Updated: Nov 9
Scout's Rest, the North Platte, Nebraska home of Buffalo Bill Cody has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Just over 8 acres of Cody’s former ranch property in North Platte—including the mansion, barn, outbuildings, irrigation system, windmill, and landscaped lawns—earned the designation on January 13th. This home, and Buffalo Bill Cody himself, have been recognized for their significance in the creation of the Wild West entertainment movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In denoting the significance of the place and its owner, the National Park Service noted that "So compelling and engaging was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West that it inspired more than one hundred imitator shows, spawned the modern rodeo, and influenced the motion picture industry. The movement influenced—and continues to influence—how the entertainment industry, mass media, and popular culture present the history of the American West."
Buffalo Bill arrived in North Platte just after Texas Jack in the late 1860s, and the pair were soon inseparable. The Kansas Jawhawker turned buffalo hunter was employed as a scout at nearby Fort McPherson when he met the former Confederate cavalry scout turned cowboy, who was tending bar at Lew Baker's saloon. The pair began hunting together, and soon Cody convinced his superior officers that despite regulations disallowing the service of former Confederates, Texas Jack would be an invaluable addition as a civilian scout. Buffalo Bill's confidence proved well-founded, as Texas Jack soon saved his friend's life in an altercation with Miniconjou (Mnikȟówožu) warriors.
Nearly a decade after Texas Jack's death, a reporter visiting the now famous Buffalo Bill Cody at Scout's Rest noted that just inside the home, greeting Buffalo Bill, his family, and his guests each time they arrived, was a hand-colored portrait of Texas Jack. Nearby hung a portrait of Ned Buntline, the writer who made them famous. Together, these three men who met first on the Nebraska prairie would create and star in The Scouts of the Prairie, the first western and the beginning of what would become the Wild West.