Got a mini-controversy going regarding a great story we are going to publish in our May issue. Our intrepid mule authority and writer of the main feature, Deb Kidwell, brought us a wonderful mule vs. horse story. According to William F. Cody, he rode 65 miles on his trusty grey mule against Custer on his thoroughbred and not only did the mule win the race but in the morning, Cody found out Custer's horse died during the night.
Doing my due diligence, I copied the Distinguished Professor Paul Andrew Hutton at the University of New Mexico knowing if it involved Custer he would give me the straight skinny. He surprised me with this reply:
"There are several variant editions of Cody's autobiography and the horse dying does not appear in all of them, suggesting some press agent was trying to improve on Cody's original story."
—Paul Andrew Hutton
Turns out Cody wrote his first autobiography in 1879 and then another version in 1888 and then as his fame grew, the story was expanded and added on to—yes, by press agents and even Zane Grey!—and the dying Custer horse is not in the first version. So, to help clarify all this, Paul brought in Jeremy Johnston from the Cody Museum in Cody, Wyoming. Here is his report: