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The Life of Hon. William F. Cody: Known as Buffalo Bill, The Famous Hunter, Scout, and Guide

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  376 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The real achievements of William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody as a plainsman, hunter, scout, and Indian fighter have tended to be obscured by his fame as a showman. From its opening performance in 1883, Buffalo Bill's Wild West (it was never advertised as a show or circus) enthralled audiences in America and Europe, urchins and crowned heads alike; and probably no one man did mo ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 1st 1978 by Bison Books (first published 1879)
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This is a fantastical read, which makes me take nearly everything Col Cody says with a big pinch of salt. Still, for the larger than life figure Buffalo Bill has become, it is fitting that his autobiography is a tall tale.

About 15 chapters in and I had to give up. This tales are the same, he rolls into a town, is almost attacked by bandits/Native Americans/Confederates and not only manages to heroically save himself, he saves a few damsels that happen to be in distress. All at the age of 10. Lat
The Life and Adventures of William F. Cody, As Told by Himself, produces a picture of life in the old west. Mr. Cody's writing leaves something too be desired and the tales told, especially once he became employed in the army, were repetitive at best. Many of his tales of hunting buffalo began and ended in the same manner, either with a successful hunt, or with a chase involving an angry band of indians. Very little is spoken of concerning his life off of the plains and the author seems to striv ...more
This is the ninth book of my American history series. I finished Mark Twain's book Roughing It and it not only whet my appetite for some more Wild West material but I was also looking for a book to take me into the 1900s. William Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, lived from 1846-1917. As a young boy my grandmother gave me old copies of a series of biographies she had. They included "Wild Bill" Hickcok, Kit Carson, Chief Black Hawk, and Buffalo Bill. From reading those stories at a young age I' ...more
Derek Davis
Feb 02, 2011 Derek Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting a Kindle has gotten me into reading much of the 19th century (it's all free, which helps pay for the Kindle).

This one's from 1879, soon after Buffalo Bill had switched from scout and buffalo/Indian slaughterer to theater producer, but a few years before he established his Wild West show.

Cody's an odd bird. From the off-hand way much of the book's written (and I'd presume at least partly ghost-written) I tend to think it's largely truthful (and later accounts by others back this up in mo
Vic Heaney
Dec 12, 2011 Vic Heaney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is entertaining and enlightening. Entertaining because it rattles along from one adventure to another. Buffalo Bill started work before the age of ten, seemingly doing a man's job and getting a man's pay working on "bull trains", hauling freight across dangerous Indian-infested (as they said then) territory. He was also a Pony Express rider. He became a famous army scout and one of the most famous "hunters" involved in the massacre of buffalo, killed frequently just for the fun of it, and h ...more
Thom Swennes
The Life of Buffalo Bill: Or, the Life and Adventures of William F. Cody, as Told by Himself by William F. Cody is pretty much what I thought it would be. Above all was Buffalo Bill a showman and this autobiography is tailored for an audience thirsting for the adventures of the now obsolete Wild West. I have read similar works by George Custer and U.S. Grant and I must say that they sounded more factual and realistic as this written record. Exaggeration wouldn't be an overstatement in this book. ...more
Adrienne Harris
Jun 18, 2015 Adrienne Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

I always thought of buffalo bill as a showman. this look goes into his life prior to becoming a showman. What a interesting life he lived. Lots of stories and lots of adventures.
Beverly Walker
Nov 19, 2014 Beverly Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was good

I liked the whole storyline a whole lot this book was very cool
I would recommend this to cowboy fans of all ages
Kimberly Walla
Dry but informative

The book read like a travel log without the detail that makes for a rich experience. Interesting but somewhat redundant.
Aug 04, 2014 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting first hand accounts of what it was like taming the American west. Accounts of many, many scouting trips and Indian skirmishes gets a little boring along the way. However, a good American history refresher. If you read this be sure to google and have handy a map of the American frontier that notes all of the American army forts and the major rivers. These are a helpful reference to understand exactly where things were happening. Very well written considering he only had a fe ...more
Puur jeugdsentiment. Ik was helemaal weg van deze verhalen tussen mijn tiende en dertiende. Bezat er een tiental boeken van.
William F. Cody writes his autobiography in the typical 19th century style, light talky and not too deep. But he gives a good account of his life and what he did for a living, including Pony Express, Buffalo hunter, scout, performer and other various jobs. He became so famous at the end of his life he hosted a Russian Duke and gave him a taste of a buffalo hunt on the prairie. Since Buffalo Bill is so important to the West, it was good to read his own account and I found it interesting.
Dave Carter
Somewhat disappointed in this one. This was written by Buffalo Bill at the point in his life when he was just getting ready to head out to the European stage. A lot of self-grandizing in this book. And, it's troubling that he demonstrated such a cavaliar attitude toward the killing of Native Americans and bison alike. In tems of his relations with Native Americans, he wriates about sitting down with them in peace at one moment, and then shooting them without a second thought the next.
Chris Johnson
Buffalo Bill may not have written this autobiography but he most likely dictated it to someone. There are so many versions of this out there and it has been revised so many times it is hard to find the truth on Buffalo Bill. This one is about as close as it gets and seems to be fairly well done. I would like to see a version with some annotations but overall it is a good read. Especially if you are interested in the life of a western legend, Buffalo Bill Cody.
Tom Torkelson
If you really want to know more about the life of William Cody (Buffalo Bill), I'd suggest looking for one of the more scholarly biographies. This self-glorifying tall tale is doubtful in its portrayal of factual events and persons.
I know I need to keep Cody's writing in the historical context, but it is hard to listen to someone unabashedly brag about the native warriors they murder and the quantities of game animals they routinely slaughter.
Jul 02, 2013 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At least it goes by fast. I got bored and angry about 2/3 of the way through. It's a historically inaccurate, chest-pounding, hyped up and fanciful depiction of the "wild" west. It shows as much about the intended reader and the general knowledge and gullibility of the state of the world as it does about anything that it depicts. Also it's just boring. I'll reread the Court-Martial of Daniel Boone again instead.
Suzanne Vincent
Jan 20, 2012 Suzanne Vincent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look into the blustering life of one of America's great iconic western figures, and a fascinating look at the mores of his times from his perspective. I've heard it said of this autobiography that Cody exaggerated something fierce, but I didn't get that impression from his writings. Exaggeration? Sure, definitely some. But not so much that you don't feel the record is pretty close to authentic.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2010 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I have two somewhat contradicting ideas about this one. When confronted with the outrageous falsity of 90% of Cody's personal claims, I'm alternately disgusted and tickled. Buffalo Bill was quite a character, and, as a professor I know says, you get a lot more out of this if you read Cody as the storyteller of the West, binding as one narrative all the exploits he heard in saloons and around campfires.
Aaron Kuehn
Dec 29, 2013 Aaron Kuehn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost can't say enough good things about this book. I wasn't a particular fan or following of Buffalo Bill, but my wife started to read the book and encouraged me to read it as well.

While I can't say how accurate it is in the telling of historical facts or of Bill's exact personal exploits, it is a fast-moving and interesting read by far.
Nov 14, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book about the fact Buffalo Bill got his nickname from supplying buffalo meat to the railroad workers in Kansas. He did different jobs, he owned a hotel, hunted, and made the Wild West tour and took it overseas. He made an impression there as Europe was eager to see what the West was about.
Dec 16, 2013 Massimo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The life of buffalo bill is a really good book. I like hunting and adventure.this book did exactly that. This was a good combination. I've never been this attached to a book before. I would read this book again and again. This is a good book for people who like the old west, out doors, action, and adventure.
Wow, what a piece of history. It's a autobiography. From farming to scouting and hunting to the stage, it's all there.Comments about peoples at the time. Takes on the Indians. For those interested in the history of the American west, this is a book to read/listen to. (Available free on LibriVox.)
Dec 06, 2012 Melodee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent autobiography, giving rich details about Cody's frontiersman lifestyle,his encounters with Indians, and the origin of his nickname. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in American frontier history.
Debbie Zapata
Mar 14, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
The chapters on his younger days were quite interesting but after he became entangled with the army the stories all seemed to be the same. Glad I read it but would not do it again.
Ed Laundy
May 24, 2011 Ed Laundy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most interesting. Autubiography written before my parents wre born. Gives me a different picture of the old west.
Mar 13, 2011 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Impressive writing style, good character study, and outstanding series of true-ot-life adventures.
Dec 29, 2012 Karl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting perspective of life 150 years ago. these guys were Tough!
Dec 01, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read. Interesting to hear Buffalo Bill's view of the west and his history.
Apr 15, 2013 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thoroughly surprised by how good this book was.
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William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), in Le Claire but lived several years in Canada before his family moved to the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872 for service to the US Army as a scout. One of the most colorful ...more
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“In concluding, I want to express the hope that the dealings of this Government of ours with the Indians will always be just and fair. They were the inheritors of the land that we live in. They were not capable of developing it, or of really appreciating its possibilities, but they owned it when the White Man came, and the White Man took it away from them. It was natural that they should resist. It was natural that they employed the only means of warfare known to them against those whom they regarded as usurpers. It was our business, as scouts, to be continually on the warpath against them when they committed depredations. But no scout ever hated the Indians in general.” 1 likes
“I am and always have been a friend of the Indian. I have always sympathized with him in his struggle to hold the country that was his by right of birth. But I have always held that in such a country as America the march of civilization was inevitable, and that sooner or later the men who lived in roving tribes, making no real use of the resources of the country, would be compelled to give way before the men who tilled the soil and used the lands as the Creator intended they should be used.” 0 likes
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