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Did a dime novelist from upstate NY really bring "Buffalo Bill" Cody to national fame?

 Yes. In July 1869, Edward Zane Carroll Judson, of Stamford, or "Ned Buntline," discovered Cody at Fort McPherson, Nebraska. That December, The New York Weekly published Judson's first installment of "Buffalo Bill, Kind of the Border Men." Judson himself was no shrinking violet and has been variously described as a sailor, soldier, drunk, temperance advocate, outdoorsman, marksman, bigamist, con-artist, newspaper editor and showman.

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