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That Truth is, by far, stranger than Fiction, the lessons of our daily
lives teach us who dwell in the marts of civilization, and therefore we
cannot wonder that those who live in scenes where the rifle, revolver
and knife are in constant use, to protect and take life, can strange
tales tell of thrilling perils met and subdued, and romantic incidents
occurring that are far removed from the stern realities of existence.
The land of America is full of romance, and tales that stir the blood
can be told over and over again of bold Privateers and reckless
Buccaneers who have swept along the coasts; of fierce naval battles, sea
chases, daring smugglers; and on shore of brave deeds in the saddle and
afoot; of red trails followed to the bitter end and savage encounters in
And it is beyond the pale of civilization I find the hero of these pages
which tell of thrilling adventures, fierce combats, deadly feuds and
wild rides, that, one and all, are true to the letter, as hundreds now
living can testify.
Who has not heard the name of Buffalo Bill--a magic name, seemingly, to
every boy's heart?
And yet in the uttermost parts of the earth it is known among men.
A child of the prairie, as it were, Buffalo Bill will go down to history
as one of America's strange heroes who has loved the trackless wilds,
rolling plains and mountain solitudes of our land, far more than the
bustle and turmoil, the busy life and joys of our cities, and who has
stood as a barrier between civilization and savagery, risking his own
life to save the lives of others.
Glancing back over the past, we recall a few names that have stood out
in the boldest relief in frontier history, and they are Daniel Boone,
Davy Crockett, Kit Carson and W.F. Cody--the last named being Buffalo
Bill, the King of Bordermen.
Knowing the man well, having seen him amid the greatest dangers, shared
with him his blanket and his camp-fire's warmth, I feel entitled to
write of him as a hero of heroes, and in the following pages sketch his
remarkable career from boyhood to manhood.
Born in the State of Iowa in 1843, his father being one of the bold
pioneers to that part of the West, Buffalo Bill, or Will Cody, was
inured to scenes of hardship and danger ere he reached his tenth year,
and being a precocious youth, his adventurous spirit led him into all
sorts of deeds of mischief and daring, which well served to lay the
foundation for the later acts of his life.
A CAPTURE OF OUTLAWS.
When Will was but nine years of age his first thrilling adventure
occurred, and it gave the boy a name for pluck and nerve that went with
him to Kansas, where his father removed with his family shortly after
the incident which I will now relate.
The circumstance to which I refer, and that made a boy hero of him in
the eyes of the neighbors for miles around where his parents lived,
showed the wonderful nerve that has never since deserted him, but rather
has increased with his years.
The country school which he attended was some five miles from his
father's house and he was wont to ride there each morning and back in
the afternoon upon a wiry, vicious little mustang that every one had
prognosticated would some day be the death of him.
Living a few miles from the Cody ranch was a poor settler who had a son
two years Billy's senior, who also attended the same school, but whose
parents were too poor to spare him a horse from the farm to ride.
This boy was Billy's chum, and as they shared together their noonday
meal, the pony was also shared, for the boy rode behind my hero to and
from school, being called for each morning and dropped off near his
cabin on the return trip.
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