The Day Buffalo Bill Rescued Bad Art

William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. NSHS RG1345:105

Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who told his cowboys that east of the Missouri "a man had to be quite a graceful liar to be in good standing in society." NSHS RG1345:105

Our assistant editor, Patricia Gaster, writes a weekly history column called “Nebraska Timeline” that is distributed to newspapers across the state. Past columns are posted here.

In one column, Pat wrote about “Buffalo Bill” Cody and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Cody, as most Nebraskans know, had a home and ranch in North Platte. The former army scout became world-famous for his traveling Wild West show (which debuted in Omaha in 1883, by the way).

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was a major attraction at the Exposition. But the Young Men’s Journal (Omaha) reported that Cody’s cowboys didn’t like one of the equestrian statues. It was a frightened-looking fellow mounted precariously on a Clydesdale. This was the sculptor’s idea of a “typical cowboy.”

The cowboys “proposed to resent the insult that the sculptor had offered to their fraternity by throwing the plaster ‘cow-puncher’ and the Clydesdale draft horse upon which he is mounted into the lagoon, and they wanted the guard[s] to look the other way while they did it.”

Read the entire column to find out what happened next.

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