William Frederick Cody (1846-1917) North Platte, Nebraska
William Frederick Cody, better known as " Bill", came to the Kansas/Nebraska Territory with his family at the age of eight. While still very young, Buffalo Bill began his legendary career as a military scout in Kansas, later serving in the same capacity for the 5th Cavalry, at Fort McPherson, Nebraska.
As a buffalo hunter for the railroad, his proficiency for the job earned him his famous nickname. So legendary was his status as a buffalo hunter that, for a time, his only occupation was as a guide to wealthy Easterners and Europeans wishing to experience the thrill of a buffalo hunt on the wild western frontier.
In 1872, Bill led the hunting party of the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, observantly noting the Grand Duke's extreme pleasure with Bill's display of marksmanship and the horsemanship of the Indian members of the hunting party.
Buffalo Bill's legendary status is partly due to the popularity of dime novels based on his life and adventures (however exaggerated) written by Ned Buntline. It was through Mr. Buntline's influence that Bill traveled to New York to star in a Wild West stage production. Soon after, Bill formed his own drama company and produced Wild West shows for the New York stage. These stage productions were the precursor to his more elaborate Wild West Shows.
In 1883, nearly ten years after his introduction to the New York stage, Bill produced his first full scale Wild West Show before an audience of 8,000 in Omaha. The shows, entitled "Wild West, Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition," were a huge success; the first truly successful entertainment of this type, and tours in the United States and Europe soon followed, lasting from 1883 to 1913.
Buffalo Bill's ranch in North Platte, Nebraska, is still in operation today and more about this remarkable American showman can be learned with a visit there.