William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory.
Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven, after his father's death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 14. During the American Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout for the US Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1872.
One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill's legend began to spread when he was only twenty-three. Shortly thereafter he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and Europe.
1926: With Buffalo Bill on the U. P. Trail is a silent film starring Roy Stewart as Buffalo Bill.
1936: The Plainsman with James Ellison portraying Cody.
1944: Buffalo Bill, is a film about Cody's life, starring Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Hara.
1953: Pony Express, a fictional film about the Pony Express, with Charlton Heston potraying Cody.
1976: Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, is a fictional film by Robert Altman that features the Wild West show, with Paul Newman as Cody and Geraldine Chaplin as Annie Oakley. The film is based on the play "Indians", by Arthur Kopit.
1995: Wild Bill, is a film based on legends about "Wild Bill" Hickok, in which Buffalo Bill briefly appears in the play Scouts of the Plains, with Jeff Bridges as Hickok, Keith Carradine as Cody, and Ellen Barkin as Calamity Jane.
1995: Buffalo Girls is a film based on legends about Calamity Jane, with Peter Coyote as Buffalo Bill, Anjelica Huston as Calamity Jane, Reba McEntire as Annie Oakley, and Russell Means as Chief Sitting Bull.
2004: Hidalgo is a film based on the legend of Frank Hopkins, featuring the Wild West show, with J. K. Simmons as Buffalo Bill and Elizabeth Berridge as Annie Oakley.
Cody was featured as a historical character on such television series about the West as The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Bonanza. He has been portrayed as an elder statesman or as a flamboyant, self-serving exhibitionist.
Cody was portrayed by Britt Lomond in the episode "A Legend of Buffalo Bill" (1959) of the ABC/Warner Brothers Western television series Colt .45.
In The Young Riders, a highly fictionalized story of the Pony Express, Cody was portrayed by Stephen Baldwin.
Channel The Film Archives