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HISTORY

In 1914, Wm. F. Cody Historical Picture Co. and Essanay Film Mfg. Co. released a film called The Indian Wars , which was a recreation of four major Indian battles of the late 1800's. Footage for both films was shot in late 1913 in the Bad Lands of South Dakota, the Black Hills of Wyoming, and Nebraska. According to contemporary sources, Essanay re-edited and added material for the 1917 production, which was released shortly after Cody's death on 10 Jan 1917. The 1914 film, also known as The Wars of Civilization and various other titles, was made with the cooperation of the U.S. Government and was intended to be an educational, historically accurate document. The government, however, shelved the 1914 film before it had much distribution. As an homage, the 1917 version highlighted Cody's participation in the battles. Contemporary sources claim that two copies of the 1917 film were submitted to the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. for posterity, although modern sources report that both copies decomposed in the 1920's. A pre-release title for the film was The Life of Buffalo Bill . The 1914 film was directed by Theodore Wharton, photographed by D. T. Hargan and, according to modern sources, Conrad Luperti. Modern sources also credit Charles King with the scenario of both versions. Another 1917 film, The Buffalo Bill Show , may also have used some footage from the 1914 production, but was made and distributed by different companies (see below). For more historical information about Cody, please see the entry below for Buffalo Bill ... More Less

In 1914, Wm. F. Cody Historical Picture Co. and Essanay Film Mfg. Co. released a film called The Indian Wars , which was a recreation of four major Indian battles of the late 1800's. Footage for both films was shot in late 1913 in the Bad Lands of South Dakota, the Black Hills of Wyoming, and Nebraska. According to contemporary sources, Essanay re-edited and added material for the 1917 production, which was released shortly after Cody's death on 10 Jan 1917. The 1914 film, also known as The Wars of Civilization and various other titles, was made with the cooperation of the U.S. Government and was intended to be an educational, historically accurate document. The government, however, shelved the 1914 film before it had much distribution. As an homage, the 1917 version highlighted Cody's participation in the battles. Contemporary sources claim that two copies of the 1917 film were submitted to the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. for posterity, although modern sources report that both copies decomposed in the 1920's. A pre-release title for the film was The Life of Buffalo Bill . The 1914 film was directed by Theodore Wharton, photographed by D. T. Hargan and, according to modern sources, Conrad Luperti. Modern sources also credit Charles King with the scenario of both versions. Another 1917 film, The Buffalo Bill Show , may also have used some footage from the 1914 production, but was made and distributed by different companies (see below). For more historical information about Cody, please see the entry below for Buffalo Bill . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
27 Jan 17
p. 563.
ETR
10 Feb 17
p. 703.
Motog
10 Feb 17
p. 317.
MPW
27 Jan 17
p. 527.
MPW
10 Feb 17
p. 910.
NYDM
1 Oct 13
p. 27.
NYDM
27 Jan 17
p. 60.
NYDM
3 Feb 17
p. 28.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Life of Buffalo Bill
Release Date:
29 January 1917
Copyright Claimant:
Essanay Film Mfg. Co.
Copyright Date:
23 January 1917
Copyright Number:
LP10056
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

This film is a review of the adventurous life of Col. William F. Cody, popularly known as "Buffalo Bill." During his early career in the West, Cody rode with the Pony Express and hunted buffalo before becoming the chief Indian scout for the U.S. Cavalry. Generals Nelson A. Miles, James M. Lee, Frank D. Baldwin, and Marion P. Maus, and 5,000 U.S. troops and Indians recreate battles at Summit Springs and Warbonnet. Also seen are Cody's fight with Chief Tall Bull and his knife duel with Chief Yellow Hand. Another side of the plainsman is illustrated by scenes of Cody and his family at home. The film concludes with picturizations of great hunting expeditions in the Rocky Mountains, including one during which Cody served as guide for the Prince of ... +


This film is a review of the adventurous life of Col. William F. Cody, popularly known as "Buffalo Bill." During his early career in the West, Cody rode with the Pony Express and hunted buffalo before becoming the chief Indian scout for the U.S. Cavalry. Generals Nelson A. Miles, James M. Lee, Frank D. Baldwin, and Marion P. Maus, and 5,000 U.S. troops and Indians recreate battles at Summit Springs and Warbonnet. Also seen are Cody's fight with Chief Tall Bull and his knife duel with Chief Yellow Hand. Another side of the plainsman is illustrated by scenes of Cody and his family at home. The film concludes with picturizations of great hunting expeditions in the Rocky Mountains, including one during which Cody served as guide for the Prince of Monaco. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.