Buffalo Bill Cody on Horseback with Horse Spelter Sculpture, circa 1880

Presented is a sculpture of Buffalo Bill Cody on horseback with an accompanying horse sculpture. Cast in the 1880s, this pair of sculptures is made from spelter. The sculpture pair depicts Cody on a galloping horse, with a rope lasso ready in his hands. An accompanying unsaddled horse sculpture is displayed in front of the Cody sculpture, as the intended target of Cody's lasso. Lassoing horses and cattle was an imperative skill for the American frontiersman and cowboy, and those who excelled at the craft were oftentimes featured in Cody's Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. 

William F. Cody (1846-1917), nicknamed Buffalo Bill, was a well-known scout for the Army and a buffalo hunter for the railroads, which earned him his nickname. Cody had gained national prominence thanks to a novel written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson. Writing under the pen name Ned Buntline, Judson made Cody the hero of his fanciful dime novel The Scouts of the Plains; or, Red Deviltry As It Is. In 1872, Judson also convinced Cody to travel to Chicago to star in a stage version of the book. Cody broke with Judson after only a year, but he enjoyed the life of a performer and decided to make a living on the stage.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was a circus-like pageant celebrating life in the West. Audiences loved Cody’s reenactments of frontier events, including spectacles such as a staged Deadwood attack, a Pony Express relay race, and the spectacle of Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Big Horn. Even more popular were the displays of western outdoor skills like rope tricks, bulldogging, and amazing feats of marksmanship. The show ran for over thirty years, from 1883 to 1915.


Good condition overall, considering age and past use. Cast spelter. Dimensions: Cody on Horse: 9 1/4" H x 8" W x 3" D. Horse: 7 1/2"H x 7 3/4" W x 3 1/2" D.

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