This story tells of a time in America’s history when the thundering hoofs of herds of tens of thousands of Plains buffalo roamed the West. Once the railroads built their way into the Great Plains there was uncontrolled slaughter of the buffalo in unbelievable numbers.
In 1972-73 there were more buffalo hunters on the Plains than ever before or later on. The hides sold for seventy-five cents and their meat sold for only one-half a cent per pound.
In one stand John Cook, a buffalo hunter, killed eighty-eight buffalo. Skinners were paid twenty-five or thirty cents for each one they skinned. Over a period of two years the Indians of all thirty-two tribes killed approximately 350,000. Many buffalo were killed for amusement, as the trains would stop when they came upon a herd of bison and the passengers would shoot from the trains. Because the tongues were considered a delicacy, they were removed and the remains were left to predators or to rot.
Colonel Armstrong Custer was badly defeated by Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. His detachment of 225 soldiers was killed. Others under different commands survived. Soldiers of the U. S. Army were instructed to shoot all the Indians’ horses. The tribes of the Plains Indians eventually had to surrender and were forced to live under dreadful conditions on reservations.