Buffalo Bill, Last of the Great Scouts hardcover w/jacket by Helen Cody Wetmore 1994
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William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody was active on the frontier for only about a dozen years (1860-1872); for the next thirty-five he was an actor and a showman. But today, more than a half century after his death, the Buffalo Bill legend is as strong as ever. First published in 1899, this artless and affectionate biography by his sister evokes both the man and the legend. In addition to giving a full account of Bill's early years, Helen Cody Wetmore offers some interesting sidelights on his adult life - for example, his experiences as a Union Army spy, a land speculator, a hotelkeeper, and a justice of the peace. (Called upon to perform a marriage ceremony, Cody concluded it with the impressive words: "whom God and Buffalo Bill hath joined together, let no man put asunder.") Here are glimpses of Bill as a host to visiting potentates and chapters on "Theatrical Experiences" and "Literary Works" which are not only funny in themselves but convincing evidence that he was never taken in by his own publicity. As a period piece, "Buffalo Bill" is loaded with passages that today's readers will find hilarious, but more than that it is informative and entertaining on its own terms. Wetmore is dead right in her conclusion that Bill Cody gained his strong hold on American hearts because "in his own person he condenses a period of the history of this nation."