Buffalo Bill Biography - Buffalo Bill Center of the West
The buffalo were real, to begin with. So was Bill Cody. He had grown up in Kansas during the period of intensive Western migration, had served as a scout during the Indian Wars, and had even ridden for the Pony Express. The Deadwood stagecoach was real, too — Cody had gotten it from the manager of the Cheyenne and Black Hills line, and, just as the show depicted, the Deadwood coach had once been attacked by Indians. As for the Native American performers, some of them had even participated in the battle of the Little Big Horn that they reenacted.
Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center in Cody, Wyoming
Take William F. Cody for example. Buffalo Bill was a real-deal Frontier Partisan, a capable scout and warrior. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action in 1872 (the medal was given to civilians then as well as military personnel. In 1917 it was revoked, then in 1989 it was restored).
Cody sent the trophies home to his wife Louisa, who opened the mail package and fainted when she pulled out the crusty scalp. Buffalo Bill left the plains, headed east and hit the boards. He would reenact his moment of glory on stage for several years, before launching his Wild West Show. Crowds ate it up.