Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven, after his father's death, and became a rider for thePony Expressat age 15. During theAmerican Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout for theUS Armyduring theIndian Wars, receiving theMedal of Honorin 1872.
One of the most famous and well known figures of theAmerican Old West, Buffalo Bill's legend began to spread when he was only twenty-three. Shortly thereafter he started performing inshowsthat displayedcowboythemes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He foundedBuffalo Bill's Wild Westin 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe.