Born on February 26, 1846 in LeClair, Iowa, William F. Buffalo Bill Cody moved with his family to Kansas. At age 15 he began riding for the Pony Express. He served in the Civil War as a scout and guide for the Union Army. In 1863, he became chief of scouts for the Fifth U.S. Cavalry and participated in several Indian fights. While rescuing two couriers, he gained fame by killing the young chief of the Cheyenne, Yellow Hand. In 1872, Cody was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, but the government took it back 44 years later because he wasnt a member of the military when it was awarded. In 1868, he was hired to supply meat for the gangs constructing the Kansas Pacific Railroad. In a year and a half, he killed over 4,000 buffalo, earning him the nickname Buffalo Bill. In 1869, a dime novel was written about his life and soon he began appearing in melodramas. Cody continued his theater tours for 11 years. In 1883, he organized the Wild West Show. Eventually crippled by his poor business skills and alcoholism, the show collapsed in 1913 after an extremely successful run. In 1901, Cody became president of the Cody Military College and International Academy of Rough Riders, a riding school on his property in Wyoming. The city Cody, Wyoming is named after him. On January 10, 1917, Cody died and was buried on Look Out Mountain, near Denver. Although he died very poor, Cody was a popular Western hero and was instrumental in shaping the worlds image of the American Old West.
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