Last of the Great Scouts HTML version

How The Sobriquet Of "Buffalo Bill" Was Won
IN frontier days a man had but to ask for work to get it. There was enough and to spare
for every one. The work that paid best was the kind that suited Will, it mattered not how
hard or dangerous it might be.
At the time Rome fell, the work on the Kansas Pacific Railroad was pushing forward at a
rapid rate, and the junior member of the once prosperous firm of Rose & Cody saw a new
field of activity open for him-- that of buffalo-hunting. Twelve hundred men were
employed on the railroad construction, and Goddard Brothers, who had undertaken to
board the vast crew, were hard pressed to obtain fresh meat. To supply this indispensable,
buffalo-hunters were employed, and as Will was known to be an expert buffalo-slayer,
Goddard Brothers were glad to add him to their "commissary staff." His contract with
them called for en average of twelve buffaloes daily, for which he was to receive five
hundred dollars a month. It was "good pay," the desired feature, but the work was hard
and hazardous. He must first scour the country for his game, with a good prospect always
of finding Indians instead of buffalo; then, when the game was shot, he must oversee its
cutting and dressing, and look after the wagons that transported it to the camp where the
workmen messed. It was while working under this contract that he acquired the sobriquet
of "Buffalo Bill." It clung to him ever after, and he wore it with more pride than he would
have done the title of prince or grand duke. Probably there are thousands of people to-day
who know him by that name only.
At the outset he procured a trained buffalo-hunting horse, which went by the
unconventional name of "Brigham," and from the government he obtained an improved
breech-loading needle-gun, which, in testimony of its murderous qualities, he named
"Lucretia Borgia."
Buffaloes were usually plentiful enough, but there were times when the camp supply of
meat ran short. During one of these dull spells, when the company was pressed for
horses, Brigham was hitched to a scraper. One can imagine his indignation. A racer
dragging a street-car would have no more just cause for rebellion than a buffalo-hunter
tied to a work implement in the company of stupid horses that never had a thought above
a plow, a hay-rake, or a scraper. Brigham expostulated, and in such plain language, that
Will, laughing, was on the point of unhitching him, when a cry went up--the equivalent of
a whaler's "There she blows!"-- that a herd of buffaloes was coming over the hill.
Brigham and the scraper parted company instantly, and Will mounted him bareback, the
saddle being at the camp, a mile away. Shouting an order to the men to follow him with a
wagon to take back the meat, he galloped toward the game.
There were other hunters that day. Five officers rode out from the neighboring fort, and
joined Will while waiting for the buffaloes to come up. They were recent arrivals in that
part of the country, and their shoulder-straps indicated that one was a captain and the
others were lieutenants. They did not know "Buffalo Bill." They saw nothing but a good-