Oakley in Logan County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Great Buﬀalo Hunt
Buffalo Bill's legend was born right here! The site of the legendary buffalo hunt between Buffalo Bill Cody and Medicine Bill Comstock is just ten miles west of where you now stand.
It was the summer of 1868. Bill Cody had just successfully fulfilled a contract to provide meat for Kansas-Pacific Railroad workers. By his own accounting, he had killed 4280 buffalo in just eight months. Cody also worked for the army and was the favorite civilian scout and hunter for the cavalry stationed at Fort Hays.
Soldiers at Fort Wallace favored their own scout, Bill Comstock. Both men were famous for their skill at shooting buffalo from horseback. With the honor of the two posts at stake, the officers are said to have arranged a buffalo hunting contest. To add spice to the event, they put up $500 a side and brought a spectator train to the end of the tracks.
Bison were spotted nearby at Monument, and both men galloped among them diving the herd in two. According to legend, Comstock hunted from the rear forward forcing him to chase his buffalo over miles of prairie. Cody, riding his favorite buffalo-hunting horse, Brigham, rode to the front and circled his herd, shooting the leaders one by one.
By the end of the day - and many cases of champagne later - Cody had won the bragging rights. He had brought
William Averill Comstock
Billy Comstock, a descendent of writer James Fenimore Cooper, was born in Michigan in 1842 and went west as a young man. After living for several years among the Arapaho and Cheyenne, he became one of the most noted civilian scouts and interpreters along the Smoky Hill Trail. George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry called him "an eccentric genius." His nickname, "Medicine Bill," was supposedly bestowed upon him because of his superstitions. He was killed on August 27, 1868, while carrying a message to a band of Cheyenne Indians.
[Photo caption 1 reads] Photograph of W.F. Cody and others, c.1870; from tintype (image corrected). Not long after the legendary contest, Cody was transferred to Fort McPherson, Nebraska. This photograph shows Buffalo Bill with his celebrated hunting rifle, "Lucretia Borgia," across his lap. Sitting next to him is another famous hunter, the Earl of Dunraven.
[Photo caption 2 reads] William A. Comstock, c. 1868.
Erected by Wild West Historical Foundation and the Kansas Humanities Council.
Location. 39° 7.611′ N, 100° 52.156′ W. Marker Click for map. Marker is in the kiosk adjacent to the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3083 US Hwy 83, Oakley KS 67748, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early Exploration across Kansas (here, next to this marker); The Smoky Hill River Valley - Buffalo Country (here, next to this marker); Inhabitants of the Kansas Plains (here, next to this marker); The Monument Rocks (here, next to this marker); Annie Oakley (here, next to this marker); Oakley: Birthplace of the Legend (here, next to this marker); Buffalo Bill Cultural Center (within shouting distance of this marker); Logan County Sandstone (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakley.
Also see . . .
1. The Story of the Buffalo Hunt Between Cody and Comstock. (Submitted on June 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. William F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill"). (Submitted on June 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. Philip Sheridan on the Buffalo Hunters. (Submitted on June 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
4. Buffalo Hunt, 1846 (not the Cody-Comstock contest). (Submitted on June 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Notable Events •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 412 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.