Flint and tinder sparked in 1869 at Fort Macpherson, Nebraska, when Colonel E.Z.C. Judson (Ned Buntline), a novelist of boundless imagination, met William Frederick Cody, a young, handsome adventurer who was an army scout and buffalo hunter. At that time the public lusted for tales of the West, an atmosphere that provided the oxygen turning this spark into a wildfire and spreading the fame of "Buffalo Bill" throughout the East, the United States, and eventually the world. Buffalo Bill and His Adventures in the West shows the difficulties of survival on the Plains where hard work, resourcefulness, and courage were essential. Kansas was also in a furor over slavery and abolition, creating a cauldron of danger for young Bill Cody. This last of Ned Buntline's four novels about Cody opens on young Bill becoming the "man" of the family when his abolitionist father is killed. It follows his exploits into adulthood as he rides his faithful horse Powder Face, while, in the company of staunch friends, he heroically battles evil at every turn. Some of the cliffhangers in this gripping tale actually occur on the edges of cliffs. Ned Buntline wove facts of Cody's life along with endearing personality traits through his fiction, creating a story that appeals to the reader of today as well as it did in its own time.
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Ned Buntline is the pseudonym of E. Z. C. Judson. Judson was born in Harpersfield, New York and died in the adjacent town of Stamford (March 20, 1821–July 16, 1886). In between, Judson lived a life more fantastic than any characters in his tales. As a boy, he ran away to sea; four years later his heroism in rescuing several people from drowning was rewarded with an appointment to the Navy. After he resigned his commission, he started several newspapers and literary journals, and throughout his life he wrote nearly 300 adventure romances. These “dime novels” told tales of life at sea, in New York City, and on the American frontier. While no one can claim entire credit, his friendship and focus on a frontiersman did much to create the iconic character of “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
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