And it is beyond the pale of civilization I find the hero of these pages which tell of thrilling adventures, fierce combats, deadly feuds and wild rides, that, one and all, are true to the letter, as hundreds now living can testify.
Who has not heard the name of Buffalo Bill—a magic name, seemingly, to every boy’s heart?
And yet in the uttermost parts of the earth it is known among men.
A child of the prairie, as it were, Buffalo Bill will go down to history as one of America’s strange heroes who has loved the trackless wilds, rolling plains and mountain solitudes of our land, far more than the bustle and turmoil, the busy life and joys of our cities, and who has stood as a barrier between civilization and savagery, risking his own life to save the lives of others.
Glancing back over the past, we recall a few names that have stood out in the boldest relief in frontier history, and they are Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson and W.F. Cody—the last named being Buffalo Bill, the King of Bordermen.
Knowing the man well, having seen him amid the greatest dangers, shared with him his blanket and his camp-fire’s warmth, I feel entitled to write of him as a hero of heroes, and in the following pages sketch his remarkable career from boyhood to manhood.
Born in the State of Iowa in 1843, his father being one of the bold pioneers to that part of the West, Buffalo Bill, or Will Cody, was inured to scenes of hardship and danger ere he reached his tenth year, and being a precocious youth, his adventurous spirit led him into all sorts of deeds of mischief and daring, which well served to lay the foundation for the later acts of his life.
A capture of outlaws.
When Will was but nine years of age his first thrilling adventure occurred, and it gave the boy a name for pluck and nerve that went with him to Kansas, where his father removed with his family shortly after the incident which I will now relate.
The circumstance to which I refer, and that made a boy hero of him in the eyes of the neighbors for miles around where his parents lived, showed the wonderful nerve that has never since deserted him, but rather has increased with his years.
The country school which he attended was some five miles from his father’s house and he was wont to ride there each morning and back in the afternoon upon a wiry, vicious little mustang that every one had prognosticated would some day be the death of him.
Living a few miles from the Cody ranch was a poor settler who had a son two years Billy’s senior, who also attended the same school, but whose parents were too poor to spare him a horse from the farm to ride.
This boy was Billy’s chum, and as they shared together their noonday meal, the pony was also shared, for the boy rode behind my hero to and from school, being called for each morning and dropped off near his cabin on the return trip.