- Historic Sites
How They Killed The Buffalo
In the mid-Ninteenth Century, enormous herds roamed the western plains. In a few years only scattered remnants of these survived.
August 1956 | Volume 7, Issue 5
When the hunters had completed their slaughter, only the white bones remained strewn over the plains. Many a pioneer farmer and ranchman eked out his meager income in a drought year by gathering these bones and hauling them in his wagon to the nearest railroad town, where they were shipped off to be made into carbon or fertilizer.
In isolated valleys enough buffaloes were left to let the breed survive and to supply circuses and zoos and those ranchmen who liked to keep a few for sentimental reasons. Today the federal game preserves are so well supplied that every year or two the government has to sell a few hundred head to keep the ranges from being overgrazed. Yet the vast herds have vanished; they roam only in song and story and in the minds of a few old men with long memories.