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"Birthplace of the Legend" -- giant-size Buffalo Bill and victim race across the prairie.

Buffalo Bill Kill Statue

Field review by the editors.

Oakley, Kansas

William Cody got the nickname "Buffalo Bill" because he killed buffalo, thousands of them, and this giant bronze sculpture marks the spot where his death-dealing prowess became official.

Barrel-eye view of Buffalo Bill.
U R the buffalo: barrel-eye view of Buffalo Bill.

At the time (1868), Bill and another buffalo-slayer, William Comstock, were slaughtering buffalo to feed the crews building the Kansas Pacific Railroad. It was decided that a one-day shooting spree would determine which of the two Williams could call himself Buffalo Bill. When the dust settled from collapsing buffalo on that day, Comstock had 46 kills, but Cody was the clear champion with 69.

The monumental sculpture, "Birthplace of the Legend," dedicated on May 22, 2004, weighs nearly five tons, and took three years to create. Local artists Charlie Norton and Pat Leoti paid obsessive attention to detail, not only to Bill and the buffalo, but to Bill's horse "Brigham" and his gun "Lucretia Borgia" -- which he named for a legendary femme fatale.

The artwork depicts Bill taking dead aim with his rifle at the buffalo's heart as the two race across the prairie. Buffalo-loving family members may want to position themselves as human shields in front of the muzzle of Bill's giant gun. Fear not: Bill himself recognized late in life that buffalo had been too easy to kill, became an early conservationist, and saved some of the surviving animals. The former buffalo killer helped to prevent their extinction.

But the early bang-bang Buffalo Bill makes a much more exciting giant statue.

Buffalo Bill Kill Statue

3083 US-83, Oakley, KS
I-70 exit 76. Turn west onto US Hwy 40. Drive three miles. Turn right (north) onto US Hwy 83. Drive a half-mile. Turn left into the parking lot.
Lit at night. Gift shop M-F 9-5, Sa 11-5. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
Cow Chip Capital of Kansas, Russell Springs, KS - 22 mi.

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