Everything the Kiowas had came from the buffalo . . . . The buffalo were the life of the Kiowa . . . . The buffalo loved their people as much as the Kiowas loved them . . . . So when the white man wanted to build railroads, or when they wanted to farm and raise cattle, the buffalo protected the Kiowa. They tore up the railroad tracks and the gardens. They chased the cattle off the ranges.
Then the white man hired hunters to do nothing but kill the buffalo. Up and down the plain these men ranged, shooting sometimes as many as a hundred buffalo a day. Behind them came skinners with their wagons. They piled the hides . . . into the wagons until they were full and then took their loads to the new railroad stations that were being built, to be shipped east to the market.
The buffalo saw that their day was over. They could protect their people no longer. Sadly, the last remnant of the great herd gathered in council, and decided what they would do.
Straight to Mount Scott the leader of the herd walked. Behind him came the cows and their calves, and the few young males who had survived. As the woman watched, the face of the mountain opened.
Inside Mount Scott the world was green and fresh, as it had been when she was a small girl. The rivers ran clear, not red. The wild plums were in blossom, chasing the redbuds up the inside slopes. Into this world of beauty, the buffalo walked never to be seen again.--Old Lady Horse (Kiowa), n.d. as told to Alice Marriott, from American Indian Mythologies by Alice Marriott and Carol K. Rachlin, New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1968
Use evidence from other sources to help you piece together the story.
Why are these buffalo being killed?On the Kansas-Pacific Railroad, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June 3, 1871
Library of Congress
How are these buffalo being used?Photo by Charles Schwartz
The part of the buffalo drying on the racks was considered a rare and luxurious treat by people in the East. What do you think it is?Texas Panhandle, 1874
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
How many buffalo hides do you think are in this pile?Dodge City, 1874
What are these men wearing?Fred Hulstrand History in Pictures Collection, North Dakota State University, Fargo, N. D.