By: John M. Burke (1842-1917)
William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody is one of the legends of the American western frontier. As a teen he rode for the pony expressed and then drove for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. He later rejoined the army as a scout and was awarded the medal of honor for his valor during the Indian Wars. His fame became worldwide, however, through his flamboyant Wild West shows which toured not only across the American West but through England and Europe.
John M. Burke served as Cody’s publicist and promoter for the Wild West shows, propelling him into celebrity status. From his preface to this biography:
"An association of some thirty years with the subject of these pages, a familiarity with his history gained by opportune meetings and conversations with comrades now living, and those since dead—who were witnesses of the events that assisted to make the individual prominent—makes me feel it a public duty to accede to the publisher’s request to compile a short, sharp, and veracious account of the unique history of this picturesque character. The compiler of the accompanying pages has attempted to present to the reader, in a terse, compact compendium of facts, the story of a career that, if given in a detailed biography, would absorb volumes, believing that owing to his prominence at home and abroad the public desire some authentic knowledge of the notable events in his career. In fact, here are presented a few plain truths, unadorned, for the benefit of those too occupied to have heretofore learned the story and triumphs of the frontier lad of nine years, from the wild Western scenes of Kansas and Nebraska, from the prairies of the Platte to the parlors of the East and the palaces of Europe." - Summary by Larry Wilson