A bit of the Wild West lives on in this scarce c. 1918 real-photo postcard of Louisa Cody, widow of Buffalo Bill Cody. Buffalo Bill, one of the most colorful entertainers of the Old West, was famous for his shows which featured cowboy themes. He died in 1917 of kidney failure; Mrs. Cody herself is elderly in this image. She died about three years after this photograph was taken. A pillow rests at her feet, and her chair is cushioned by a checkered blanket as she suns herself. The real scene stealer is Chief Red Wolf, an Oglala Sioux and American Indian scout who worked with Buffalo Bill. His gaze is piercing. From his elaborately beaded leggings to his feathered war bonnet, his appearance is imposing.
On the the reverse, the antique post card reads: “Compliments of Mrs. W. F. Cody. My Foster Mother and Chief Red Wolf, an old Indian Scout of Buffalo Bill’s. Borned [sic] on Pineridge, S. Decota [the Pine Ridge, South Dakota Indian reservation].” Along the bottom is written the date January 8, 1856. Was this Chief Red Wolf’s birth date, or that of Mrs. Cody? The location is given as Cody, Wyoming.
One of my favorite poems is about Buffalo Bill, and was written by e. e. cummings:
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
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