William Frederick Cody, better known as “Buffalo Bill,” was a legendary character straight out of the Old West. He rode for the Pony Express, fought Indians, hunted buffalo, scouted for the Army, and thanks to dime novelist, Ned Buntline, became one of the nation’s foremost folk heroes.
By the time of his death in 1917, Cody’s name had become a household word, but then the U.S. government chose to cast a shadow across his image by taking back his Congressional Medal of Honor.
Buffalo Bill was born in Iowa in 1846. When his father died in 1857, he moved with his mother to Kansas. Three years later he began his dramatic rise to fame by joining the Pony Express. When the telegraph put that operation out of business, Bill returned home where he became one of the most efficient buffalo hunters on the plains. Then came the Civil War.
Cody enlisted in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry and saw considerable action in Missouri and Tennessee. After the war, he continued to work for the Army as a scout and dispatch carrier, operating out of Fort Ellsworth, Kan...