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A fictionalized account of the life of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. A hunter and Army Scout in the early part of his life, he rescues a US Senator and his beautiful daughter, Louisa Frederici. Cody is portrayed as someone who admires and respects the Indians and is a good friend of Yellow Hand who will eventually become Chief of the Cheyenne. Everyone else, including the military, politicians and businessmen on the other hand hate the Indians and are perfectly prepared to trample on their lands and destroy their buffalo hunting grounds. He's eventually forced to fight the Cheyenne however. He's also met a writer, Ned Buntline, who writes about Cody's exploits and he becomes a sensation when he travels East. His career is not assured however, particularly when he attacks those in positions of authority over their maltreatment of the Native American population. He eventually establishes his wild west show that becomes an international sensation. Written by
Much of Cody's life as depicted in the film was true: He did fight to the death with Chief Yellow Hand and he did receive the Congressional Medal of Honor (although it was rescinded in 1917 because he was not in the army); his son, Kit Carson Cody, did die (but of scarlet fever, not diphtheria); his wife (not the daughter of a senator) had three other children. See more »
After Kit Carson Cody dies (in 1876) the attending doctor describes diphtheria as being caused by "a germ in the water system and sewerage." However, the first recorded instance of this disease being linked to unclean drinking wells was first published in the British Medical Journal in 1880. In the 1870s, in the USA, the real cause of the disease was still unknown. See more »
Not quite as inaccurate as most biopics of the day.
"Buffalo Bill" is a highly romanticized picture of 'Buffalo' Bill Cody. While IMDb is correct that most of the things in this biopic are actually based on Cody's real-life exploits, most of the relationship between him and his wife was pure hooey. Sadly, there was no great love in Cody's life--or if there was, it wasn't his wife! Most of their life was spent apart by his choice--and there were other women in his life. But, this image of Bill would not have gotten past censors back in 1944, so the studio fictionalized this aspect of his life. The rest, however, is reasonably accurate--something that surprised me as I watched the film. He was a scout for the US Army in the west, he fought in the Indian wars and he did start up an incredibly successful Wild West Show.
Another aspect of the film that struck me was its treatment of the American Indians--particularly the Cheyenne. It was odd, as the major roles of the 'Indians' were played by Linda Darnell and Anthony Quinn!!! This insensitivity was pretty much the way American Indians were portrayed in American films through the 1950s. HOWEVER, despite this insensitivity, the film did correctly assert that the Indian wars were forced on these people due to how they were treated by the government. And, in this way, the film was much more balanced than many westerns of the day.
Overall, a somewhat inaccurate film that looked nice and featured the excellent acting, as usual, by Joel McCrea. Worth seeing--just not exactly the Gospel! And, the final line of the film might make you throw up--so when that little kid in the audience stands up, PLUG YOUR EARS!!!
By the way, the film made one HUGE mistake. General Sherman NEVER said "The only good Indian is a dead Indian". This quote was actually from General Sheridan--though it's not exactly what he said. When he was asked what a good Indian was like, he said very succinctly "...a dead one".
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