He traveled the world and brought the American frontier with him. With a spectacle you wouldn’t believe and a penchant for shooting that would amaze audiences everywhere — making him one of the very first global celebrities — his legacy is known far and wide thanks in no small part to his international tour most prominently known as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World. Heritage Manufacturing carries on the legacy of the wild west today much like Buffalo Bill himself in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, showcasing what only the American frontier could muster and bringing the story to life for everyone to see. Heritage’s firearms truly are Buffalo Bill’s exploits made real, with the quality of performance that even the best performers of the Wild West Show would approve of.
A Man of Many Talents… with a Gun
Before he was Buffalo Bill, he was known simply as William Frederick Cody, born in 1846 in what is now the state of Iowa. His experience in life could be described as expansive, but even that would most likely not give him enough credit. William Frederick Cody was a rider for the Pony Express by the age of 15, and he would go on to serve in the Civil War, become a civilian scout, buffalo hunter, and of course, an actor. His life across the frontier would give him the foundation to create the Wild West Show, crossing paths with the likes of legends like Wild Bill Hickock and many others.
While survival in the wild west would often require a knack for shooting, William Frederick Cody would earn himself the nickname known by so many through his skills with hunting buffalo. It’s often said that he was able to shoot and kill over four thousand buffalo in just eighteen months following his service in the Civil War. But he wasn’t alone in wanting the widely-recognized name of Buffalo Bill, there was another who wanted it for himself. Bill Comstock competed in a fabled buffalo-shooting match with WIlliam where the winner would get claim to the nickname, this resulted in William killing a reported 69 bison to Comstock’s mere 46.
With a title known all over and more than enough skills to back up his fame, Buffalo Bill was flamboyant in his appearance and undeniably powerful in his performance. This made his story more than perfect for the sensationalized dime novels of the time, but he saw an opportunity for something more. Shooting prowess on the American frontier could do more than just keep you alive and even well fed, there was a sense of amazement that made trick shots astonish just about anyone who would watch. It was this entertainment through shooting sports that would give birth to the long lasting icon who would become Buffalo Bill.
The Wild West Show Across the World
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show has been well documented throughout the years as an often-elaborate and sometimes over the top showcase of what the wild west was truly made out of. It was joined by many icons like Sitting Bull who helped to catapult it into such popularity, but the headline performers were most often the sharpshooters. Legendary shooters like Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler, Calamity Jane, and even a brief appearance from Wild Bill Hickock himself would steal the show with daring and unbelievable shots. This was supported by everything from a horseback parade to historical recreations to make the show a memorable display of skills born on the frontier.
The tour stretched across the United States thanks to its uncanny ability to draw a crowd, but Buffalo Bill took the story of the American west around the world as well with a cast of about 200 performers, 180 horses, 18 bison, 10 elk, 10 mules, and a wide range of sets and props. With shows including playing for Queen Victoria in Great Britain, as well as across Europe in London, Manchester, Rome, and many other places, international fame would follow him into his late age until he died in 1917. The legacy he would leave behind was more than his wealth though, as he would become known as the man who gave the American wild west its very name.
To carry on the story of the wild west, it first had to be told. Buffalo Bill is undoubtedly one of the most influential icons to have ever helped shape this story, and his impact is one that is still felt today. His skills with a firearm did more than provide for him and his family, it helped to set in motion the very story of who we are and where we’ve come from. Buffalo Bill’s ability to do more than just tell fans around the world about the wild west, but show it to them in all of its glory made him a household name for generations to come.
The Timeless Icon Lives On
Heritage Manufacturing has joined the legacy put forth by Buffalo Bill as a storyteller of the old wild west. It’s a history that was worth telling when Buffalo Bill began his Wild West Show in 1883, and it is one that is even more important to continue today. From the revolvers that won the west to the carbines that performed some of the most incredible trick shots ever seen, Heritage Manufacturing has earned their place alongside the very best storytellers with firearms that invoke the same spirit that drew millions around the world to witness Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World showcase. Much like his iconic show, Heritage’s firearms are just something you have to see to believe.