Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park

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The spirit of Buffalo Bill can be a handful!



“Scout’s Rest Ranch” found in Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park is located on 25 green acres of Nebraskan land. It is called a living history state park. It consists of a big barn, out-buildings and an 1866 Second Empire architectural styled 18 room, two story mansion. This mansion was the Cody family home base, and was to be Buffalo Bill’s place of retirement, but circumstances intervened.

It is a Buffalo Bill and family artifact house museum that has a boatload of Cody personal mementos, costumes, clothes, and special items belonging to not only Buffalo Bill but also of his family. Pictures of his children, his wife, clothing, family firearms, his daughter’s art work, and other special stuff connected to his children can be found all over the home. In the dining room, there is a long dining room table with Mrs. Cody’s china set up for a meal.

Many items and furniture were donated back from family members eager to help support this Cody family house museum. The first floor feels like the Cody family had just gone out for a walk, and is set up much to their liking.

Impressive also are the lovely outdoor areas, with green grass, a pond, trees and the original outdoor structures; including the ice house, food storage, tornado shelter, and one of the original huge barns that has Bill’s wild west show pictures, carriages, etc on one side, and about 30 stalls for horses on the other side.




About Buffalo Bill Cody

William Cody was born on February 26th, 1846, in Le Claire, Iowa, to Isaac and Mary Ann Laycock Cody, a poor farming family. When William was 8 years old, Isaac moved his family to the Kansas frontier to homestead. Isaac probably taught William at a young age how to shoot a gun, ride a horse, and work hard with a steely resolve, despite financial set-backs and other issues that stand in the way to financial prosperity.

Isaac Cody suffered financial set-backs that were caused by his stand on slavery. Very much a Kansas Jayhawk, Isaac was very strongly anti-slavery and wasn’t afraid to state his beliefs even in hostile crowds of people who were pro-slavery; risking his life for a belief. He died eventually from the stab wound he received from an angry pro-slavery hothead with no self-control.

His death left young Bill Cody, “the man of the house” at the tender age of 11 years old, which completely took away what childhood he had as a poor boy. Young Bill used his considerable skills and stridently found ways to bring home money for his mother and sisters. This drive to provide, and doing something adventuresome never left him.

Being an excellent horseman, young Bill found a job with a freighting firm Russell, Majors, and Waddell as a cattle drover and teamster. He became a plainsman-in-training; developing his skills to be a scout and lived the adventurous frontier life inwhich he found great success as he had his father’s courage. This teen found guidance in the plainsmen he saw around him, and he excelled. He met and became friends with James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.

Young Bill made a living as a scout and anything else that brought in money. Young Bill tried a variety of things, including trapping, being a messenger, a scout for military, accompanying westbound military supply trains, and security for the railroads.

One of young Bill’s side jobs was shooting Buffalo to feed the railroad workers, which is how he got his name; Buffalo Bill.

In 1864, Cody enlisted in the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and served as a private for one and a half years.

Age 20 turned out to be an important time for young Buffalo Bill. By 1866, He wound up working as a civilian scout for the Fifth Calvary and was involved in the Indian Wars. His experience and skills as a plainsman made him an invaluable tracker and fighter; skills which he used fearlessly and with courage, wowing his commanding officers. At the age of 23, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions as a scout and fighter during the Indian Wars.

A few days after his 20th birthday he married Louisa Frederici with whom he managed to have four children, despite his many absences: Arta Lucille (1866-1904), son Kit Carson (1870-1876), Orra Maude (1872-1883) and Irma Louise arrived in 1883 (1883-1918).

He and Louisa were unlucky. Their middle children died early; Their beloved son, Kit at 6 years from Scarlet Fever,, and his daughter, Orra at 11 years. Arta and Irma died in their 30s’, though Arta almost made it to 40!

Buffalo Bill and Louisa’s marriage wasn’t a smooth one. Louisa stayed home on the Platte Scout Rest Ranch, raising the children while he was gone for long periods of time, especially during the time when his Wild West Show was at its height of popularity. Women were throwing themselves at Buffalo Bill who was also drinking heavily. This behavior got back to his wife. Uh oh!

Their relationship hit a low point in 1904 when Buffalo Bill filed for divorce as a reaction “to years of jealous arguments, bad blood between his wife and his sisters, and friction between the children and their father.” After a media circus, the judge and the public sided with Louisa Frederici. The judge ruled that Buffalo Bill’s “alleged affairs and his sisters’ meddling in his marriage had caused his unhappiness, not his wife”.

Changes were in the wind for Buffalo Bill; both in his livelihood and his personal life. Buffalo Bill gave up the women and drink. Bill and Louisa’s relationship slowly improved to the point that Louisa started going on tour with him in 1910.

His Wild West Show hit a financial snag when his long time promoter, James Bailey died in 1906. “The settlement of Bailey’s estate entangled Cody, financially crippling him—an unfortunate circumstance from which he never completely recovered—and the Wild West’s financial status remained problematic,” which didn’t stop Buffalo Bill from earning money in many creative ways.

The next year he merged his Wild West Show with Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East Show which eased the burden a little.

In 1911, he needed funds so he reluctantly sold his North Platte ranch property and his retirement home as the Scout Rest Ranch was an expensive endeavor. This bought him some time, but the inevitable happened.

While his combined Wild West Show/Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East Show went bankrupt in 1913, he continued to be in other Wild West exhibitions. He dabbled in film as well, and had some other investments and business endeavors to keep him busy and out of trouble. He died in 1917 at his sister’s house in Colorado. Louisa remained in Cody, raising Irma’s children until she too died in 1921.

History of the Buffalo Bill Mansion

The mansion itself was built in 1866 by one of Bill’s sisters, Julia, who married very well indeed to Art Goodman. The architect and builder was Patrick Walsh, a native of North Platte,at a cost of $3,900. They eventually sold it to Buffalo Bill and family in 1878 but stayed on to manage beautifully all the moving parts of the Scout Rest Ranch: its cattle, thoroughbred horses, livestock, supplies and acres of crops.

The mansion was on a prairie dirt landscape. Buffalo Bill wanted lots of trees, despite the fact that the conditions that existed weren’t conducive to trees. After some research. Buffalo Bill discovered what trees would tolerate the soil and water conditions: cottonwoods and box-elder; information that he passed onto the folks of North Platte.

After this property was sold in 1911, this mansion was passed on through several families. By the 1960s’, it was still in good condition and back on the real estate market with the price of $112,500! People must of took pride in the fact that they were living in Buffalo Bill’s retirement home.

The fund raising efforts of the Lincoln County Historical Society and a generous amount of 75,000 dollars from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission enabled the founding of The Buffalo Bill Ranch state Historical Park, which was able to open in 1964! Since then, more than $90,000 has been spent restoring the out buildings and the one remaining barn



Spirits who have regrets about being too involved in an outside life or personal weaknesses sometimes stay in this world in the place of their loved ones, remembering the memories that they do have. Or, they try to silence their personal regrets by trying to enjoy what they held as a higher priority than relationships.

Buffalo Bill was away so much that he had family stress with both his wife and daughters. Arta died during the divorce proceedings so he couldn’t mend any bridges with her. Louisa blamed him. He was able to make amends with his youngest, Irma by building her and her husband a Hotel in Cody, called The Irma Hotel where he would come and stay.

Personal items that meant a lot to the deceased person can drawn his or her spirit back to this world.

People who have to part from their forever home because of finances or circumstances beyond their control, sometimes like to spend time there after they become spirits.



Apparently, Buffalo Bill likes to split his time between the spirit world, Irma’s Hotel, perhaps a few of his other favorite places and his earthly retirement home, Scout’s Rest Ranch mostly during the winter months when the museum is closed to the public. He probably enjoys the rodeos in the stadium next to his old properties.

When Buffalo Bill does stop by during tourist season,

his presence is noticed. He was not shy while alive and he isn’t even in spirit form.

The spirit of Buffalo Bill still is very fond of children, having a big heart for especially young boys and girls, who probably remind him of his own children.

I found in my research on at least two separate occasions, young kids who were not at all afraid were delightedly shaking hands with a pair invisible hands not seen by the adults but by the children who are more open. They identified this spirit by looking at a picture of Buffalo Bill.

Tour Guides have had personal experiences with this spirit as well. Perhaps this is why visitors now take a self-guided tour through the mansion. Guides only tell you about the dining room and other first floor rooms.

Tour Guides has felt an unseen presence rub up against them. It could be the spirit of a dog or cat, or perhaps a teasing male spirit.

During the winter months,

employees and even superintendents know he is there, perhaps supervising as well as enjoying his space.

A park superintendent, Aric Riggins, is a believer in spirits, after having some experiences with the spirit of Buffalo Bill.

For example: Riggins reports hearing a man’s foot steps going up the stairs, through the second floor and back again.

Buffalo Bill has claimed his old bedroom as his space.

If Christmas decorations are left on his dresser, they will be found on the floor next morning.

Even if his closet is securely closed every evening at closing, it will open by itself.

He has been known to unlock one of the outside doors for a walk around the property.

Spirit of Buffalo Bill still likes to be there in a crisis to encourage the living.

During the big flood that happened one Spring, the first floor of the mansion was slightly soggy, meaning that everything had to be moved upstairs.

When the Park Superintendent arrived to help, he found Buffalo Bill’s favorite big leather recliner had been moved near the front door and continued to rock vigorously by itself all morning, as if he was trying to encourage the living in letting them know he was there with them.


Most Probably so! Buffalo Bill’s mansion and the property found on Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park is still a favorite place for the spirit of Buffalo Bill to visit and spend some of his after-life retirement here.

Staff, park superintendents, tour guides and visitors have had boatloads of personal experiences with Buffalo Bill’s spirit.

No hard evidence has been shared with the public.




Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (Scout’s Rest Ranch)
2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd,
North Platte, Nebraska 69101.


Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

Visit the memorable… Milwaukee Haunted Hotel


  • codyarchive.org
  • en.wikipedia.org
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill
  • historybyzim.com
  • nptelegraph.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

Visit the memorable… Milwaukee Haunted Hotel

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