William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846–1917) was a US Army scout, western frontiersman, and showman. Born in Iowa, Cody moved to Kansas as a young boy and began working as a messenger and teamster at age eleven. Before the Civil War, he rode for the Pony Express, and during the war he worked as an Army scout and soldier. In the late 1860s, Cody hunted buffalo on the Great Plains to help feed the builders of the Union Pacific Railroad, killing a dozen buffalo a day for two years and earning his nickname, “Buffalo Bill.” Cody later took up work again as a scout and guide for US forces fighting Indian resistance west of the Mississippi, in 1872 earning the Medal of Honor (later revoked since Cody was acting as a civilian scout, and restored in 1989). In 1883, Cody developed and began touring with his “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.” The show featured shooting exhibitions, horseback riding, and roping, as well as re-creations of Indian stagecoach raids and Pony Express rides. Along with Buffalo Bill himself, the show featured sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Dakota chief Sitting Bull. The Buffalo Bill Wild West Show toured the world, popularizing and perpetuating folklore about cowboys, Indians, and the American West.

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