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Helen Cody Wetmore's classic account of the life of Buffalo Bill is action-packed and informative, doing full justice to the legend that was William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
As Buffalo Bill's younger sister, Helen Cody Wetmore was in a great position to comment on her brother's adventures in the Old West, and his personality. Beginning as a contracted hunter, it was only when Cody's prowess in buffalo shooting was chronicled by New York based author and publisher Ned Buntline that he attained great fame.
Although the stories Buntline published were partly fabricated and mostly exaggerated, William Cody was stunned by the attention and fame subsequently lavished upon him. After proving his abilities in a series of hunting contests, he launched his show: Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
Cody made an enormously successful enterprise out of performing and re-enacting dramatic events and battles of the Western frontier. The show employed Native Americans and former cavalrymen, thrilling crowds who turned up in their thousands. Buffalo Bill encouraged Native Americans to camp at his shows much as they would anywhere else, so that visitors could admire the rich and ancient Native American culture, rather than only the warrior's martial prowess on horseback.
Although thought symbolic of the Old West and adventurism of the 19th century, as well as the enterprising spirit of the United States, Buffalo Bill's character was deeper than the image he cultivated between shows. He greatly respected Native Americans, and even admonished the U. S. government for breaking promises and instigating uprisings. Although an enthusiastic hunter of bison, he was also a conservationist: a hunting season, strictly enforced, was among the policies Bill supported.
It is in this chronicle that we witness both Buffalo Bill the gifted, larger-than-life performer, and William Cody the conscientious human being. His tours abroad to Great Britain, and the mutual respect he held with most who met and knew him, make this biography a worthy chronicle of one of the Wild West era's most famous people.