Buffalo Bill

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2011, 12:00am

'Buffalo Bill' is a name familiar to many Westerners. Many films were made about Buffalo Bill. He led a very exciting life.


Buffalo Bill's real name was William Frederick Cody. He was born on February 26, 1846, in Iowa, United States. Bill (William)'s father died when he was 11. He had to work to help feed the family. His first job was as a messenger on a freight wagon. Then he joined the army to assist with the Utah War. This is when he began his career as an 'Indian Fighter'.

When he was 14 he decided to go gold hunting. He met an agent for the Pony Express - a mail delivery service - on the way to the gold mines.

He helped the company build many way stations and corrals. Then he became a rider for them. He eventually joined the army in 1863 and served for two years.

Buffalo killings

Between 1867 and 1868 he killed 4,280 buffalo in 17 months. He had a contract to supply the meat to the workers of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. This is how he earned his nickname.


In December 1872 Cody started acting. His first show was The Scouts of the Prairie. The group that put on Wild West shows toured for 10 years. In 1883, Cody started a circus-like show called Buffalo Bill's Wild West. He travelled to many countries with this show.


Some historians think that at one time Buffalo Bill Cody was the most recognisable celebrity on earth. At one time he had a lot of money. When he died he was not wealthy. He died of kidney failure on January 10, 1917. He was buried on top of Lookout Mountain in Colorado, United States.

Now do this:

1 How old was Cody when he had to start working?

a. 20

b. 11

c. 15

2 How long did Cody take to kill 4,280 buffalo?

a. 24 months

b. 36 months

c. 17 months

3 What was the name of Cody's circus-like show?

a. The Scouts of the Prairie

b. Buffalo Bill's Wild West

c. Cody's Circus Show


1. b, 2. c, 3. b