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American Experience; Buffalo Bill


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American Experience
Buffalo Bill
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West -- one that endures today. Born in an Iowa log cabin in 1846, he fought Indians, worked as a Pony Express rider and earned his nickname while hunting buffalo to feed the construction crews of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. After the Civil War, he scouted for the U.S. Army along America's vast western frontier. In 1883, just as that frontier was disappearing, he transformed himself into a master showman, creating and starring in a world-famous traveling show that brought the "real" Wild West to life. Part circus, part history, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" toured for three decades, playing to enthusiastic crowds across the United States and Europe. Though Cody made a fortune from the show's success, he was nearly bankrupt when he died in 1917. This program draws upon rich archival materials of the period to explore the man behind the legend, revealing the complexity of Buffalo Bill's extraordinary life. Richard Ben Cramer narrates.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Buffalo Bill,” 11/12/2007, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 21, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_264356C3C5244D01B3B97F40B903C46F.
MLA: “American Experience; Buffalo Bill.” 11/12/2007. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 21, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_264356C3C5244D01B3B97F40B903C46F>.
APA: American Experience; Buffalo Bill. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_264356C3C5244D01B3B97F40B903C46F
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