Buffalo Bill the Actor

Buffalo Bill was an actor long before he came up with the idea of his Wild West show. 

 From 1872 until 1886 Cody led a troupe of traveling actors, a "Combination," through much of America presenting frontier melodramas. It was during this period that he honed, what would become, his Wild West Show. Bill Cody’s acting debut was in dime novel writer Ned Buntline’s, The Scouts of the Prairie.

In his 14 years with the traveling troupes, he tired of the same dull presentations of the west and wanted to offer a more real show of the west. It was during this time that he added shooting marksmanship exhibitions, and Indian dancers, and started to use animals onstage.

Cody started his, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, in 1883 and three years later acted only in his show. Interesting that it was not Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but only Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.

Cody’s portrayal of the Wild West toured widely in the United States and was so popular that eight different years the group visited Europe, putting on shows for commoners and crowned heads alike. Cody's show lasted for three decades, an excellent run by anyone's standards. 

Cody had two homes, one in North Platte, Nebraska and another in Cody, Wyoming. To most historians, this was the setting for his version of the west, central Nebraska through all of Wyoming.


How famous was he because of his show? Writer/western historian, Larry McMurtry says he was the most recognizable person in the world during the last part of the 1800s – pretty famous!

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.
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