Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 4, Fall 2009, pp. 326
Of the twelve (!) serious historical or biographical studies devoted to Buffalo Bill Cody so far this century, two of them we owe to Sandra Sagala. The title under review here is a revision of her self-publish.ed book from 2002 titled Buffalo Bill, Actor, where she set out to follow Cody as he put together a career on theater stages across the country playing himself in a series of dramas and creating a name as an entertainer in the years prior to his famous Wild West show. This new book does not follow Cody's itineraries as closely as the first one did, but a reader interested in detailed information about Cody's stage career will not be disappointed. Much of the text of the 2002 book survives unchanged in this handsome new volume.
The first book was organized principally to communicate information. The revision takes on some responsibility to interpret the information, assessing the place of these years in Cody's life and the function of his stage performances in the history of the American stage. Although these undertakings make the book more interesting to read, they do not succeed very well.