Episode Information


In this episode:

An exploration of the man behind the legend...



Buffalo Bill

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William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West -- one that endures today. Born in an Iowa log cabin in 1846, he fought Indians, worked as a Pony Express rider and earned his nickname while hunting buffalo to feed the construction crews of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. After the Civil War, he scouted for the U.S. Army along America's vast western frontier. In 1883, just as that frontier was disappearing, he transformed himself into a master showman, creating and starring in a world-famous traveling show that brought the Wild West to life. Part circus, part history, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West&" toured for three decades, playing to enthusiastic crowds across the United States and Europe. Though Cody made a fortune from the show's success, he was nearly bankrupt when he died 1917. This program draws upon rich archival materials of the period to explore the man behind the legend, revealing the complexity of Buffalo Bill's extraordinary life. Richard Ben Cramer narrates.

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