He was contracted to supply buffalo meat to the Kansas Pacific Railroad and reportedly killed 4,282 buffalo in 18 months. However, the nickname "Buffalo Bill" was hotly contested by William Comstock, who also claimed the nickname.
To decide who could use the name, they held a shootout: whoever could kill the most buffalo in eight hours could use the name. Comstock killed 48 buffalo, but was outmatched by Cody's 68 buffalo.
William gained international fame as an adult from his traveling Wild West show. His show was a huge draw across the United States and Europe. Big names like Annie Oakley, Frank Butler (Annie's equally-talented sharpshooting husband), Sitting Bull and Calamity Jane all toured with the group at various times. The show was more showmanship and fiction than fact, and many of the myths of the "Wild West" were perpetuated with shows such as this one.
"Buffalo Bill" died on January 10, 1917 and was buried in Golden, Colorado overlooking the Great Plains.
The Buffalo Game
Click here to download a simple buffalo collection game based on one that William Cody himself created. The point of this game is to get at least ten buffalo heads and then make it back to the start square. All you need to play the game are game tokens and a dice. Use the dice for movement and follow the directions on the game board.
For Native Americans, buffalo were a primary food source, and they would use the entire animal to the best of their ability. One buffalo can provide 1,000 pounds of meat. The internal organs could be used as containers, or cooking pots; the bones could be used ceremonially; and the tails were used as fly swatters. When the railroads were being built, the buffalo were deemed a pest, and hunted to near extinction. This hunting lead to many clashes between the Native Americans and the buffalo hunters, because the buffalo hunters were threatening the Native Americans' way of life.
Fort Bend Museum Staff