Chapter I


Before Buffalo Bill Cody, there was Buffalo Bill (William) Mathewson. In fact, William Cody worked for Mathewson for a while when he was young at his trading ranch near the Great Bend of the Arkansas River. Of Scottish descent, Mathewson was a contemporary of Kit Carson’s. Mathewson hunted, traded and trapped across the plains, and in 1858, he created the Cow Creek Ranch near the Great Bend of the Arkansas River. Always a quiet man, he became a legend in the eyes of both the Plains Indians and white men.

The First Buffalo Bill

Chief Satanta of the Kiowa tribe tried to take goods from the trading post without paying for them. Satanta was an exceptionally tall Indian for the time and a perfect physical specimen. Bill proceeded to give Satanta a tremendous thrashing and kicked him and his companions out of the store. The incident made him famous, and the Kiowas named him “Sillpah Sinpahor,” or “Long Beard Dangerous Man.” The incident made lifelong friends of Satanta and Bill.

When the Kiowas went on the warpath, Satanta rode hundreds of miles to warn Bill. On June 20, 21 and 22, 1860, Bill and five employees held off a superior force of attackers. As a freight train was coming down the Santa Fe Trail, the Indians turned from attacking the trading post to intercepting the freight train. The column was lightly armed and did not know that its cargo contained large quantities of firearms, powder and shot. Bill armed himself to the teeth and, in a scene that could have been in a John Wayne movie, single-handedly rode through the attackers, firing as he went…

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About the author

Roger Ringer was raised in rural Kansas and has loved every minute of it. Inspired by two high school history teachers the love of the unique history of Kansas has always been his first love. Through a lot of experiences the farmer, cowboy, businessman, firefighter/EMT, and much more, the life experiences came together to start Roger on a journey of discovering the almost lost people, places, and happenings in Kansas History.

Working at Old Cowtown Museum the art of telling the stories of Kansas was refined. Also venturing into Cowboy Poetry and Western Music all added to the love of telling a good story. People are amazed at things that happened near them or even in their own families.