Uniquely American

Born in 1846, William F. Cody experienced the Old West to its fullest. His skill as a buffalo hunter gained him the nickname “Buffalo Bill.” Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows used real cow-boys and cow-girls, recruited from ranches in the West. At first, few people shared Cody’s admiration of the cow-boys. Most people regarded them as coarse cattle drivers and used the term “cow-boy” as an insult. By the end of the 19th century, the cow-boy became the much more popular “cowboy,” thanks in large part to the Buffalo Bill Wild West shows. The shows demonstrated bronco riding, roping, and other skills that would later become part of public rodeos. Buffalo Bill’s show traveled the world leaving a lasting vision of the American West.

Altogether, Buffalo Bill performed 35 times in Colorado between 1886 and 1916. It was Bill Cody’s wish to be buried on Lookout Mountain, with views of the mountains and the plains surrounding Denver. When he died in 1917, his wish was carried out, and his grave is located in Lookout Mountain Park, part of the Denver Mountain Parks system. The site overlooks the natural beauty of the Great Plains and the Rockies, and attracts over 400,000 annual visitors. Louisa, who had married Buffalo Bill back before he became famous, was buried next to her husband four years later. That year, 1921, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum was begun by Johnny Baker, close friend and unofficial foster son to Buffalo Bill. Just as millions of people saw Buffalo Bill in his Wild West shows during his life, millions of persons have visited Buffalo Bill’s grave in the years since 1917.

The Museum illustrates the life, times, and legend of William F. Cody. It includes exhibits about Buffalo Bill’s life and the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts and firearms.  Visiting the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave gives you a taste of history that is uniquely American. Just a short day trip can take your imagination back to the Old West, leaving the ‘new west’ temporarily at the door.

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