, where a meeting of slavery advocates was taking place. When asked to voice his opinion on the subject, Issac gave an impassioned anti-slavery speech. For his efforts, he was stabbed twice in the chest with a Bowie knife. He survived the attack and remained steadfast in his convictions — passing them on to his son in the process.

Cody Was Once the Most Recognizable Man on Earth

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was legendary and drew crowds all across the world. The sheer reach of these performances has led some historians to assert that at the height of his traveling show’s fame, Cody was the most recognizable celebrity in the world. This level of notoriety earned him an audience with Pope Leo XIII while the Wild West Show was touring Europe.

What’s in a Name?

In 1893, “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” expanded and became the even more spectacular (though ponderously titled) “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.” A true multicultural event, the show featured horsemen from around the globe, including South American gauchos, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks.

Cody Received a Medal of Honor

In 1872, while serving the Third Cavalry Regiment as a civilian scout, Bill Cody was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for “Documented gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as an Army scout”. In 1917, the medal was rescinded — along with 910 others awarded to civilians — when Congress designated the Medal of Honor as the highest military honor it could bestow.

As you might expect, Cody’s living relatives were not happy about this. For years, they voiced their objections and asked Congress to reconsider. These efforts were unsuccessful, until 1989, when a letter from Cody’s grandson helped convince Congress that Buffalo Bill deserved to have his medal restored. In 1989, over 70 years after being taken away, Cody’s award was officially reinstated, and his family could once again proudly call him a Medal of Honor recipient.


William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody dies

The frontiersman and showman died on January 10, 1917.

The ultimate entertainer, ‘Buffalo Bill’ was as much showman as he was frontiersman and helped create a fantastical image of the Wild West.

Born to a farming family on February 26th, 1846, Cody spent his early years in Iowa, working in a variety of short-lived jobs: joining parties hunting for gold and riding for the Pony Express. During the Civil War, he was part of a group of anti-slavery guerrillas in Kansas, which led to him joining the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry in 1864. As it expanded through the West, the railroad company hired him to provide meat for their workers, for which he killed up to 12 buffalo a day. It was for this that he earned the name ‘Buffalo Bill’.

In July 1869 he met the dime novelist Ned Buntline, who interviewed him and wrote a serial for the New York Weekly. Although titled ‘Buffalo Bill, the King of Border Men’ and billed as ‘the wildest and truest story he ever wrote’, it was mostly based on the life of ‘Wild Bill’ Hickock.

In 1872, following Buntline’s suggestion, Cody made his first appearance in a play, The Scouts of the Prairie. For the next few years he switched between scouting for the army, guiding hunting parties and touring in plays. On occasion his activities on the frontier – such as his role in the death of Cheyenne chief Yellow Hand during the Sioux War of 1876 – became source material, helping to build his legend.

Off the back of his growing popularity, Cody produced his Buffalo Bill Wild West show in 1883. Like a circus with its attractions, it recreated the Pony Express, Indian attacks on wagon trains, sharpshooters and parades of costumed groups on horseback. Huge audiences came to watch fantastic battles and dramatic deaths, with performers playing it up for the enthusiastic crowds. It featured such personalities as Annie Oakley and the Sioux chief Sitting Bull, but Cody was its star attraction.

The show peaked at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where it attracted six million people. Cody continued to star in the show until his retirement in 1912.

He died in Denver, where 25,000 people paid respects to his coffin and was buried six months later in a steel vault on Lookout Mountain overlooking the city. He remains synonymous with the image of the Wild West.


The Unlikely Alliance Between Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull

As Buffalo Bill Cody debarked at New York harbor on November 24, 1890, he received a telegram from General Nelson A. Miles, commander of the U.S. Army troops in South Dakota. Miles asked Cody to proceed immediately to Standing Rock, a reservation in Dakota Territory, where a tense situation was unfolding. Miles further authorized Cody “to secure the person of Sitting Bull, and deliver him to the nearest Commanding Officer of US Troops.” It was the general’s hope that Cody could convince the Lakota leader to surrender𠅏or the last time.

Buffalo Bill, who rode for the Pony Express, fought in the American Civil War, and served as a scout for the Army, also created a Wild West show that toured the United States and Europe. Lakota Sioux chief Sitting Bull was part of the cast for four months in 1885, and since then, they had created a strange friendship.

They say that timing is everything, and in this case, one of history’s biggest near-misses involves the moment in which Buffalo Bill almost got to Sitting Bull’s cabin shortly before his old friend was killed by tribal police. Would Cody have been able to head off this disaster? Would he have gotten into a fight? Or would he have been killed himself? Of course, we cannot answer these questions, but here’s some of what we do know.

Major McLaughlin—the agent in charge of Standing Rock—had long wanted to get rid of his old nemesis, Sitting Bull, and he knew that fear could aid his mission. McLaughlin believed that his mission was to 𠇌ivilize” Native Americans by forcing them to adopt white ways, and Sitting Bull was infamous for his role in the defeat of Custer’s 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 and his fierce advocacy for his people.

In the days following Sitting Bull’s return to Grand River, McLaughlin began laying the groundwork for his arrest, telling reporters and others that the chief was the instigator of the troublesome practice of ghost dancing (a religious movement that had swept the tribes of the Great Plains). Ghost Dancers believed that an apocalyptic day was approaching when the buffalo would return, and their now-vanished world would be restored.

The Ghost Dance. (Credit: Library of Congress)

On November 17, Major McLaughlin and his interpreter, Louis Primeau, headed to Grand River to gauge the ghost dancing’s fever. When they arrived, there were about one-hundred people circling around a pole, crooning and swooning, as another hundred looked on. A woman fainted and was carried into Sitting Bull’s tent. Deciding that it was a bad time to intervene, McLaughlin and Primeau spent the night at the nearby home of Bull Head, a lieutenant in the Indian police and enemy of Sitting Bull. At dawn, McLaughlin returned to Sitting Bull’s camp as the chief was stepping out of a sweat bath.

Sitting Bull looked “very thin and more subdued than I had ever seen him,” McLaughlin later wrote. He wrapped himself in a blanket and shivered in the morning chill as McLaughlin made one more attempt to stop the ghost dance. Sitting Bull made a counter offer, that together they should visit men who had spiritual awakenings through ghost dancing and see that it was nothing to fear. McLaughlin told him that would be a waste of time, and instructed Sitting Bull to head to Fort Yates, reservation headquarters, on the following morning to continue the conversation.

Suspecting that this was a trap to detain him, Sitting Bull never made that trip, sending his friends instead. Twenty other men from Sitting Bull’s encampment sent their wives to collect their government-controlled rations. McLaughlin immediately issued an order stating that no family could receive supplies unless a male head of the household came to get them. So now, with conditions at Sitting Bull’s camp already deteriorating, he and his followers were being starved.

From then on, there followed a strange series of crossed wires and near misses. Some of the dancers had fled to a remote place in the badlands known as the Stronghold, Sitting Bull wanted to join them—not to participate, but to talk to them. He needed permission to leave the reservation, and sent McLaughlin a poorly translated and badly spelled note, in which he seemed to threaten the major, allegedly saying, “I will let you know something…the Policeman told me you going to take all our Poneys, gund, too…I want answer back soon.”

McLaughlin had read many such notes from Native Americans over the years given that they rarely had access to good translators, the messages were often inaccurate. But this one indicated that Sitting Bull planned to leave Grand River and head to Pine Ridge in search of his compatriots. McLaughlin sent a letter ordering him to remain at his cabin. In other words, he was under arrest.

Sitting Bull. (Credit: Cowan’s Auctions)

Meanwhile, Sitting Bull’s old friend Buffalo Bill Cody was being enlisted to head off a possible confrontation. Cody had just returned from a European tour of his Wild West show. He was scheduled to testify before Congress, which wanted to shut down his Wild West show. Indian rights advocates wanted to hold Cody accountable for the fact that several members of the Wild West cast had gotten sick and died while abroad. During this time, Cody received the fateful telegram from General Miles.

Cody contacted three friends, Dr. Frank Powell (aka White Beaver, a member of his show), “Pony Bob” Haslam (another cast member), and Lieutenant G.W. Chadwick. On Thanksgiving Day, November 27, they arrived by train at Mandan, North Dakota, announcing via telegram to McLaughlin that they would be checking in at Standing Rock the following day. Meanwhile, his associate Arizona John Burke and a contingent of Indians were heading for Pine Ridge as part of a two-pronged peace mission.

But when Cody reached Fort Yates, he was not able to continue any farther. Apparently he was drunk, and according to Dr. Powell, needed to rest for a few hours before continuing. His friends left, and when they returned, he was completely incapacitated, having spent the entire afternoon drinking. Later, Powell and Pony Bob learned that McLaughlin’s officers had plied him with liquor to prevent him from heading to Sitting Bull’s cabin.

Buffalo Bill. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Early the next morning, he sobered up and announced that he was on his way to see his friend. Unable to prevent his departure, the officers provided him with a wagon and he loaded it up with sweets from the supply store, knowing that Sitting Bull liked candy. In addition to his three friends, he was now accompanied by five newspaper reporters.

“I was sure,” he wrote later, “that my old enemy and later friend would listen to my advice.” But he confessed to also being concerned he was going to 𠇊 hostile camp of Indians, risking all on the card of friendship and man-to-man respect.”

Meanwhile, McLaughlin was still trying to prevent Cody’s intervention. En route, Cody’s party was headed off by Louis Primeau, McLaughlin’s interpreter. He told them that Sitting Bull was not at home, and that he was heading to Fort Yates on another trail, sending Cody on a misinformed detour. That night, at his camp along Four Mile Creek, he received the news that President Benjamin Harrison had rescinded General Mile’s order for him to bring in his old friend Sitting Bull. The following day, Cody and his party returned to Fort Yates and soon left for the railroad station at Mandan.

But sometime during the chaotic forty-eight hours of his mission, Sitting Bull had gotten word that Buffalo Bill was looking for him. “Is it true?” he asked. What meaning did this have for the medicine man as things were careening towards a conclusion? We can imagine that perhaps it strengthened him. Perhaps it gave him heart, or affirmed his friendship with Cody when most needed.

Hearing that his old friend had been nearby, he may have wondered if he sought his return to the Wild West show. Or maybe it was another kind of lifeline. Somebody wanted something, that was for sure. The man who told him about Buffalo Bill asked him to surrender everyone knew that the end game was underway. Sitting Bull declined. He knew all too well that doing so would lead to his arrest—or murder while in custody.


How Buffalo Bill Became a Living, Breathing Personification of the American West

As the world pivoted from the 19th to the 20th century, few men alive, certainly no American alive, was better known than William Frederick Cody. He was a frontiersman and soldier turned entertainer and entrepreneur who thrilled crowds all over the globe by giving adoring patrons an authentic — well, mostly authentic — taste of the American West.

"Buffalo Bill" and his Wild West show played before rapt throngs of people (more than 3 million in 1893 alone) for more than 20 years, offering the paying public an up-close look at real honest-to-goodness cowboys and Indians. Sharpshooting exhibitions, trick riding and recreations of buffalo hunts (with real buffalo) and stagecoach holdups were all regular parts of the program. The show was so ambitious that it took hundreds of people to stage it. To move the show from one place to another, two trains — totaling 50 or more cars — were required.

The Wild West show — officially, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" — was so popular that it went international, first touring England for almost a year in 1887. Cody and his band of showmen (and women) spent large chunks of the decade after that playing in front of sold-out venues in several other spots in Europe.

Of course, the show, strictly speaking, wasn't the real thing. It's difficult to shoot a glass ball out of the air with a pistol, hold up a stagecoach with guns blazing, fight with Indians you're paying to be there, or slaughter buffalo with a rifle in front of a crowd of meek city folks and foreigners.

Still, Buffalo Bill sure was the real deal. Nós vamos. Majoritariamente.

"I think the key reason why he was so successful is they never billed the show as a circus," says Jeremy Johnston, the historian for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Buffalo Bill's namesake town of Cody, Wyoming. "It was always billed as an historical exposition, or an historical reenactment, this unusual combination of drama and authenticity.

"For people watching the show, you're watching Buffalo Bill and many other performers who were actually in the American West and actually fought in the Indian Wars. You're seeing these individuals who were there at the events reenacting what they did. It just really had to leave quite the impression."

The Backstory of Buffalo Bill

To help out his struggling family, William Cody (born in 1846 in Iowa) was forced into work before he hit his teens. He became a cattle driver in Kansas. He worked on train routes to the American West. He moved from those jobs into (historians wrestle with how true this is) a short stint as a Pony Express rider. Later, he enlisted as a cavalryman in the last year or so of the Civil War and, after the war, became Chief of Scouts for the Fifth Cavalry, where he took part in several fights in the Indian Wars.

He earned his nickname in 1866, according to the William F. Cody Archive, for his skills at hunting buffalo to feed railroad workers. By his count, he killed more than 4,000 bison on the plains in around 18 months as a buffalo hunter.

All the riding and roping and shooting earned him his bona fides among those in the West. And when he began to embrace a certain persona — wearing his hair long, dressing in buckskin, sporting a floppy sombrero, later fashioning a huge handlebar mustache — his legend grew with it.

In 1869, prolific dime novelist Ned Buntline (dime novels of the time fed the public's insatiable appetite for stories of the Wild West) penned "Buffalo Bill: The King of Border Men," one of literally hundreds of stories that would feature Buffalo Bill in the decades to come. Cody was barely 23. He soon would become a household name.

Here's a passage from that first "novel," recounting a fictional account of "Wild Bill" Hickok (a real-life friend to Cody) talking to Cody's mother:


The First ‘Buffalo Bill’ Was Named William Mathewson, not Cody

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody truly was a frontiersman, scout and Indian fighter. But he became bigger than life as a showman thanks to newspapers, pulp fiction, dime novels, excellent promotion and his crowd-pleasing Wild West extravaganza. By the late 19th century, the name “Buffalo Bill” was recognized all over the United States and Europe. But Cody was not the first man to carry that catchy moniker.

The first “Buffalo Bill” was a Kansas frontiersman, well known in his time but never a living legend. In his youth, he rode and trapped with Christopher “Kit” Carson. A familiar figure at Bent’s Fort and Fort St. Vrain, he traded with Indians on the central Plains and sometimes fought them. He once beat up Kiowa Chief Satanta (White Bear), warrior and future “Orator of the Plains,” and then became the chief’s trusted friend. He also counted George Armstrong Custer as a friend. Defining the northern end of a famous cattle trail was among his accomplishments, and he was one of the founders of Wichita, Kan. His birth name was William Mathewson.

Born on New Year’s Day 1830 in Triangle, N.Y., Mathewson at 19 jumped at an opportunity that would change his life forever—he joined the Northwestern Fur Company. As he traveled through the still-wild land that would become the Dakotas, Nebraska and Montana, he learned to trap, trade and fight. After two years with the Northwestern Fur Company, he joined a party under the direct command of Kit Carson and set off farther west toward the Rocky Mountains.

In 1852 Mathewson worked at Fort St.Vrain (in present-day central Colorado), a civilian post where he gained insight into business possibilities. He decided to establish a trading post along the Santa Fe Trail near the center of what is now Kansas—at the so-called Great Bend of the Arkansas River. Beginning in 1853, Mathewson was based at the post for 10 years and traded with both emigrants and Indians. Kansas Territory, which included much of present-day Colorado, was created in May 1854.

The summer of 1860 was unusually hot, dry and windy, and the settlers’ crops in eastern Kansas shriveled in the fields. By the bitter winter of 1860-61, many settlers were starving. One day a traveler returning from the West reached the eastern Kansas settlements with a wagon loaded with buffalo meat. Asked where he got all that meat, he replied, “Out at Bill’s.” Naturally, he was asked, “Bill who?” His casual answer: “Oh, just Bill, the buffalo killer out at Big Bend.” Thus, the moniker “Buffalo Bill” was bestowed on William Mathewson.

At his post on the Big Bend of the Arkansas, Buffalo Bill Mathewson generously supplied the needy folks with all the buffalo meat they could carry on horseback or haul in their wagons. Through the winter, he made almost daily trips to the buffalo range, sometimes killing as many as 80 of the big beasts a day to ensure a steady supply of “free” meat. It was six or seven years later that William F. Cody shot enough buffalo near Fort Hays, Kan., to earn the same soubriquet, “Buffalo Bill.”

In 1861 Kiowa Chief Satanta rode to Mathewson’s trading post intending to steal some stock and gain vengeance for a warrior who had been killed while attempting to take a horse from the post. In a heart beat, Mathewson floored Satanta and gave him a thorough beating, before escorting the chief and his followers off the property at gunpoint. From that day on, the Plains Indians in the area called Mathewson “Sinpah Zilbah (Long-Bearded Dangerous White Man). A year later, Satanta presented Mathewson with some of his finest ponies and entered into a treaty with his “friend.” If it was Mathewson’s generosity that impressed the Kansas settlers, it was his relationship with Satanta that made him well known among area Indians.

By the summer of 1864, Buffalo Bill Mathewson had left the post on the Big Bend and moved to a ranch. Life hadn’t become any easier, though. The Indians were on the warpath. Satanta warned Mathewson about the uprising long before raiders struck the ranch. Instead of seeking safer ground, Mathewson and a few other men, each armed with the first breechloading rifles used on the Kansas plains, made a stand. Early on July 20, hundreds of Indians attacked the ranch, but they were met by devastating fire. A three-day impasse ensued, and on the third night, the raiders withdrew after losing some 100 horses and several of their companions.

After getting the warning from Satanta, Mathewson had not only prepared a defense but also had written to both the Overland Transportation Company and Bryant, Banard & Company, advising them not to send out any supply wagons. One supply train of 147 wagons and 155 men had already departed the government posts in New Mexico Territory, however, and was now within three miles of Mathewson’s ranch. From the roof of his ranch, Buffalo Bill saw the Indians attack the wagon train. Leaving his men behind to protect the ranch, he loaded his Sharps rifle and Colt revolvers and rode headlong into the encircled wagons. Grabbing an ax, he broke open some crates in the wagons and distributed weapons and ammunition to the freight men. Under his leadership, the freighters delivered a scathing fire that broke the attack. Mathewson then took a group from the train and chased the retreating Indians.

Not long afterward, on August 28, 1864, Mathewson married Elizabeth Inman, who had emigrated from Yorkshire, England, in 1850. Becoming a married man didn’t mean Buffalo Bill would change his lifestyle. He taught Lizzie how to handle firearms, and she became his steadfast companion on trading expeditions. Later, she and a friend, Miss Fannie Cox of St. Joseph, Mo., would accompany him on the new Chisholm Trail—the first two white woman to do so. The Indians who visited the Mathewsons’ ranch/trading post called Lizzie “Marrwissa” (Golden Hair).

At the end of the Civil War, the Federal government requested that the commander of the Western Department find someone to contact the hostile Indians and arrange a council. The obvious choice was Mathewson, who discovered an Indian camp at the mouth of the Little Arkansas River and managed to arrange a council between the government commissioners and Indian leaders. In 1867, however, the Indians were back on the warpath in Kansas. After assessing the situation, Mathewson telegraphed Washington, requesting that General Winfield Scott Hancock and his troops be withdrawn from the area and stating that he would try to contact the Indians himself.

This request was granted, and Mathewson convinced the Indians to meet with government representatives. The result was the Medicine Lodge Treaty, in which the southern Plains tribes were assigned reservations in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

That same year, Buffalo Bill took two boys he had rescued from the Comanches to Fort Arbuckle in Indian Territory. Upon delivering the youths, Mathewson ran into Colonel Henry Dougherty, who was moving a cattle herd north from Texas. Dougherty asked Mathewson to be his guide, and Mathewson led him over the northern portion of what then was called “Chisholm’s Trail,” bringing the first herd of Texas Longhorns to the Wichita area. After the railroad arrived in Wichita in 1872, the town became the major cattle shipping hub of Kansas, and Chisholm’s Trail became the famous Chisholm Trail.

Also during the 1860s, Mathewson met and frequently visited with an army man stationed in Kansas and destined to become a military icon of the Frontier West—Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who would die at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory in 1876. Between 1868 and 1873, Mathewson was instrumental in securing the release of 54 white women and children held captive by the Indians. He and his wife settled in the Wichita area, where he built a log home, became a civic leader and established the Wichita Savings Bank in 1887.

Why was William Mathewson not a legend in his own time as was William F. Cody? His lack of national fame was his own choosing. He didn’t view his life as extraordinary he simply did what needed doing. On numerous occasions Buffalo Bill Mathewson was approached by newspaper and magazine writers and even authors of the popular dime novels wanting to tell the story of his life on the Western frontier. However, Mathewson always rejected the proposals.

When Mathewson died in Wichita on March 22, 1916, he was referred to as “the original Buffalo Bill.” Not long after that, his son, William Mathewson Jr., received a letter from none other than the famous scout-turned-showman Buffalo Bill Cody. The letter voiced Cody’s condolences and acknowledged the fact that fellow frontiersman William Mathewson was truly the first “Buffalo Bill.”

Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Wild West. Para se inscrever, clique aqui.


Buffalo Bill Cody

Though the show eventually became a great success, Buffalo Bill went through several financial wobbles, especially in the early days of the enterprise. In 1884, Bill nearly went bankrupt. After deciding to spend the winter in New Orleans of that same year, Bill hired a boat to take his performers and equipage to the Crescent City via the Mississippi river. Bill then went ahead by train to secure performance grounds while the hired steamship headed to New Orleans.

While steaming down the river, the ship collided with another vessel sinking the steamer and almost drowning everyone on board. Cody estimated the monetary loss to be around $20,000. After the initial shock of what happened, Bill decided to open in New Orleans on time. This decision proved to be disastrous. The weather was completely merciless raining the entire 3 months that the “Wild West” was there, deterring spectators from showing up. At the end of the endeavor, Bill counted his losses at about $60,000. Combined with the $20,000 lost on the river, Buffalo Bill was staring at $80,000 dollars of debt.


Buffalo Bill Cody vs. Wild Bill Hickok

If you don’t know the difference between the two men here are some entertaining facts about each to help you know who is who:

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in Le Claire, Iowa in 1846. In 1883, Buffalo Bill created the Wild West show. The circus-like attraction was successful for decades and played to massive crowds all over the world. The popularity of the show made Buffalo Bill the most famous American at the time. Cody is attributed as the inventor of our national idea of the Wild West and was an inspiration for early Western movie makers like the iconic director John Ford and the incomparable John Wayne. Many of the scenes that played out in his Wild West shows: Circling the wagons, Indian attacks, and trick shooting were eventually mimicked on film. Before his time as a showman, Buffalo Bill earned a reputation as a rugged frontiersman while supposedly riding with the Pony Express in 1860, hunting buffalo for the Kansas Pacific Railroad (which earned him his nickname), and as Chief of Scouts for the Third Cavalry during the Plains Indian Wars (where he eventually received a Medal of Honor in 1872). Buffalo Bill also earned the respect of the great Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and was an early advocate of equal pay for women. He died in 1917 at the age of 70 in Denver, Colorado.
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was born in Homer, Illinois in 1837. In 1861, because of a "sweeping nose and protruding upper lip" Hickok received the nickname “Duck Bill” from local bully and supposed outlaw David McCanles. McCanles, after having a financial dispute with Hickok, would be the first man reputed to have been shot to death by "Wild Bill." After McCanles’ death, Hickok grew a mustache and began referring to himself as “Wild Bill.” Throughout his lifetime, Hickok would work as a wagon-master for the Union Army during the Civil War, serve as a sheriff and city marshal, and kill at least six men in gunfights. A voracious gambler all his life, Wild Bill would collect his final reward at a poker table in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876, murdered by an assassin’s bullet. Hickok is widely regarded as the greatest gunfighter who ever lived, is the winner of the first recorded quick-draw duel, and was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979. Diz a lenda que, no momento de sua morte, Hickok ficou famoso por segurar a "mão do homem morto" (ases e oitos, todas pretas e uma carta "hole"). Como nota lateral, Hickok e Cody eram amigos e em 1873 atuaram juntos em uma peça antes de seguirem caminhos separados. Se você quiser saber mais, acesse aqui e pesquise nas fotos da biblioteca e nas coleções de manuscritos esses dois ícones ocidentais.


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