Buffalo Bill never retired, even though he had hoped to do so. He did two years of farewell performances while his show was combined with Pawnee Bill’s in 1908 but discovered at the end of the second year that he could not retire. Growing personal debts due to bad investments left him with little to retire on. Even after Cody left the Sells-Floto circus, his financial situation kept him performing with other wild west shows. In 1917 Buffalo Bill died while visiting his sister’s home in Denver. According to his wife Louisa it was his choice that he be buried on Lookout Mountain overlooking Denver and the Plains. Despite the claims of the citizens of Cody, Wyoming that he really wanted to be buried near Cody, close friends like Goldie Griffith and Johnny Baker, as well as the priest who administered last rites, affirmed that Lookout Mountain was indeed his choice. On June 3, 1917, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain, a promontory with spectacular views of both the mountains and plains, places where he had spent the happiest times of his life.
Louisa, who had married Buffalo Bill back before he became famous, was buried next to her husband four years later. That year, 1921, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum was begun by Johnny Baker, close friend and unofficial foster son to Buffalo Bill. Just as millions of people saw Buffalo Bill in his Wild West shows during his life, millions of persons have visited Buffalo Bill’s grave in the years since 1917. Today it is one of the top visitor attractions in Denver and Colorado.