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    William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody: Associated Husqvarna Rifle. The Swedish-made Husqvarna M1873 rifle is patterned on Remington's 1867 rolling block single shot rifle. This one is marked "1873", for its year of manufacture, with serial no. 50. It is what is termed a "prototype" since Husqvarna was experimenting with adapting its military rifle to the civilian market but did not go into regular production of a sporting version until 1877. The caliber is the European 12.17 mm which, with minor adjustments, readily accepted the American .50-70 cartridge. The 25½" barrel is half-octagon. The later civilian models were fully round. Another feature of the prototype model 1873 is the lesser grade of checkering on the stock and forearm. The condition is very good. The rifle obviously saw little use though the barrel and the receiver show the effects of humidity. The importer was Schulyer, Hartley, and Graham, probably because of its ownership arrangement with the Remington Company.

    But all of this is beside the point. On the left side of the barrel, just in front of the receiver, is engraved in block letters "Chief/ Plenty Coups." And on the right stock is an escutcheon which has aged with the wood and bears the period engraving: "From Brother Will/ W. F. Cody./ Buffalo Bill/ 1901."

    Plenty Coups (1848-1932) was chief of the Crow for fifty-six years, from 1876 to his death. In 1876 he had led a group of Crow warriors who (along with Shoshones led by Chief Washakie) saved the command of General George Crook at the Battle of the Rosebud, a week before Custer met his demise at Little Big Horn. By the 1890s, the Crow were well-established on their reservation in southern Montana, primarily as livestock raisers. It was at that time that W. F. Cody began his Wyoming career. Buffalo Bill and Plenty Coups probably met for the first time at Sheridan, Wyoming, about seventy miles from Crow Agency, Montana, in 1893. Later they had many opportunities to meet after Buffalo Bill established the town of Cody in 1896.

    Plenty Coups annually led a group of his people to camps above the sulphur hot springs just a mile upstream from Cody, a practice he continued almost until his death in 1932. He was always welcome in Cody town, and he often brought an entourage to town for fairs and special occasions. One of those, in 1913, was to meet with Albert I, Prince of Monaco, the first reigning monarch of Europe to visit the United States, who was in town to go hunting near Yellowstone National Park. On the street in front of Cody's Irma Hotel, Buffalo Bill and Albert presented Plenty Coups with a Winchester M1895 rifle. Plenty Coups in turn gave Albert several beautiful Crow beaded pieces.

    The path this rifle took to Plenty Coups and then to Cody is unclear. The inscription on the escutcheon almost certainly was intended for Cody's brother-in-law, Al Goodman (see lot above). Al was one of two men whom Cody called "brother." (The other was Dr. Frank "White Beaver" Powell. Powell at the time was embroiled in political battles in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and would not move to Wyoming for another two years.) Al Goodman in 1901 was in declining health, and Cody wrote him regularly with encouragement and optimism: "I think of you oftener that you think I do. . . . Now Al try and bear up I know its hard." Goodman died on October 21, 1901, and is buried in North Platte. Shortly after, Buffalo Bill made a home in Cody for sister Julia, Al's widow.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2016
    3rd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 602

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