Buffalo Bill (1944) Movie Script

In 1877, a young man
rode out of the West...
...and overnight his name became
a household word.
He'd not discovered a continent
or won a war.
He was not a great general,
a great statesman or a great scientist.
Yet even now,
more than 60 years later...
...the legends which surround him
are as vivid as they were then.
His name was William Frederick Cody.
But to young and old, rich and poor,
king and commoner...
...he is known as Buffalo Bill.
This is the story of his life.
Hup, you! Hya!
Hold that fire
till you can make it count.
Hup, hup! It's your hide or my hair.
- You all right, darling?
- Yes, Father.
They ain't falling off for nothing.
Doggone, there they go
and I didn't even get a shot at them.
- Good morning, folks.
- Good...
- Are you all right, ma'am?
- Yes, I guess so.
I knew it was you.
Ain't another rifle in the world
with a bark like that Springfield.
Miss Frederici...
...I want you to meet up
with Buffalo Bill Cody...
...the best scout, the best shot,
the best man on the plains.
How do you do.
And thank you very much.
Cody's buffalo hunter
at the fort. Senator Frederici.
- Mr. Cody.
- I'd better go catch them mules.
I'll help the sergeant.
My daughter and I are grateful, sir.
You've saved our lives.
Anyone would be lucky
for the chance.
Not everyone would've
acted so courageously.
She's right, Mr. Cody.
We need more men like you
to exterminate these savages.
They must be wiped out,
root and branch.
There are some white men
that need wiping out.
I don't understand you, sir.
This is not a war arrow,
it's a hunting arrow. No barbs.
A hunting arrow.
How very considerate of them.
Are you implying
that we were fair game?
I mean those were agency Indians,
crazy-drunk on white man's whiskey.
I suppose that excuses them out here.
The red man and whiskey
don't mix, ma'am.
We'll ride the mules into the agency.
Senator, you and Mr. Carvell
can double up on Fanny.
Miss Frederici, you take Hyacinth.
If she cause you trouble,
cuss her out...
...and kick her. I'll climb up with Bill.
I'm afraid I'm not exactly dressed
for kicking and cussing.
Perhaps it would be better
if I went with Mr. Cody.
I guess you're right, miss.
Prepare to mount. Mount.
This is very kind of you.
I hope it's not too much for your horse.
Oh, no. You're light to carry.
You go ahead, Bill,
and we'll come along.
Hiya, Chips.
I've been waiting for you.
Somebody wrote you a letter.
- That's right, my boy.
Who would be writing to you?
Give me the letter, I'll find out.
You'll get yours in your proper turn.
The mail is delivered
according to rank...
...and there's plenty ranker than you.
Do I have to wait
for every noncom in the outfit?
You'll wait for every noncom
and every buck trooper too.
A civilian don't rate.
Hi, Bill.
Hello, Ada.
Now you run on home to your mama.
Bye-bye, Bill.
Welcome, Mr. Cody.
- Welcome.
- Won't you come in?
We have a number of
unexpected guests you must meet.
Maybe I'd better not stay.
I'm not dressed for this sort of a soiree.
Nonsense. In these buckskins,
you're the handsomest man in the room.
By the Lord Harry.
It's Nimrod the hunter,
led captive by Aphrodite.
Gentlemen, Mr. Cody.
General Blazier, Mr. Vandervere,
and Mr. Ned Buntline.
Mr. Cody, sir.
We've heard of your indomitable heroism
in snatching Miss Frederici from death...
...at the hand
of a bloodthirsty savage.
Will you honor me by taking wine?
- Thank you, Mr...?
- Buntline.
- Buntline?
- Buntline, sir.
Special correspondent of
the New York Herald.
I am a man of pronounced
temperance principles.
Founder of the National Association
of Modern Abstainers.
But there are moments when principle
must yield to the importance of occasion.
Your good health, sir.
How are you enjoying your trip?
What do you think of the West?
The most amazing source of inspiration
I've encountered, Miss Louisa.
The wilderness, the peak, the unending
solitudes where roams the Indian...
...in all his ferocity, in all his nobility.
After seeing his ferocity,
I'm skeptical about his nobility.
Indians are good people,
if left alone.
Nothing would suit me better
than to leave them alone. All alone.
The last to arrive on the glorious
battlefield of Shiloh...
...and the first to leave it!
- You'll never live that one down, general.
- Never, ma'am.
I made this myself, Mr. Cody.
I hope you'll enjoy it.
It's a trifle.
Oh, how stupid of me, Mr. Cody.
Do you mind?
- Thank you, Mr. Cody.
- Thank you.
Well, gentlemen, I'll leave you
to your port and politics.
Who are you?
An Indian.
What do you mean
by stealing my clothes?
I didn't come here to steal.
Maybe you Indians have another word
for it, but that's my dress you have.
I tell you, I didn't come here to steal.
Perhaps you'll explain to me just what
you're doing in my clothes.
I wanted to find out something.
And just what, may I ask?
I wanted to find out...
...if I could be as beautiful
as a white girl...
...in a white girl's way.
I see.
There's your answer.
You look beautiful.
I wish your Indian brave
could see you now.
What is it?
What did I say to offend you?
Please, I'd rather you kept it.
It was so becoming to you.
I don't believe you! You don't want it
because an Indian wore it!
- Senator, have I made myself clear?
- Perfectly.
You may count on my support
before Congress.
Why can't you build your railroad around
the Cheyenne land, instead of across it?
Young man, that would delay
construction for over a year...
...and double the cost.
- Yes, sergeant?
- We found him, sir...
- ... but we had a little trouble.
- Bring him in.
A distinguished visitor, gentlemen.
Yellow Hand...
...son of Chief Tall Bull.
Excellent. Let's have a look at him.
Think we can get him
to listen to reason?
I doubt it. I've gotten nothing
out of any of them.
- How, Yellow Hand.
- How, Pahaska.
Tell him his people must move out of
the Smoky Hill country within 30 days.
I understand your words.
I have been to white man's school.
We've hunted and fished
together since we were so high.
Once you saved Yellow Hand's life.
When you do an Indian a favor,
he never forgets it.
If you do him bad,
he never forgets that, either.
Very interesting.
Now tell us, Yellow Hand...
They give themselves amazing names.
Tell us why your people refuse
to obey the order to move.
We must live where there is food
and water and buffalo.
What has the buffalo got to do with it?
Without the buffalo, the Indian would
perish. It's his main source of food.
In the winter,
the hides protect them from freezing.
I see.
If you want something from the Indians,
why don't you treat their chiefs...
- ... like the heads of any other nations?
- What do you mean?
Yellow Hand is a prince,
the son of a king.
Invite men like that to Washington.
Try and understand them.
Maybe they'll understand you.
Savages loose in the East?
The idea is preposterous.
But what a headline:
"Redskin Powwow at the Hotel Astor. "
If they won't talk sense here,
in their own back yard...
...what can you expect
3000 miles away?
Yellow Hand, do you
want us to use force?
My people do not want war.
But we will fight if we must.
General, are you prepared to act?
- Yes, I have my orders.
- All right, Yellow Hand...
...you've had your last warning.
Move or be driven out.
Is the white man finished?
Well, as a newspaperman,
I have covered every kind of fight...
...riot and revolution,
but never an Indian war.
- Here's to something new.
- You wouldn't talk like that...
...if you ever saw
the Cheyenne on the warpath.
There's nothing to be alarmed at.
I'll clean them out in a week.
The Cheyenne had no choice.
The tribes gathered and rode to war,
a thousand strong.
They struck settlements and outposts
like a whirlwind of destruction...
...killing, burning, spreading terror
through the countryside.
General, there's a Cheyenne war party
about 500 braves heading this way.
- Where'd you make contact?
- About 20 miles from here.
- On the Smoky.
- Trumpeter, sound to arms!
Come inside.
Go to my brother Yellow Hand.
Tell him there is an old man
here at the agency...
...great in the council of the whites.
You understand?
Tell my brother that if this man
is taken hostage...
...it will make it easier for the Cheyenne
to make a good peace.
Three days' rations and forage.
120 rounds per man.
- The column moves in 30 minutes.
- Very good, sir.
- You're going to meet them in the open?
- Certainly I am.
Doesn't sound like a good idea.
The Cheyenne are a shifty lot.
I'll attend to the strategy, Cody.
And my strategy is the attack,
now and any other time.
It's ignominious.
A miserable mule casts his shoe...
...and I miss a chance to ride
in Blazier's column.
Maybe you're not missing anything
by being left behind.
I guess not. Don't you think
the Cheyenne will give Blazier a battle?
If they do, it won't be
where he's looking for it.
You know the Indian,
Cody, don't you?
Nobody knows the Indian.
I've had to fight him since I was 14.
Pony Express, stage driving, scouting.
Indians never do what you expect.
- What's that?
- The Indians.
Blazier's not between them and here.
- Where are you going?
- To the agency.
- Are you all right, ma'am?
- Those savages took my father.
They'll torture him to death.
Your noble friends!
- Why don't you go after them!
- Nothing we can do now, ma'am.
- How many were there?
- I don't know.
A war party swarmed all over us.
I can't track them in the dark.
- There are too many of them.
- We must do something!
All we can do is hope for the best.
They only wanted the senator
as a hostage.
By the Lord Harry, that's it!
To get better peace terms.
Savages! Brutes! Fiends!
Why did I ever come
to this nightmare of a country?
Yellow Hand.
They've made you war chief
in a nation of women.
Your squaws can't make me run.
Get down from your horse
and see if you can.
Don't be afraid.
My hands are tied.
Let them alone. They've got
more grit than your braves.
I came in peace.
I thought the Cheyenne were men.
They're squaws.
Such words have no place between
warriors, Long Hair.
Thanks, Yellow Hand.
That's more comfortable.
It is the word of my father,
the Cheyenne will make peace...
...if the land between the rivers
is left to us.
If the white men
will hear the word of my father...
...let them come to powwow
at Council Grove.
If they will not hear his word,
let them come armed for war.
- My father has spoken.
- I will carry his word.
Then go, Pahaska.
I'm not going without
the white man from the agency.
The white man is a hostage.
My father says his price
will be told at the powwow.
Tell your father his price was paid
when I saved your life.
A debt is a debt, Yellow Hand.
A debt is a debt.
The white man will return with you.
Thanks, Yellow Hand.
You've acted like a friend.
Now there is no debt
and no friendship between us.
If we meet in battle, there is a brave
of the Cheyenne that will...
...take the scalp of Pahaska
and hang it to his lodge pole.
It may be easier to hang it
than to take it, Yellow Hand.
Mr. Carvell! Mr. Carvell.
Buffalo Bill is here.
Better get the senator
to bed. He's worn-out.
- We'll help him.
Take my arm, senator.
Thank you.
I wish there was some way
of saying what I feel...
...or some way of repaying you.
Maybe there is, Miss Louisa.
Me and Powder Face would like
to show you some of our country.
I would love you to.
We'd like you to know what there is
about it that gets under a man's skin.
I'd like to.
of the United States here...
...and of the Cheyenne Nation...
...sign below as a solemn pledge
of faith and agreement.
Do you agree?
I sign.
I hate to see you go, Ned.
Now that the fighting's over,
what'll you be writing about next?
I was thinking of turning my pen
to the realm of romance.
A novel about the West,
founded on my own adventures.
I'd sure like to read that.
You know, I was even considering
including some of your exploits...
...but, no, you'd never do
for a hero of romantic fiction.
Guess you're right about that.
You look like a hero,
act like a hero...
...you even rescue the heroine,
but you don't marry her.
Well, I'm going to.
- You mean Miss Louisa?
- I sure do.
- You've asked her?
- No, not yet.
Come in.
Mr. Buntline. Are you ready, Bill?
Just about, I should say, ma'am.
You're fond of me, Powder Face,
aren't you?
Any horse would be, ma'am.
You're light to carry and you sit quiet.
That's what you said the first time
we met. You're repeating yourself, Bill.
Powder Face is a horse of
sound judgment, ma'am.
His sentiments are all right with me.
Anybody he's fond of, I'm fond of.
That's a lovely blanket, Bill.
- That's a Cheyenne courting blanket.
- A courting blanket?
A Cheyenne girl wears that,
it means she's out for some brave.
How does she wear it?
Like this.
- This way, Bill?
- No, the left side...
...over the heart first.
Like this?
Then what's the brave do?
Well, he doesn't even open his mouth.
He just hangs around all day,
and makes faces like this:
That sounds like a very dull courtship.
If he doesn't speak,
how does he propose?
Well, he plays his own call
on a courting flute.
Like this.
What does the girl do
if she wants to accept him?
She opens the left side of the blanket
and takes him into it.
Like this, Bill?
And so the lady from the East...
...became the bride
of the man from the West.
He built her a cabin in a valley,
not far from the fort.
And they settled down
to a frontier life.
- Hey, folks.
- Hey, Chips!
Whoa. Hey, whoa.
Look what I fetched you, Mrs. Cody.
- Father!
- Louisa!
- Why didn't you let us know?
- Didn't you get my letter?
- I have a letter for you, Mrs. Cody.
That's it, that's my letter,
telling you I was coming.
- I mailed it a week before I left.
- That's nothing.
Private Mulligan didn't get his reprieve
letter till 10 days after they hung him.
Come to think of it,
he never did get it.
Bill, would you get the senator's bags?
- All right.
- Come on, boy.
It doesn't look as if you have been
living in luxury for the past two years.
That's changing, though, right away.
- What do you mean?
- Vandervere's starting a new industry.
- A tremendous affair.
- Industry, here?
Yes, my boy, a craze for buffalo robes
has swept the East.
People will pay anything for them.
Vandervere's formed a corporation.
I'm on the board myself. You, Bill,
will direct the field operations.
- Field operations?
- Yes.
Hire every hunting outfit available.
We want all the hides you can get,
and more.
Vandervere's industry grew
to amazing proportions almost overnight.
The craze for buffalo robes
swept the East.
They brought big prices.
Buffalo hunting
became an organized business...
...and degenerated
into a wholesale slaughter.
It became the sport of the world,
bringing sportsmen...
...from every land, and in a single
month, 5000 head were slaughtered.
- How, Pahaska.
- How, yourself.
- Sit down, Ned.
- No, thank you.
A slight saddle contusion
makes standing more agreeable.
- How's the duke like buffalo hunting?
- Thinks it's the greatest.
Nothing like it in Russia.
He wants you to come over...
...and join him
in post-prandial potations.
What's that?
Fire water.
He'll have to excuse me tonight.
I'm tired.
Say, Ned, these papers you sent over
have got me worried.
How so, my doughty Nimrod?
Bill's wondering about the large scale
buffalo hunting has been assuming.
- It seems to be going on everywhere.
- This started as a business.
Now they're shooting them for sport.
- There's a limit to even the buffalo.
- Limit? Oh, yes.
I suppose there's a limit to
the sands of the seashore...
- ... but who's going to count them?
- Mm-hm.
Maybe you're right,
but it worries me.
What worries me is the grand duke
overstepping the bounds of moderation.
- I'll carry your apologies.
Thanks, Ned.
- Good night, Mrs. Cody.
- Good night.
Bill, why didn't you
join the grand duke?
It's not often you're going to get
to hobnob with royalty.
I like my present company better.
I was afraid when I brought you here,
but now I'm glad. You've been happy.
Bill, at this moment,
I'm happier than I've ever been before.
I am happy too, and tired.
Nothing in the world
can move me right now.
I wonder.
No, sirree. Not even the grand duke
himself could budge me tonight.
Suppose it was someone much
more important than the grand duke.
Who could that be?
Bill, what are you doing?
- What are you doing, Bill?
- You lie still. I'll pack up.
- Pack up?
- Yes, I've gotta get you to the doctor.
Oh, Bill, not yet.
Men of the nations, there's a black
cloud coming from the east...
...to cover us all.
We, the Cheyenne, have called
our brothers of the Sioux.
So we can hear
their words about this thing.
Yesterday the buffalo was many as
the blades of grass upon the prairie.
Today the buffalo is few...
...as the leaves
of the oak tree in winter.
The white man has done this thing,
so the red man will starve.
When the buffalo is gone, we starve.
We have no meat to eat...
...no hides to make tepees,
no robes to make beds.
Brothers, it is not good for man...
...to hear his woman
and children crying.
It is a bad thing for man to starve.
There are better ways to die.
The word of the Cheyenne
is the word of the Sioux.
Let both people be bound
by the belts of the war chiefs.
It is the belt of Yellow Hand,
war chief of the Cheyenne.
It is the belt of Crazy Horse,
war chief of the Sioux.
The Sioux and the Cheyenne
will strike together.
The Sioux must strike first.
But why the Sioux?
The Cheyenne are ready.
In the land of the Cheyenne
are many white soldiers.
In our land are few.
My brother is wise in war.
I am called away.
I must go back to my people.
Go to your homes.
There will be no more school.
Do as I say, go to your homes.
Do you have to drive so slowly, Bill?
I'm not taking any chances.
I'll get you to the doctor all right.
Don't you worry, sweetheart.
Tobacco, grandmother?
There you are.
What's she doing here all alone?
She's just old. When Indians get too
old to travel they're left behind...
- ... with a little food and fuel.
- To die?
That's terrible!
Can't we do something?
It's the way of her people.
There's nothing we can do.
Here am I, going to bring a new life
into the world...
...and leaving an old woman
behind to die.
That's nature's way, Louisa.
When anything becomes too old,
it's just pushed aside.
But it shouldn't be.
That's why we have civilization.
Louisa, darling.
...is it a boy?
- It's a boy.
- Is he perfect?
Listen to him.
Give him to me.
- Are you all right?
- Yes.
We'll name him after the greatest
scout that ever lived. Kit Carson.
Kit Carson Cody.
It's a lovely name.
Bill, couldn't we take him East?
East? Well, what would we
be doing in the East?
I want him to be safe.
To have care, doctors, schools...
...all the advantages of civilization.
Well, he'll have care,
and he won't need any doctor.
He got here without one.
We'll think of that
when the time comes.
It would be nice to go East, though.
But it doesn't matter where we are,
Bill, as long as we're together.
The three of us.
Cody, this is providential. I need you.
We're moving out.
- Moving? Where, sir?
- Haven't you heard?
The Sioux have overrun the North,
beaten Crook and wiped out Custer.
- Wiped out Custer?
- And the 7th Cavalry, every last man.
We're joining Crook on the North Platte.
You're the only guide here
who knows that country.
Well, Cody?
You see how it is, general.
But you know what
this disaster means.
You're a civilian.
I can't order you to do anything...
...but I can leave it
to your conscience.
We move in two minutes, Cody.
With or without you.
Prepare to mount.
- Bill, you can't go.
- I don't wanna go.
But you're going.
You can't go.
You don't have to go.
The general said
he couldn't order you to.
Bill, you can't leave us.
Nothing matters so long as we're
together, the three of us.
Bill, I loved you. I could endure anything
as long as you were with me.
You wanted a son,
and I bore him for you, like a squaw.
But he's mine as much as yours.
If you leave now, it's forever.
I'll take him back East with me
to civilization. To safety.
I think we're making
a big mistake, general.
Our problem is to keep the Cheyenne
from joining forces with the Sioux.
You're way off.
The Cheyenne haven't risen.
They will.
They're blood brothers.
Our best move is to keep them
in their country...
- ... by taking War Bonnet Gorge.
- That's miles off our path.
Whoever holds the gorge
holds the whip hand.
But it's out of our terrain.
We won't have terrain
if they join the Sioux.
Orders are orders, Cody.
Yours are to guide us to the North Platte
by the quickest way.
All right, sir, by the quickest way.
Hey, Chips.
- We're changing direction.
- I thought the North Platte was that way.
This is a shortcut. The man wants to go
by the quickest way.
Smith, fall out and tell A Troop
to change direction.
Wake up. You fall asleep again
and I'll trample you.
Holy smoke, Bill Cody.
Them Cheyenne. Where are we?
War Bonnet Gorge. We've got to hold it
till the column gets here.
Clancy, here's that dollar I owe you.
Come on, boys.
Where's old Blazier anyway?
I never thought I'd see the day when I'd
be praying for the sight of his ugly mug.
Save your breath. Keep firing.
Old man won't save any breath
when he finds out what you got us into.
Sounds like the point's
engaged, general.
Sound the gallop!
Cody, is this War Bonnet Gorge?
That's what they call it.
I lost my way.
Nothing of the sort.
Deliberate disobedience of orders.
I'll have you shot... Hung for this.
Shooting's too good for you.
There they are, forming to charge.
If 16 men can't hold them till the troops
get here, we're scuppered, thanks to you.
What's that madman doing?
Making medicine?
Wait! That's Yellow Hand.
Don't shoot.
What are you gonna do?
Save you five minutes, maybe,
so the troops can get here.
Though I am dead,
the grass will grow...
...the sun will shine,
the stream will flow.
Though I am dead, the grass will grow,
the sun will shine, the stream will flow.
Yellow Hand!
- Pahaska!
- Turn back, Yellow Hand!
Take your people back
to their country!
- The Cheyenne have no part in this war!
- The Cheyenne have part in this war.
White men have fallen
before the Sioux...
...now they'll fall
before the Cheyenne.
There is no need for war.
Let us speak fair words in council.
There are no fair words
in the mouth of a white man.
This time it is the lances
of the Cheyenne that will speak.
Why do you turn away, Yellow Hand?
You said a brave of the Cheyenne
would hang my scalp on his lodge pole!
I don't see him, Yellow Hand.
Where is he?
In the lodges of your women?
Ah, Pahaska! Here he is!
A friend of yours, Bill?
They were all friends of mine.
Left. Right.
Left. Right. Hup.
Right foot! Halt!
Hiya, Chips, anything for me?
If there is, you'll get it
in the order of your rank.
I'm thinking it won't be soon, what with
six months of mail to be sorted.
- Supposing I find it myself?
- If you find it, you can keep it.
But you'll get no delivery from me,
except in the proper military manner.
And you know what that means.
- Here's one.
- Yeah, is it from your wife?
It's from the president
of the United States.
He wants me to come East.
I told you you'd get in trouble
for leading them troops the wrong way.
Is it to get a court-martial?
No. It's to get a medal.
- A medal, you say?
- Yeah.
For the battle at War Bonnet Gorge.
Hey, I was in that too.
Maybe there will be one for me.
Here it is.
Same envelope.
"Private Chips McGraw, 5th U.S. Cavalry,
Department of Missouri. "
What's the matter
with the president...
...addressing me as "Private"?
Of course, the man's only been
on the job a short time.
"In conformance with
Army regulations, 2481/2...
...Private McGraw, having completed
20 years enlistment...
...is hereby retired from active service
in the U.S. Army.
By order of the Secretary,
Philip Sheridan...
...Second Lieutenant and Adjutant. "
President's loco, calling me a private
and Sheridan a shavetail.
- How'd the man get his job?
- What's the date on that letter?
- April 3rd, 1846.
- Well, that's 30 years ago.
Here's some more.
"First endorsement. The above order
having been temporarily misfiled...
...and in view of possible
inconvenience incurred...
...by the delay in its transmission,
Private McGraw...
...is authorized to proceed for permanent
residence to the Old Soldiers' Home...
...in Skittleboro, New York.
Signed, Philip Sheridan,
Lieutenant General Commander, U.S.A. "
For me, that's been praying
for a letter for 50 years.
This is what I get.
Tough luck, Chips, but we'll go
East together, anyhow.
In the prime of my life.
Me, that's just whipped the Cheyenne
and could do it again with one hand...
...going to the Old Soldiers' Home.
I got more lead
in my carcass than that shavetail...
...Phil Sheridan has got gold braid.
Retreat, is it?
Retreat to the Old Soldiers' Home.
Proud man you ought to be,
going to see the president.
Yeah. I wanna see my boy too.
Yeah, who's to blame you for that.
One of these days he might be president,
or even an officer.
He was only three days old when I left.
I wonder if he'll remember me.
- Were his eyes open yet?
- Yeah.
- They were blue.
- Then he'll know you all right.
I hope Ned Buntline
meets me in Washington.
Kind of lonesome
in a strange country.
Nobody in the East
ever heard my name.
Hey, Bill. Let's go
get me some tobacco.
All right, Chips.
Hey, Bill. Bill, come here.
They're about you, Bill.
Ned's put you in the books.
- Me?
- That's your picture there.
- Right out in front.
- Anything I can do for you gentlemen?
Holy Mackerel, it is!
Hey, Joe, Mary, Lizzie!
Buffalo Bill's out here!
- There's Buffalo Bill!
- Come on, Chips.
Hey, folks, hey, folks, there's Buffalo Bill.
Come back! Buffalo Bill!
Hey, wait a minute.
I thought nobody in the East
ever heard your name.
Like a spearhead,
the word raced ahead of the train:
Buffalo Bill is coming!
Men, young and old,
in the cities and on the farms...
...looked up from their humdrum jobs
and saw the face of adventure...
...in the young hunter
and scout from the far West.
They knew and loved his story...
...and as he passed by, for one
brief moment they seemed to share...
...in all of his daring exploits.
Adventures they themselves
could never have.
I hated to say goodbye
to poor old Chips.
I'll have him back with me,
if I'm ever fixed to do it.
Come in.
I... I've got the horse
stabled all right, sir.
He's well taken care of.
The White House carriage is out in front.
Good, my wing-footed Hermes.
Here's a dollar.
If it's the same to you, I'd... I'd rather
shake hands with Mr. Buffalo Bill.
That's the first time any handshake
of mine was ever worth a dollar.
- Thank you, sonny.
- Thank you, sir.
Let's get this foofaraw over with.
I wanna see my son.
You will, after the president decorates
you with a Congressional Medal.
Let the new Prince of the Plains
cut his teeth on it.
- What's all that stuff?
- Requests for interviews. Invitations.
The whole East clamors to see
the hero of War Bonnet Gorge.
Our old friend, Vandervere, is arranging
a banquet for you in New York.
Yes, sir! It's a big...
Here. But the president...
- Where is my son?
- He's upstairs, sir.
What killed my son?
What's that?
It's a germ.
Where does it come from?
From water systems. From sewage.
It's a crowd disease.
A disease of civilization.
The West wasn't
good enough for him.
If you'd left him there,
he'd be alive today.
Oh, Bill!
The president knows why
you didn't show up, Bill.
His deepest personal sympathy
goes with that medal.
That's what they give you
for killing Indians.
Indians that can live against nature...
...and feed and clothe themselves
with nothing but their bare hands.
Don't you think we ought to leave?
And who gives it to you?
They're pot-bellied, civilized citizens...
...who couldn't walk a mile
with an Indian. They give you medals.
Try to control yourself.
The people are listening.
Well, let them listen.
Anybody who can hold his own against
Indians doesn't have to shut up for them.
Any 10-year-old kid who was born
and raised like an Indian...
...could whip the daylights
out of them.
Any kid.
Any kid.
Come on, partner.
Mr. President, creates its own forces.
And if I had been one of them, I have
no apologies to offer and no regrets.
My ambition to see civilization move
westward on tracks of steel...
...has been severely criticized
by elements of the press...
...and even on the floor of Congress.
On the other hand, there are those
better-qualified to express an opinion.
Who believe, like General Sherman...
...that the only good Indian
is a dead Indian.
We have here a guest who knows
more about the frontier...
...than any man living, and who,
if we hold with General Sherman...
...has made more good Indians
than any other man in the West.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
Buffalo Bill.
Read it slowly. Don't get nervous.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen.
I was afraid I was gonna make a fool of
myself in front of you tonight.
But that would be all right...
...because a man can make himself a fool
when he's off his own stamping ground.
But when a man makes a fool of himself
on his own stamping ground...
...there's no excuse for him.
I don't hold with General Sherman
that a good Indian is a dead Indian.
From what I've seen,
the Indian is a freeborn American...
...who'll fight for his folks,
for his land and for his living...
...just like any other American.
Holy Jupiter, this is dynamite.
If you knew the Indians, if you could
see them for yourselves...
...how they live against nature
with nothing but their bare hands...
...you'd never force them to break
treaties to keep from starving.
But the trouble is, you Easterners
don't know what you're doing.
That's why we Westerners
and the Indians have had to suffer.
There's only one Indian you know,
or that you ever thought about.
And here he is, Mr. Vandervere.
The Indian on your pennies.
You realize what you're up against?
Do you think Vandervere is gonna let you
get away with a thing like this?
You're crazy. There's nothing
Vandervere won't do.
- What can he do to me?
- I don't know, but it'll be plenty.
- Uh-huh.
- Now, look, Bill, I like you.
I don't wanna see
him tear you down.
Oh, I'll take care of myself.
All right.
If you insist on being a martyr,
good luck to you, Bill.
I'm off to Mexico.
But I'm warning you...
...Vandervere will stop at nothing.
Buffalo Bill is all right, a good hunter,
a good Indian scout.
But to give him all the credit
for our victory at War Bonnet Gorge...
...well, that's going a little too far.
I tell you, Buffalo Bill's a fraud.
I was at War Bonnet Gorge myself.
He didn't have any more to do
with killing Yellow Hand than I did.
Have you met Galima?
Princess Galima from faraway Persia.
She escaped from the harem of
the sultan at the risk of her life.
Inside she dances...
Try your eye, mister,
a dime will get you a dollar.
What's the matter, ain't you
got no sporting blood in you?
Maybe. Haven't you?
I haven't got a dime, but I'll gamble
this against your dollar.
What's that?
Hey, Muldoon, come here.
Will you look what this bobo
wants to sell for a dime?
Holy St. Patrick!
The Congressional Medal!
- Where did the likes of you get this?
- War Bonnet Gorge.
War Bonnet Gorge.
Well, well, think of that now.
I'm taking you to a place
called the station house.
What? It's my medal,
I'm Buffalo Bill Cody.
And I'm Jenny Lind.
Walk with me or I'll sing you
a lullaby with me nightstick.
I am Buffalo Bill Cody.
If I was pretending to be someone,
I wouldn't be that faker.
- Set them up again.
- That's some shooting.
I wouldn't have missed it for a dollar.
Whoa! Wow.
Pleased to meet you, Mr. Cody.
Just the king of Siam, you are,
if you're saying so.
I guess the laugh's on me.
Here is your medal.
Well, thanks.
How about the dollar?
- I'd like to eat.
- On the level?
Say, maybe me and you
can do a little business.
...you can't go on torturing
yourself like this.
He's gone.
Make a new life for yourself.
Divorce him.
I can't stand
seeing you suffer, my dear.
Why don't you go to him?
That's really what you'd like to do.
Forget your pride. He's worth it.
I wish I had the courage
to stand up to Vandervere...
...when I found I'd been deceived.
Do you know where he is now?
How he's earning his living?
He's posing at the Wonderland Museum
in New York.
On a wooden horse.
Step up, ladies and gentlemen.
Step up for a moral...
...and educational exhibition of
marksmanship by the King of the Plains.
Killer of Cheyenne war chief,
that human tiger, Yellow Hand!
A hero.
The hero of War Bonnet Gorge!
Introducing Buffalo Bill!
Why, he never saw
an Indian in his life!
- Never on the plains.
- Just a minute! Please, please.
Management is aware of a difference
of opinion as to Mr. Cody's exploits.
Be that as it may,
ladies and gentlemen...
...in order to prove that he is well able
to do anything he claims to have done...
...the management makes this standing
offer at each and every exhibition:
It will give the sum of $ 1000 in gold...
...should Mr. Cody fail to shoot
a silver dollar...
...from between the fingers of any man,
woman or child...
- ... who will volunteer to hold the same.
- Why don't you hold it yourself, mister?
Because it is an unfortunate weakness
of human nature...
...to distrust a man of my profession.
Ladies and gentlemen,
you'd think it was a trick.
That is why the offer is made to you.
I furnish the dollar,
you furnish the fingers.
Now, are there any volunteers?
Step right up!
Anyone at all? Come on,
any volunteers in the crowd?
Anybody at all...?
I'll hold it.
The management assumes no liability.
Now, madam, if you'll step
back on that little platform.
And there's no reason
for you to be nervous.
Now, madam, hold out the dollar.
Wait, don't fire. She's holding a penny!
Shoot, Bill.
You're still fond of me,
aren't you, Powder Face?
I've never known him to be wrong.
But you can't stay here.
I can go wherever you are.
Once I made the mistake of leaving you.
But I'm a man on a wooden horse.
You saw for yourself tonight.
You wouldn't be on a wooden horse...
...if you'd go back
to the people who know you.
You don't belong
in this crowded ugliness.
Bill, let's go West tomorrow.
I'll never go until I can look
an Indian in the face.
But you're all alone.
What can you do for the Indians here?
I don't know.
But I know that here
is where it's got to be done.
Don't forget, aim at the jet
of water right under the ball...
...and squeeze, don't pull.
Good shot.
Nice shot. You got an eye
like an Indian.
Bill, what are Indian kids like?
What do they do?
- Do they have to go to school?
- They go to school.
- But not inside.
- Do they learn arithmetic?
No, they learn to ride
and fish and hunt and swim.
- I wish I was an Indian.
- Tell us about it, Buffalo Bill.
Well, it's kind of hard
to tell about them, but...
...if you kids could see
300 of them on galloping ponies...
...with feathers flying,
you'd never forget it.
Three hundred Indians charging
as they rode at War Bonnet Gorge.
It's a colossal idea and
by the Lord Harry, we'll do it.
- Ned! What brought you back?
- Love for you, my boy.
I know promoters who'd pay
for that idea.
- What'll we do with Indians in the city?
- Put them in a show.
The greatest show the world ever saw.
Indians, 300, 500, 1000 of them!
Cowboys, troopers, stagecoach,
buffalo, riding, roping.
If the East won't go
to the West, kiddies...
...we'll bring the West to the East!
Almost overnight,
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show...
...captured the public's imagination.
He brought the Western frontier
and the Indians to New York.
The city folks saw for themselves
the true pioneer spirit of the West.
As the years passed by, he toured
the world and was acclaimed by all.
Presidents shook his hand,
queens and prelates gave him gifts...
...and children the world over
gave him their love.
Because the most lasting
of all is the fame...
...passing from one generation
to another...
...his name came to typify to all of us
frontiers and freedom...
...adventure and fair play...
...the spirit of the West.
A great performance.
It was bully, bully!
Ladies and gentlemen...
...the show which you
have seen tonight...
...has lived a long time...
...because it found
a place in your hearts.
But now...
...the time has come to say,
not "good night"...
...as on former occasions...
...but goodbye.
Hand in hand...
...my wife and I are returning
to our home in the West.
To the sunset.
And so...
...my little comrades up in the gallery...
...and you grownups,
who used to sit there...
...I wanna thank you
from the bottom of my heart...
...for all you've meant to me.
God bless you.
And God bless you too, Buffalo Bill!