Army scout, buffalo hunter, Indian
fighter, and impresario of the world-renowned "Wild West Show," William
F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody lived the real American West and also helped
create the "West of the imagination." Born in 1846, he took part in the
great westward migration, hunted the buffalo, and made friends among the
Plains Indians, who gave him the name Pahaska (long hair). But as the frontier
closed and his role in "winning the West" passed into legend, Buffalo Bill
found himself becoming the symbol of the destruction of the buffalo and
the American Indian. Deeply dismayed, he spent the rest of his life working
to save the remaining buffalo and to preserve Plains Indian culture through
his Wild West shows.
This biography of William Cody focuses on his lifelong
relationship with Plains Indians, a vital part of his life story that,
surprisingly, has been seldom told. Bobby Bridger draws on many historical
accounts and Cody's own memoirs to show how deeply intertwined Cody's life
was with the Plains Indians. In particular, he demonstrates that the Lakota
and Cheyenne were active cocreators of the Wild West shows, which helped
them preserve the spiritual essence of their culture in the reservation
era while also imparting something of it to white society in America and
Europe. This dual story of Buffalo Bill and the Plains Indians clearly
reveals how one West was lost, and another born, within the lifetime of
one remarkable man.
Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West
by Bobby Bridger
*Winner of Foreword Magazine's Gold Award as the
Best Biography of 2002.
"Bridger brings the West to life in his biography of William F. Cody by taking seriously the many people Cody knew and outlining exactly what his relationship to them was. Instead of paper figures appearing occasionally to become part of Cody's life, we see portraits of real Indians, real Army officers, and real show business personalities. This book is as much about the West as it is [about] Cody -even more- it is about America in a golden age leaving the frontier experience and re-creating it in heroic renewal of what had been the life experience of so many people. A must read."
author of Custer Died For Your Sins, Behind The Trail of Broken Treaties and God Is Red
"The life stories of Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull are wonderful ones, and Bobby Bridger, with his love for the storied American West, is just the one to intertwine them. This is western non-fiction at its best."
ALVIN JOSEPHY Author of A Walk Towards Oregon: A Memoir, Now That The Buffalo's Gone, and 500 Nations:
An Illustrated History of North America Indians
"With the discipline of a scholar and the insight of a poet, Bobby Bridger has created a biography that is more than biography. Buffalo Bill Cody was linked with Plains Indians people by friendship and warfare, by shared preferences and experiences, and by a sense of partnership and common destiny. This is a look into the soul of a people and of a man who was a medium for their cultural survival."
DR. PAUL FEES,
former Senior Curator of
the Buffalo Bill Historical Center
"Bobby Bridger looks behind the myth of the West to illuminate the intriguing, complex, unexpected realities. His recreation of the prodigious life of Buffalo Bill, by turns heroic, epic, triumphant, and tragic is fascinating."
author of Stone Song, and
Dictionary of the American West
"...he [Bridger] describes better than any author I've read how the Trans-Missouri region gave birth to Indian mythology...'Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull' may be the definitive work on the creation of white and Plains Indian culture...an incredible achievement that both the general reader and scholar should read."
DORIS R. MEREDITH, editor
Western Books In Review
Western Writer's of America's
" This book is unusual in its careful interweaving of the history of the Plains Indians with the life story of the greatest symbol of settler culture."
JOY S. KASSON
Author, Buffalo Bill's Wild West:
Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History
"...to write a book about two titans of the West is a tall order, but Bridger has penned an epic that should be on any readers shelf -no matter if he's for the Indians or the frontiersman."
True West Magazine
"...employing a fast-paced writing style that will please all levels of readers, Bridger has provided a worthy biography."
Author, The Frontier Army in
the Settlement of the West
"...painstakingly researched, yet that dynamic must not detract from the fact that Bobby Bridger has succeeded in telling a thoroughly entertaining story."
ARTHUR WOOD, founding editor
Folkwax Magazine, United Kingdom
"...Bridger's research in Buffalo Bill is impressively extensive..."
Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"...a compelling and original perspective of the history and mythology of the American West."
Mexia Daily News
"...impressive, entertaining and educational..."