Our last stop on our vacation was in North Platte, Nebraska. We stayed the night there, and early the next morning, we visited the home of William F Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill. Cody was a scout for the army, buffalo hunter, and pony express rider, but he is best known for his “Wild West Show”, a traveling performance depicting Indian battles, pony express rides, buffalo hunts, and other elements of frontier life.
The cast was filled with Native Americans, real buffalo, sharpshooters, and lots of horses, and was a great success starting in 1883 and traveling around the country and Europe for 30 years. In the mid-1880s, Cody purchased 4000 acres of land near North Platte, Nebraska, and proceeded to build a grand mansion and large barn.
He called his new place “Scout’s Rest Ranch”.
First we toured the barn:
Painted white on the interior, it was very bright and spacious.
Up above was the hayloft. Here, a summer’s hay would have been stacked high.
The tall row of feed chutes all led to the horses stalls below, so the hay could be fed without carrying it downstairs.
Next, we toured the house.
The house was built in 1886 at a cost of $3900.
Once it was furnished with the best carpets and furniture money could buy, the total cost was brought up to $6000.
Like many wealthy people of their day, William Cody and his wife Louisa, had separate bedrooms.
When the house was completed, William and Louisa planned on retiring there soon with William becoming a “gentleman farmer”. But that was not to be.
Although the Wild West Show made him very wealthy, he lost it all due to failed financial investments. In 1911, he was forced to sell the ranch for $100,000, most of which went to pay off creditors. He went bankrupt in 1913. In the last years of his life he worked for various traveling circuses. In 1917, he died broke at his sister’s home in Cody, Wyoming of kidney failure.
In 1978, Scout’s Rest was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you would like to learn more about William F Cody, you can visit his archive website HERE.
For the official Scout’s Rest website, click HERE.