It is spring 1872 on the Nebraska frontier when the most famous scout of the Indian Wars—William F. Cody—is called to duty. A band of Mineconju Sioux raid McPherson Station near the newly completed transcontinental railroad and steal horses at Fort McPherson. Cody, chief civilian scout for the 5th Cavalry, pursues the Indians with Captain Charles Meinhold and 30 troopers. While guiding an advance party, Cody and his men discover a dozen Indians encamped with the stolen horses. The troopers are 50 yards away when Indians spot them, and a fight ensues. Cody kills one warrior, and notices six mounted Indians escaping. He and some of his men pursue them for 12 miles. The chase ends as a partial success: the Indians escape, but Cody and his men recover two of the stolen horses.
Meinhold’s report recommends the Medal of Honor for Cody. “Mr. William Cody’s reputation for bravery and skill as a guide is so well established,” he writes, “that I need not say anything else but that he acted in his usual manner.”
Cody was ever after the favorite scout of the 5th Cavalry. He kept them from ambush, he guided them to victory, and his own fame reflected glory on the regiment. Cody was wounded in action just once, and was considered “good luck."