Old West Lifestyle & Stories


On December 11, 1872 Buffalo Bill Cody made his first stage appearance in a production of The Scouts of the Prairie.
Although he was known as a showman, William Frederick Cody played an important role in the settling of the west. Cody joined the western messenger service of Majors and Russell as a rider while still in his teens. During the Civil War, he joined forces with a variety of irregular militia groups supporting the North.

Cody began to earn his famous nickname in 1867, when he signed on to provide buffalo meat for the workers of the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific Railroad construction project. His reputation for skilled marksmanship and experience as a messenger resulted in General Philip Sheridan giving Cody a position as a scout.

Cody’s work as a scout in the western Indian wars began the foundation for his fame. Later, Cody served as a hunting guide for famous Europeans and Americans eager to experience a bit of the “Wild West” before it disappeared. One of his customers was Edward Judson, a successful writer who penned popular dime novels under the name Ned Buntline. Buntline made Cody the hero of a highly imaginative Wild West novel published in 1869. When a stage version of the novel debuted in Chicago as The Scouts of the Prairie, Buntline convinced Cody to abandon his real-life western adventures to play a highly exaggerated version of himself in the play.

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