Bill had made a name for himself; several of them actually; a few of them profane but still complimentary in a backhanded way. Many knew him by “Medicine” ever since he saved the life of a young Indian girl by biting off her rattlesnake-poisoned finger.
He was a scout and one of the best. Like most scouts living in the wilds and wearing buckskins, his was life was a mystery to those who employed him yet he’d earned his share of respect. Colonel Custer made comment that he was "perfect in horsemanship, fearless in manner, a splendid hunter” but he also added that he was “as modest and unassuming as he was brave." This last compliment evidently pushed the limits of truth because Bill was anything but modest when it came to his good name.
One of his names was “Buffalo” and there was a rival claimant in town. By coincidence his name was Bill also but the argument was only over who could continue to use the “Buffalo” moniker.
So, sometime around the 17th of August, 1867, the two met on the field of battle in Logan County, Kansas to settle the argument. Eight hours later, the score was in: 69 kills for the newcomer Bill Cody, 48 for Bill Comstock. Honorably, Bill went back to being “Medicine” Bill and didn’t claim the title of “Buffalo” again.
“Buffalo” Bill Cody proudly carried his title for another fifty years, racking up his kill-count into the thousands.
On the other hand, Bill Comstock didn’t have to live with his defeat very long. A year later he died the typical ugly death of a scout, his dead body used as a shield against the attacking Indians.
The American Bison, and the Plains Indians who depended upon them, wouldn’t fare so well either.