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 The ancient range of the buffalo, according to history and tradition,
 once extended from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains, embracing
 all that magnificent portion of North America known as the Mississippi
 valley; from the frozen lakes above to the "Tierras Calientes" of
 Mexico, far to the south.
 It seems impossible, especially to those who have seen them, as
 numerous, apparently, as the sands of the seashore, feeding on the
 illimitable natural pastures of the great plains, that the buffalo
 should have become almost extinct.
 When I look back only twenty-five years, and recall the fact that
 they roamed in immense numbers even then, as far east as Fort Harker,
 in Central Kansas, a little more than two hundred miles from the
 Missouri River, I ask myself, "Have they all disappeared?"
 An idea may be formed of how many buffalo were killed from 1868 to
 1881, a period of only thirteen years, during which time they were
 indiscriminately slaughtered for their hides.  In Kansas alone
 there was paid out, between the dates specified, two million five
 hundred thousand dollars for their bones gathered on the prairies,
 to be utilized by the various carbon works of the country, principally
 in St. Louis.  It required about one hundred carcasses to make one
 ton of bones, the price paid averaging eight dollars a ton; so the
 above-quoted enormous sum represented the skeletons of over thirty-one
 millions of buffalo.[42]  These figures may appear preposterous to
 readers not familiar with the great plains a third of a century ago;
 but to those who have seen the prairie black from horizon to horizon
 with the shaggy monsters, they are not so.  In the autumn of 1868
 I rode with Generals Sheridan, Custer, Sully, and others, for three
 consecutive days, through one continuous herd, which must have
 contained millions.  In the spring of 1869 the train on the Kansas
 Pacific Railroad was delayed at a point between Forts Harker and
 Hays, from nine o'clock in the morning until five in the afternoon,
 in consequence of the passage of an immense herd of buffalo across
 the track.  On each side of us, and to the west as far as we could
 see, our vision was only limited by the extended horizon of the flat
 prairie, and the whole vast area was black with the surging mass
 of affrighted buffaloes as they rushed onward to the south.
 In 1868 the Union Pacific Railroad and its branch in Kansas was nearly
 completed across the plains to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains,
 the western limit of the buffalo range, and that year witnessed
 the beginning of the wholesale and wanton slaughter of the great
 ruminants, which ended only with their practical extinction seventeen
 years afterward.  The causes of this hecatomb of animals on the
 great plains were the incursion of regular hunters into the region,
 for the hides of the buffalo, and the crowds of tourists who crossed
 the continent for the mere pleasure and novelty of the trip.
 The latter class heartlessly killed for the excitement of the
 new experience as they rode along in the cars at a low rate of speed,
 often never touching a particle of the flesh of their victims,
 or possessing themselves of a single robe.  The former, numbering
 hundreds of old frontiersmen, all expert shots, with thousands of
 novices, the pioneer settlers on the public domain, just opened
 under the various land laws, from beyond the Platte to far south
 of the Arkansas, within transporting distance of two railroads,
 day after day for years made it a lucrative business to kill for
 the robes alone, a market for which had suddenly sprung up all over
 the country.
 On either side of the track of the two lines of railroads running
 through Kansas and Nebraska, within a relatively short distance
 and for nearly their whole length, the most conspicuous objects
 in those days were the desiccated carcasses of the noble beasts
 that had been ruthlessly slaughtered by the thoughtless and excited
 passengers on their way across the continent.  On the open prairie,
 too, miles away from the course of legitimate travel, in some places
 one could walk all day on the dead bodies of the buffaloes killed
 by the hide-hunters, without stepping off them to the ground.
 The best robes, in their relation to thickness of fur and lustre,
 were those taken during the winter months, particularly February,
 at which period the maximum of density and beauty had been reached.
 Then, notwithstanding the sudden and fitful variations of temperature
 incident to our mid-continent climate, the old hunters were especially
 active, and accepted unusual risks to procure as many of the coveted
 skins as possible.  A temporary camp would be established under
 the friendly shelter of some timbered stream, from which the hunters
 would radiate every morning, and return at night after an arduous
 day's work, to smoke their pipes and relate their varied adventures
 around the fire of blazing logs.
 Sometimes when far away from camp a blizzard would come down from
 the north in all its fury without ten minutes' warning, and in a
 few seconds the air, full of blinding snow, precluded the possibility
 of finding their shelter, an attempt at which would only result
 in an aimless circular march on the prairie.  On such occasions,
 to keep from perishing by the intense cold, they would kill a buffalo,
 and, taking out its viscera, creep inside the huge cavity, enough
 animal heat being retained until the storm had sufficiently abated
 for them to proceed with safety to their camp.
 Early in March, 1867, a party of my friends, all old buffalo hunters,
 were camped in Paradise valley, then a famous rendezvous of the
 animals they were after.  One day when out on the range stalking,
 and widely separated from each other, a terrible blizzard came up.
 Three of the hunters reached their camp without much difficulty,
 but he who was farthest away was fairly caught in it, and night
 overtaking him, he was compelled to resort to the method described
 in the preceding paragraph.  Luckily, he soon came up with a
 superannuated bull that had been abandoned by the herd; so he killed
 him, took out his viscera and crawled inside the empty carcass, where
 he lay comparatively comfortable until morning broke, when the storm
 had passed over and the sun shone brightly.  But when he attempted
 to get out, he found himself a prisoner, the immense ribs of the
 creature having frozen together, and locked him up as tightly as if
 he were in a cell.  Fortunately, his companions, who were searching
 for him, and firing their rifles from time to time, heard him yell
 in response to the discharge of their pieces, and thus discovered and
 released him from the peculiar predicament into which he had fallen.
 At another time, several years before the acquisition of New Mexico
 by the United States, two old trappers were far up on the Arkansas
 near the Trail, in the foot-hills hunting buffalo, and they, as is
 generally the case, became separated.  In an hour or two one of them
 killed a fat young cow, and, leaving his rifle on the ground, went up
 and commenced to skin her.  While busily engaged in his work,
 he suddenly heard right behind him a suppressed snort, and looking
 around he saw to his dismay a monstrous grizzly ambling along in
 that animal's characteristic gait, within a few feet of him.
 In front, only a few rods away, there happened to be a clump of
 scrubby pines, and he incontinently made a break for them, climbing
 into the tallest in less time than it takes to tell of it.  The bear
 deliberately ate a hearty meal off the juicy hams of the cow,
 so providentially fallen in his way, and when he had satiated himself,
 instead of going away, he quietly stretched himself alongside of
 the half-devoured carcass, and went to sleep, keeping one eye open,
 however, on the movements of the unlucky hunter whom he had corralled
 in the tree.  In the early evening his partner came to the spot,
 and killed the impudent bear, that, being full of tender buffalo meat,
 was sluggish and unwary, and thus became an easy victim to the
 unerring rifle; when the unwilling prisoner came down from his perch
 in the pine, feeling sheepish enough.  The last time I saw him he
 told me he still had the bear's hide, which he religiously preserved
 as a memento of his foolishness in separating himself from his rifle,
 a thing he has never been guilty of before or since.
 Kit Carson, when with Fremont on his first exploring expedition,
 while hunting for the command, at some point on the Arkansas,
 left a buffalo which he had just killed and partly cut up, to pursue
 a large bull that came rushing by him alone.  He chased his game
 for nearly a quarter of a mile, not being able, however, to gain
 on it rapidly, owing to the blown condition of his horse.  Coming up
 at length to the side of the fleeing beast, Carson fired, but at the
 same instant his horse stepped into a prairie-dog hole, fell down
 and threw Kit fully fifteen feet over his head.  The bullet struck
 the buffalo low under the shoulder, which only served to enrage him
 so that the next moment the infuriated animal was pursuing Kit,
 who, fortunately not much hurt, was able to run toward the river.
 It was a race for life now, Carson using his nimble legs to the
 utmost of their capacity, accelerated very much by the thundering,
 bellowing bull bringing up the rear.  For several minutes it was
 nip and tuck which should reach the stream first, but Kit got there
 by a scratch a little ahead.  It was a big bend of the river, and
 the water was deep under the bank, but it was paradise compared
 with the hades plunging at his back; so Kit leaped into the water,
 trusting to Providence that the bull would not follow.  The trust
 was well placed, for the bull did not continue the pursuit, but stood
 on the bank and shook his head vehemently at the struggling hunter
 who had preferred deep waves to the horns of a dilemma on shore.
 Kit swam around for some time, carefully guarded by the bull, until
 his position was observed by one of his companions, who attacked
 the belligerent animal successfully with a forty-four slug, and then
 Kit crawled out and--skinned the enemy!
 He once killed five buffaloes during a single race, and used but
 four balls, having dismounted and cut the bullet from the wound
 of the fourth, and thus continued the chase.  He it was, too, who
 established his reputation as a famous hunter by shooting a buffalo
 cow during an impetuous race down a steep hill, discharging his rifle
 just as the animal was leaping on one of the low cedars peculiar
 to the region.  The ball struck a vital spot, and the dead cow
 remained in the jagged branches.  The Indians who were with him
 on that hunt looked upon the circumstance as something beyond their
 comprehension, and insisted that Kit should leave the carcass in
 the tree as "Big Medicine."  Katzatoa (Smoked Shield), a celebrated
 chief of the Kiowas many years ago, who was over seven feet tall,
 never mounted a horse when hunting the buffalo; he always ran after
 them on foot and killed them with his lance.
 Two Lance, another famous chief, could shoot an arrow entirely
 through a buffalo while hunting on horseback.  He accomplished this
 remarkable feat in the presence of the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia,
 who was under the care of Buffalo Bill, near Fort Hays, Kansas.
 During one of Fremont's expeditions, two of his chasseurs, named
 Archambeaux and La Jeunesse,[43] had a curious adventure on a
 buffalo-hunt.  One of them was mounted on a mule, the other on
 a horse; they came in sight of a large band of buffalo feeding upon
 the open prairie about a mile distant.  The mule was not fleet enough,
 and the horse was too much fatigued with the day's journey, to justify
 a race, and they concluded to approach the herd on foot.  Dismounting
 and securing the ends of their lariats in the ground, they made
 a slight detour, to take advantage of the wind, and crept stealthily
 in the direction of the game, approaching unperceived until within
 a few hundred yards.  Some old bulls forming the outer picket guard
 slowly raised their heads and gazed long and dubiously at the strange
 objects, when, discovering that the intruders were not wolves, but two
 hunters, they gave a significant grunt, turned about as though on
 pivots, and in less than no time the whole herd--bulls, cows, and
 calves--were making the gravel fly over the prairie in fine style,
 leaving the hunters to their discomfiture.  They had scarcely
 recovered from their surprise, when, to their great consternation,
 they beheld the whole company of the monsters, numbering several
 thousand, suddenly shape their course to where the riding animals
 were picketed.  The charge of the stampeded buffalo was a magnificent
 one; for the buffalo, mistaking the horse and the mule for two of
 their own species, came down upon them like a tornado.  A small cloud
 of dust arose for a moment over the spot where the hunter's animals
 had been left; the black mass moved on with accelerated speed, and
 in a few seconds the horizon shut them all from view.  The horse
 and mule, with all their trappings, saddles, bridles, and holsters,
 were never seen or heard of afterward.
 Buffalo Bill, in less than eighteen months, while employed as hunter
 of the construction company of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, in 1867-68,
 killed nearly five thousand buffalo, which were consumed by the
 twelve hundred men employed in track-laying.  He tells in his
 autobiography of the following remarkable experience he had at one
 time with his favourite horse Brigham, on an impromptu buffalo hunt:--
           One day we were pushed for horses to work on our scrapers,
           so I hitched up Brigham, to see how he would work.  He was
           not much used to that kind of labour, and I was about giving
           up the idea of making a work horse of him, when one of the
           men called to me that there were some buffaloes coming over
           the hill.  As there had been no buffaloes seen anywhere
           in the vicinity of the camp for several days, we had become
           rather short of meat.  I immediately told one of our men
           to hitch his horses to a wagon and follow me, as I was going
           out after the herd, and we would bring back some fresh meat
           for supper.  I had no saddle, as mine had been left at camp
           a mile distant, so taking the harness from Brigham I mounted
           him bareback, and started out after the game, being armed
           with my celebrated buffalo killer Lucretia Borgia--a newly
           improved breech-loading needle-gun, which I had obtained
           from the government.
           While I was riding toward the buffaloes, I observed five
           horsemen coming out from the fort, who had evidently seen
           the buffaloes from the post, and were going out for a chase.
           They proved to be some newly arrived officers in that part
           of the country, and when they came up closer I could see
           by the shoulder-straps that the senior was a captain,
           while the others were lieutenants.
           "Hello! my friend," sang out the captain; "I see you are
           after the same game we are."
           "Yes, sir; I saw those buffaloes coming over the hill,
           and as we were about out of fresh meat I thought I would
           go and get some," said I.
           They scanned my cheap-looking outfit pretty closely, and
           as my horse was not very prepossessing in appearance, having
           on only a blind bridle, and otherwise looking like a work
           horse, they evidently considered me a green hand at hunting.
           "Do you expect to catch those buffaloes on that Gothic
           steed?" laughingly asked the captain.
           "I hope so, by pushing on the reins hard enough," was
           my reply.
           "You'll never catch them in the world, my fine fellow,"
           said the captain.  "It requires a fast horse to overtake
           the animals on the prairie."
           "Does it?" asked I, as if I didn't know it.
           "Yes; but come along with us, as we are going to kill them
           more for pleasure than anything else.  All we want are the
           tongues and a piece of tenderloin, and you may have all
           that is left," said the generous man.
           "I am much obliged to you, captain, and will follow you,"
           I replied.
           There were eleven buffaloes in the herd, and they were not
           more than a mile ahead of us.  The officers dashed on as if
           they had a sure thing on killing them all before I could
           come up with them; but I had noticed that the herd was
           making toward the creek for water, and as I knew buffalo
           nature, I was perfectly aware that it would be difficult
           to turn them from their direct course.  Thereupon, I started
           toward the creek to head them off, while the officers
           came up in the rear and gave chase.
           The buffaloes came rushing past me not a hundred yards
           distant, with the officers about three hundred yards in
           the rear.  Now, thought I, is the time to "get my work in,"
           as they say; and I pulled off the blind bridle from my
           horse, who knew as well as I did that we were out after
           buffaloes, as he was a trained hunter.  The moment the
           bridle was off he started at the top of his speed, running
           in ahead of the officers, and with a few jumps he brought me
           alongside the rear buffalo.  Raising old Lucretia Borgia
           to my shoulder, I fired, and killed the animal at the
           first shot.  My horse then carried me alongside the next
           one, not ten feet away, and I dropped him at the next fire.
           As soon as one of the buffalo would fall, Brigham would
           take me so close to the next that I could almost touch it
           with my gun.  In this manner I killed the eleven buffaloes
           with twelve shots; and as the last animal dropped, my horse
           stopped.  I jumped off to the ground, knowing that he would
           not leave me--it must be remembered that I had been riding
           him without bridle, reins, or saddle--and, turning around
           as the party of astonished officers rode up, I said to them:--
           "Now, gentlemen, allow me to present to you all the tongues
           and tenderloins you wish from these buffaloes."
           Captain Graham, for such I soon learned was his name,
           replied: "Well, I never saw the like before.  Who under
           the sun are you, anyhow?"
           "My name is Cody," said I.
           Captain Graham, who was considerable of a horseman,
           greatly admired Brigham, and said: "That horse of yours
           has running points."
           "Yes, sir; he has not only got the points, he is a runner
           and knows how to use the points," said I.
           "So I noticed," said the captain.
           They all finally dismounted, and we continued chatting
           for some little time upon the different subjects of horses,
           buffaloes, hunting, and Indians.  They felt a little sore
           at not getting a single shot at the buffaloes; but the way
           I had killed them, they said, amply repaid them for their
           disappointment.  They had read of such feats in books,
           but this was the first time they had ever seen anything
           of the kind with their own eyes.  It was the first time,
           also, that they had ever witnessed or heard of a white man
           running buffaloes on horseback without a saddle or bridle.
           I told them that Brigham knew nearly as much about the
           business as I did, and if I had twenty bridles they would
           have been of no use to me, as he understood everything,
           and all that he expected of me was to do the shooting.
           It is a fact that Brigham would stop if a buffalo did not
           fall at the first fire, so as to give me a second chance;
           but if I did not kill the animal then, he would go on, as
           if to say, "You are no good, and I will not fool away my
           time by giving you more than two shots."  Brigham was the
           best horse I ever saw or owned for buffalo chasing.
 At one time an old, experienced buffalo hunter was following at the
 heels of a small herd with that reckless rush to which in the
 excitement of the chase men abandon themselves, when a great bull
 just in front of him tumbled into a ravine.  The rider's horse fell
 also, throwing the old hunter over his head sprawling, but with
 strange accuracy right between the bull's horns!  The first to
 recover from the terrible shock and to regain his legs was the horse,
 which ran off with wonderful alacrity several miles before he stopped.
 Next the bull rose, and shook himself with an astonished air, as if
 he would like to know "how that was done?"  The hunter was on the
 great brute's back, who, perhaps, took the affair as a good practical
 joke; but he was soon pitched to the ground, as the buffalo commenced
 to jump "stiff-legged," and the latter, giving the hunter one
 lingering look, which he long remembered, with remarkable good nature
 ran off to join his companions.  Had the bull been wounded, the rider
 would have been killed, as the then enraged animal would have gored
 and trampled him to death.
 An officer of the old regular army told me many years ago that in
 crossing the plains a herd of buffalo were fired at by a twelve-pound
 howitzer, the ball of which wounded and stunned an immense bull.
 Nevertheless, heedless of a hundred shots that had been fired at him,
 and of a bulldog belonging to one of the officers, which had fastened
 himself to his lips, the enraged beast charged upon the whole troop
 of dragoons, and tossed one of the horses like a feather.  Bull,
 horse, and rider all fell in a heap.  Before the dust cleared away,
 the trooper, who had hung for a moment to one of the bull's horns
 by his waistband, crawled out safe, while the horse got a ball from
 a rifle through his neck while in the air and two great rips in his
 flank from the bull.
 In 1839 Kit Carson and Hobbs were trapping with a party on the
 Arkansas River, not far from Bent's Fort.  Among the trappers was
 a green Irishman, named O'Neil, who was quite anxious to become
 proficient in hunting, and it was not long before he received his
 first lesson.  Every man who went out of camp after game was expected
 to bring in "meat" of some kind.  O'Neil said that he would agree
 to the terms, and was ready one evening to start out on his first
 hunt alone.  He picked up his rifle and stalked after a small herd
 of buffalo in plain sight on the prairie not more than five or six
 hundred yards from camp.
 All the trappers who were not engaged in setting their traps or
 cooking supper were watching O'Neil.  Presently they heard the report
 of his rifle, and shortly after he came running into camp, bareheaded,
 without his gun, and with a buffalo bull close upon his heels;
 both going at full speed, and the Irishman shouting like a madman,--
 "Here we come, by jabers.  Stop us!  For the love of God, stop us!"
 Just as they came in among the tents, with the bull not more than
 six feet in the rear of O'Neil, who was frightened out of his wits
 and puffing like a locomotive, his foot caught in a tent-rope, and
 over he went into a puddle of water head foremost, and in his fall
 capsized several camp-kettles, some of which contained the trappers'
 supper.  But the buffalo did not escape so easily; for Hobbs and
 Kit Carson jumped for their rifles, and dropped the animal before
 he had done any further damage.
 The whole outfit laughed heartily at O'Neil when he got up out of
 the water, for a party of old trappers would show no mercy to any
 of their companions who met with a mishap of that character; but
 as he stood there with dripping clothes and face covered with mud,
 his mother-wit came to his relief and he declared he had accomplished
 the hunter's task: "For sure," said he, "haven't I fetched the mate
 into camp? and there was no bargain whether it should be dead or alive!"
 Upon Kit's asking O'Neil where his gun was,--
 "Sure," said he, "that's more than I can tell you."
 Next morning Carson and Hobbs took up O'Neil's tracks and the
 buffalo's, and after hunting an hour or so found the Irishman's rifle,
 though he had little use for it afterward, as he preferred to cook
 and help around camp rather than expose his precious life fighting
 A great herd of buffaloes on the plains in the early days, when one
 could approach near enough without disturbing it to quietly watch
 its organization and the apparent discipline which its leaders seemed
 to exact, was a very curious sight.  Among the striking features
 of the spectacle was the apparently uniform manner in which the
 immense mass of shaggy animals moved; there was constancy of action
 indicating a degree of intelligence to be found only in the most
 intelligent of the brute creation.  Frequently the single herd was
 broken up into many smaller ones, that travelled relatively close
 together, each led by an independent master.  Perhaps a few rods
 only marked the dividing-line between them, but it was always
 unmistakably plain, and each moved synchronously in the direction
 in which all were going.
 The leadership of a herd was attained only by hard struggles for the
 place; once reached, however, the victor was immediately recognized,
 and kept his authority until some new aspirant overcame him, or he
 became superannuated and was driven out of the herd to meet his
 inevitable fate, a prey to those ghouls of the desert, the gray wolves.
 In the event of a stampede, every animal of the separate, yet
 consolidated, herds rushed off together, as if they had all gone mad
 at once; for the buffalo, like the Texas steer, mule, or domestic
 horse, stampedes on the slightest provocation; frequently without
 any assignable cause.  The simplest affair, sometimes, will start
 the whole herd; a prairie-dog barking at the entrance to his burrow,
 a shadow of one of themselves or that of a passing cloud, is
 sufficient to make them run for miles as if a real and dangerous
 enemy were at their heels.
 Like an army, a herd of buffaloes put out vedettes to give the alarm
 in case anything beyond the ordinary occurred.  These sentinels were
 always to be seen in groups of four, five, or even six, at some
 distance from the main body.  When they perceived something approaching
 that the herd should beware of or get away from, they started on
 a run directly for the centre of the great mass of their peacefully
 grazing congeners.  Meanwhile, the young bulls were on duty as
 sentinels on the edge of the main herd watching the vedettes;
 the moment the latter made for the centre, the former raised their
 heads, and in the peculiar manner of their species gazed all around
 and sniffed the air as if they could smell both the direction and
 source of the impending danger.  Should there be something which their
 instinct told them to guard against, the leader took his position
 in front, the cows and calves crowded in the centre, while the rest
 of the males gathered on the flanks and in the rear, indicating
 a gallantry that might be emulated at times by the genus homo.
 Generally buffalo went to their drinking-places but once a day, and
 that late in the afternoon.  Then they ambled along, following each
 other in single file, which accounts for the many trails on the
 plains, always ending at some stream or lake.  They frequently
 travelled twenty or thirty miles for water, so the trails leading
 to it were often worn to the depth of a foot or more.
 That curious depression so frequently seen on the great plains,
 called a buffalo-wallow, is caused in this wise: The huge animals
 paw and lick the salty, alkaline earth, and when once the sod is
 broken the loose dirt drifts away under the constant action of
 the wind.  Then, year after year, through more pawing, licking,
 rolling, and wallowing by the animals, the wind wafts more of the
 soil away, and soon there is a considerable hole in the prairie.
 Many an old trapper and hunter's life has been saved by following
 a buffalo-trail when he was suffering from thirst.  The buffalo-wallows
 retain usually a great quantity of water, and they have often saved
 the lives of whole companies of cavalry, both men and horses.
 There was, however, a stranger and more wonderful spectacle to be seen
 every recurring spring during the reign of the buffalo, soon after
 the grass had started.  There were circles trodden bare on the plains,
 thousands, yes, millions of them, which the early travellers, who did
 not divine their cause, called fairy-rings.  From the first of April
 until the middle of May was the wet season; you could depend upon its
 recurrence almost as certainly as on the sun and moon rising at their
 proper time.  This was also the calving period of the buffalo, as
 they, unlike our domestic cattle, only rutted during a single month;
 consequently, the cows all calved during a certain time; this was the
 wet month, and as there were a great many gray wolves that roamed
 singly and in immense packs over the whole prairie region, the bulls,
 in their regular beats, kept guard over the cows while in the act
 of parturition, and drove the wolves away, walking in a ring around
 the females at a short distance, and thus forming the curious circles.
 In every herd at each recurring season there were always ambitious
 young bulls that came to their majority, so to speak, and these were
 ever ready to test their claims for the leadership, so that it may
 be safely stated that a month rarely passed without a bloody battle
 between them for the supremacy; though, strangely enough, the struggle
 scarcely ever resulted in the death of either combatant.
 Perhaps there is no animal in which maternal love is so wonderfully
 developed as the buffalo cow; she is as dangerous with a calf by
 her side as a she-grizzly with cubs, as all old mountaineers know.
 The buffalo bull that has outlived his usefulness is one of the most
 pitiable objects in the whole range of natural history.  Old age
 has probably been decided in the economy of buffalo life as the
 unpardonable sin.  Abandoned to his fate, he may be discovered,
 in his dreary isolation, near some stream or lake, where it does not
 tax him too severely to find good grass; for he is now feeble, and
 exertion an impossibility.  In this new stage of his existence he
 seems to have completely lost his courage.  Frightened at his own
 shadow, or the rustling of a leaf, he is the very incarnation of
 nervousness and suspicion.  Gregarious in his habits from birth,
 solitude, foreign to his whole nature, has changed him into a new
 creature; and his inherent terror of the most trivial things is
 intensified to such a degree that if a man were compelled to undergo
 such constant alarm, it would probably drive him insane in less than
 a week.  Nobody ever saw one of these miserable and helplessly
 forlorn creatures dying a natural death, or ever heard of such an
 occurrence.  The cowardly coyote and the gray wolf had already
 marked him for their own; and they rarely missed their calculations.
 Riding suddenly to the top of a divide once with a party of friends
 in 1866, we saw standing below us in the valley an old buffalo bull,
 the very picture of despair.  Surrounding him were seven gray wolves
 in the act of challenging him to mortal combat.  The poor beast,
 undoubtedly realizing the utter hopelessness of his situation,
 had determined to die game.  His great shaggy head, filled with burrs,
 was lowered to the ground as he confronted his would-be executioners;
 his tongue, black and parched, lolled out of his mouth, and he gave
 utterance at intervals to a suppressed roar.
 The wolves were sitting on their haunches in a semi-circle immediately
 in front of the tortured beast, and every time that the fear-stricken
 buffalo would give vent to his hoarsely modulated groan, the wolves
 howled in concert in most mournful cadence.
 After contemplating his antagonists for a few moments, the bull made
 a dash at the nearest wolf, tumbling him howling over the silent
 prairie; but while this diversion was going on in front, the remainder
 of the pack started for his hind legs, to hamstring him.  Upon this
 the poor brute turned to the point of attack only to receive a
 repetition of it in the same vulnerable place by the wolves, who had
 as quickly turned also and fastened themselves on his heels again.
 His hind quarters now streamed with blood and he began to show signs
 of great physical weakness.  He did not dare to lie down; that would
 have been instantly fatal.  By this time he had killed three of the
 wolves or so maimed them that they were entirely out of the fight.
 At this juncture the suffering animal was mercifully shot, and the
 wolves allowed to batten on his thin and tough carcass.
 Often there are serious results growing out of a stampede, either by
 mules or a herd of buffalo.  A portion of the Fifth United States
 Infantry had a narrow escape from a buffalo stampede on the Old Trail,
 in the early summer of 1866.  General George A. Sykes, who commanded
 the Division of Regulars in the Army of the Potomac during the
 Civil War, was ordered to join his regiment, stationed in New Mexico,
 and was conducting a body of recruits, with their complement of
 officers, to fill up the decimated ranks of the army stationed at
 the various military posts, in far-off Greaser Land.
 The command numbered nearly eight hundred, including the subaltern
 officers.  These recruits, or the majority of them at least, were
 recruits in name only; they had seen service in many a hard campaign
 of the Rebellion.  Some, of course, were beardless youths just out
 of their teens, full of that martial ardour which induced so many
 young men of the nation to follow the drum on the remote plains and
 in the fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains, where the wily savages
 still held almost undisputed sway, and were a constant menace to
 the pioneer settlers.
 One morning, when the command had just settled itself in careless
 repose on the short grass of the apparently interminable prairie
 at the first halt of the day's march, a short distance beyond
 Fort Larned, a strange noise, like the low muttering of thunder
 below the horizon, greeted the ears of the little army.
 All were startled by the ominous sound, unlike anything they had
 heard before on their dreary tour.  The general ordered his scouts
 out to learn the cause; could it be Indians?  Every eye was strained
 for something out of the ordinary.  Even the horses of the officers
 and the mules of the supply-train were infected by something that
 seemed impending; they grew restless, stamped the earth, and vainly
 essayed to stampede, but were prevented by their hobbles and
 Presently one of the scouts returned from over the divide, and
 reported to the general that an immense herd of buffalo was tearing
 down toward the Trail, and from the great clouds of dust they raised,
 which obscured the horizon, there must have been ten thousand of them.
 The roar wafted to the command, and which seemed so mysterious,
 was made by their hoofs as they rattled over the dry prairie.
 The sound increased in volume rapidly, and soon a black, surging mass
 was discovered bearing right down on the Trail.  Behind it could be
 seen a cavalcade of about five hundred Cheyennes, Comanches, and
 Kiowas, who had maddened the shaggy brutes, hoping to capture the
 train without an attack by forcing the frightened animals to overrun
 the command.
 Luckily, something caused the herd to open before it reached the
 foot of the divide, and it passed in two masses, leaving the command
 between, not two hundred feet from either division of the infuriated
 The rage of the savages was evident when they saw that their attempt
 to annihilate the troops had failed, and they rode off sullenly into
 the sand hills, as the number of soldiers was too great for them
 to think of charging.
 Cody tells of a buffalo stampede which he witnessed in his youth
 on the plains, when he was a wagon-master.  The caravan was on its
 way with government stores for the military posts in the mountains,
 and the wagons were hauled by oxen.
 He says:
           The country was alive with buffalo, and besides killing
           quite a number we had a rare day for sport.  One morning
           we pulled out of camp, and the train was strung out to a
           considerable length along the Trail, which ran near the foot
           of the sand hills, two miles from the river.  Between the
           road and the river we saw a large herd of buffalo grazing
           quietly, they having been down to the stream to drink.
           Just at this time we observed a party of returning
           Californians coming from the west.  They, too, noticed
           the buffalo herd, and in another moment they were dashing
           down upon them, urging their horses to their greatest speed.
           The buffalo herd stampeded at once, and broke down the sides
           of the hills; so hotly were they pursued by the hunters
           that about five hundred of them rushed pell-mell through
           our caravan, frightening both men and oxen.  Some of the
           wagons were turned clear around and many of the terrified
           oxen attempted to run to the hills with the heavy wagons
           attached to them.  Others were turned around so short
           that they broke the tongues off.  Nearly all the teams
           got entangled in their gearing and became wild and unruly,
           so that the perplexed drivers were unable to manage them.
           The buffalo, the cattle, and the men were soon running
           in every direction, and the excitement upset everybody
           and everything.  Many of the oxen broke their yokes and
           stampeded.  One big buffalo bull became entangled in one
           of the heavy wagon-chains, and it is a fact that in his
           desperate efforts to free himself, he not only snapped
           the strong chain in two, but broke the ox-yoke to which
           it was attached, and the last seen of him he was running
           toward the hills with it hanging from his horns.
 Stampedes were a great source of profit to the Indians of the plains.
 The Comanches were particularly expert and daring in this kind of
 robbery.  They even trained their horses to run from one point to
 another in expectation of the coming of the trains.  When a camp
 was made that was nearly in range, they turned their trained animals
 loose, which at once flew across the prairie, passing through the
 herd and penetrating the very corrals of their victims.  All of the
 picketed horses and mules would endeavour to follow these decoys,
 and were invariably led right into the haunts of the Indians,
 who easily secured them.  Young horses and mules were easily
 frightened; and, in the confusion which generally ensued, great
 injury was frequently done to the runaways themselves.
 At times when the herd was very large, the horses scattered over
 the prairie and were irrevocably lost; and such as did not become
 wild fell a prey to the wolves.  That fate was very frequently the
 lot of stampeded horses bred in the States, they not having been
 trained by a prairie life to take care of themselves.  Instead of
 stopping and bravely fighting off the blood-thirsty beasts, they
 would run.  Then the whole pack were sure to leave the bolder animals
 and make for the runaways, which they seldom failed to overtake
 and despatch.
 On the Old Trail some years ago one of these stampedes occurred of
 a band of government horses, in which were several valuable animals.
 It was attended, however, with very little loss, through the courage
 and great exertion of the men who had them in charge; many were
 recovered, but none without having sustained injuries.
 Hon. R. M. Wright, of Dodge City, Kansas, one of the pioneers in
 the days of the Santa Fe trade, and in the settlement of the State,
 has had many exciting experiences both with the savages of the great
 plains, and the buffalo.  In relation to the habits of the latter,
 no man is better qualified to speak.
 He was once owner of Fort Aubrey, a celebrated point on the Trail,
 but was compelled to abandon it on account of constant persecution
 by the Indians, or rather he was ordered to do so by the military
 authorities.  While occupying the once famous landmark, in connection
 with others, had a contract to furnish hay to the government at
 Fort Lyon, seventy-five miles further west.  His journal, which he
 kindly placed at my disposal, says:
           While we were preparing to commence the work, a vast herd
           of buffalo stampeded through our range one night, and
           took off with them about half of our work cattle.  The next
           day a stage-driver and conductor on the Overland Route told
           us they had seen a number of our oxen twenty-five miles east
           of Aubrey, and this information gave me an idea in which
           direction to hunt for the missing beasts.  I immediately
           started after them, while my partner took those that
           remained and a few wagons and left with them for Fort Lyon.
           Let me explain here that while the Indians were supposed to
           be peaceable, small war-parties of young men, who could not
           be controlled by their chiefs, were continually committing
           depredations, and the main body of savages themselves were
           very uneasy, and might be expected to break out any day.
           In consequence of this unsettled state of affairs, there
           had been a brisk movement among the United States troops
           stationed at the various military posts, a large number of
           whom were believed to be on the road from Denver to Fort Lyon.
           I filled my saddle-bags with jerked buffalo, hardtack and
           ground coffee, and took with me a belt of cartridges,
           my rifle and six-shooter, a field-glass and my blankets,
           prepared for any emergency.  The first day out, I found a
           few of the lost cattle, and placed them on the river-bottom,
           which I continued to do as fast as I recovered them, for a
           distance of about eighty-five miles down the Arkansas.
           There I met a wagon-train, the drivers of which told me
           that I would find several more of my oxen with a train
           that had arrived at the Cimarron crossing the day before.
           I came up with this train in eight or ten hours' travel
           south of the river, got my cattle, and started next morning
           for home.
           I picked up those I had left on the Arkansas as I went
           along, and after having made a very hard day's travel,
           about sundown I concluded I would go into camp.  I had
           only fairly halted when the oxen began to drop down,
           so completely tired out were they, as I believed.  Just as
           it was growing dark, I happened to look toward the west,
           and I saw several fires on a big island, near what was
           called "The Lone Tree," about a mile from where I had
           determined to remain for the night.
           Thinking the fires were those of the soldiers that I had
           heard were on the road from Denver, and anticipating and
           longing for a cup of good coffee, as I had had none for
           five days, knowing, too, that the troops would be full of
           news, I felt good and determined to go over to their camp.
           The Arkansas was low, but the banks steep, with high,
           rank grass growing to the very water's edge.  I found
           a buffalo-trail cut through the deep bank, narrow and
           precipitous, and down this I went, arriving in a short time
           within a little distance of my supposed soldiers' camp.
           When I had reached the middle of another deep cut in the
           bank, I looked across to the island, and, great Caesar!
           saw a hundred little fires, around which an aggregation
           of a thousand Indians were huddled!
           I slid backwards off my horse, and by dint of great exertion,
           worked him up the river-bank as quietly and quickly as
           possible, then led him gently away out on the prairie.
           My first impulse was not to go back to the cattle; but as
           we needed them very badly, I concluded to return, put them
           all on their feet, and light out mighty lively, without
           making any noise.  I started them, and, oh dear!  I was
           afraid to tread upon a weed, lest it would snap and bring
           the Indians down on my trail.  Until I had put several
           miles between them and me, I could not rest easy for
           a moment.  Tired as I was, tired as were both my horse
           and the cattle, I drove them twenty-five miles before
           I halted.  Then daylight was upon me.  I was at what is
           known as Chouteau's Island, a once famous place in the
           days of the Old Santa Fe Trail.
           Of course, I had to let the oxen and my horse rest and fill
           themselves until the afternoon, and I lay down, and fell
           asleep, but did not sleep long, as I thought it dangerous
           to remain too near the cattle.  I rose and walked up a big,
           dry sand creek that opened into the river, and after I had
           ascended it for a couple of miles, found the banks very
           steep; in fact, they rose to a height of eighteen or twenty
           feet, and were sharply cut up by narrow trails made by
           the buffalo.
           The whole face of the earth was covered by buffalo, and
           they were slowly grazing toward the Arkansas.  All at once
           they became frightened at something, and stampeded pell-mell
           toward the very spot on which I stood.  I quickly ran into
           one of the precipitous little paths and up on the prairie,
           to see what had scared them.  They were making the ground
           fairly tremble as their mighty multitude came rushing on
           at full speed, the sound of their hoofs resembling thunder,
           but in a continuous peal.  It appeared to me that they must
           sweep everything in their path, and for my own preservation
           I rushed under the creek-bank, but on they came like a
           tornado, with one old bull in the lead.  He held up a second
           to descend the narrow trail, and when he had got about
           halfway down I let him have it; I was only a few steps from
           him and over he tumbled.  I don't know why I killed him;
           out of pure wantonness, I expect, or perhaps I thought
           it would frighten the others back.  Not so, however;
           they only quickened their pace, and came dashing down in
           great numbers.  Dozens of them stumbled and fell over the
           dead bull; others fell over them.  The top of the bank
           was fairly swarming with them; they leaped, pitched, and
           rolled down.  I crouched as close to the bank as possible,
           but many of them just grazed my head, knocking the sand
           and gravel in great streams down my neck; indeed I was
           half buried before the herd had passed over.  That old bull
           was the last buffalo I ever shot wantonly, excepting once,
           from an ambulance while riding on the Old Trail, to please
           a distinguished Englishman, who had never seen one shot;
           then I did it only after his most earnest persuasion.
           One day a stage-driver named Frank Harris and myself started
           out after buffalo; they were scarce, for a wonder, and
           we were very hungry for fresh meat.  The day was fine and
           we rode a long way, expecting sooner or later a bunch would
           jump up, but in the afternoon, having seen none, we gave
           it up and started for the ranch.  Of course, we didn't
           care to save our ammunition, so shot it away at everything
           in sight, skunks, rattlesnakes, prairie-dogs, and gophers,
           until we had only a few loads left.  Suddenly an old bull
           jumped up that had been lying down in one of those
           sugar-loaf-shaped sand hills, whose tops are hollowed out
           by the action of the wind.  Harris emptied his revolver
           into him, and so did I; but the old fellow sullenly stood
           still there on top of the sand hill, bleeding profusely
           at the nose, and yet absolutely refusing to die, although
           he would repeatedly stagger and nearly tumble over.
           It was getting late and we couldn't wait on him, so Harris
           said: "I will dismount, creep up behind him, and cut his
           hamstrings with my butcher-knife."  The bull having now
           lain down, Harris commenced operations, but his movement
           seemed to infuse new life into the old fellow; he jumped
           to his feet, his head lowered in the attitude of fight,
           and away he went around the outside of the top of the
           sand hill!  It was a perfect circus with one ring; Harris,
           who was a tall, lanky fellow, took hold of the enraged
           animal's tail as he rose to his feet, and in a moment his
           legs were flying higher than his head, but he did not dare
           let go of his hold on the bull's tail, and around and
           around they went; it was his only show for life.  I could
           not assist him a particle, but had to sit and hold his horse,
           and be judge of the fight.  I really thought that old bull
           would never weaken.  Finally, however, the "ring" performance
           began to show symptoms of fatigue; slower and slower the
           actions of the bull grew, and at last Harris succeeded
           in cutting his hamstrings and the poor beast went down.
           Harris said afterward, when the danger was all over, that
           the only thing he feared was that perhaps the bull's tail
           would pull out, and if it did, he was well aware that he
           was a goner.  We brought his tongue, hump, and a hindquarter
           to the ranch with us, and had a glorious feast and a big
           laugh that night with the boys over the ridiculous adventure.
 General Richard Irving Dodge, United States army, in his work on
 the big game of America, says:
           It is almost impossible for a civilized being to realize
           the value to the plains Indian of the buffalo.  It furnished
           him with home, food, clothing, bedding, horse equipment--
           almost everything.
           From 1869 to 1873 I was stationed at various posts along
           the Arkansas River.  Early in spring, as soon as the dry
           and apparently desert prairie had begun to change its coat
           of dingy brown to one of palest green, the horizon would
           begin to be dotted with buffalo, single or in groups of two
           or three, forerunners of the coming herd.  Thick and thicker,
           and in large groups they come, until by the time the grass
           is well up, the whole vast landscape appears a mass of
           buffalo, some individuals feeding, others lying down, but
           the herd slowly moving to the northward; of their number,
           it was impossible to form a conjecture.
           Determined as they are to pursue their journey northward,
           yet they are exceedingly cautious and timid about it,
           and on any alarm rush to the southward with all speed,
           until that alarm is dissipated.  Especially is this the case
           when any unusual object appears in their rear, and so
           utterly regardless of consequences are they, that an old
           plainsman will not risk a wagon-train in such a herd,
           where rising ground will permit those in front to get
           a good view of their rear.
           In May, 1871, I drove in a buggy from old Fort Zarah
           to Fort Larned, on the Arkansas River.  The distance is
           thirty-four miles.  At least twenty-five miles of that
           distance was through an immense herd.  The whole country
           was one mass of buffalo, apparently, and it was only when
           actually among them, that the seemingly solid body was
           seen to be an agglomeration of countless herds of from
           fifty to two hundred animals, separated from the surrounding
           herds by a greater or less space, but still separated.
           The road ran along the broad valley of the Arkansas.
           Some miles from Zarah a low line of hills rises from the
           plain on the right, gradually increasing in height and
           approaching road and river, until they culminate in
           Pawnee Rock.
           So long as I was in the broad, level valley, the herds
           sullenly got out of my way, and, turning, stared stupidly
           at me, some within thirty or forty yards.  When, however,
           I had reached a point where the hills were no more than
           a mile from the road, the buffalo on the crests, seeing an
           unusual object in their rear, turned, stared an instant,
           then started at full speed toward me, stampeding and
           bringing with them the numberless herds through which
           they passed, and pouring down on me, no longer separated
           but compacted into one immense mass of plunging animals,
           mad with fright, irresistible as an avalanche.
           The situation was by no means pleasant.  There was but
           one hope of escape.  My horse was, fortunately, a quiet
           old beast, that had rushed with me into many a herd, and
           been in at the death of many a buffalo.  Reining him up,
           I waited until the front of the mass was within fifty yards,
           then, with a few well-directed shots, dropped some of
           the leaders, split the herd and sent it off in two streams
           to my right and left.  When all had passed me, they stopped,
           apparently satisfied, though thousands were yet within
           reach of my rifle.  After my servant had cut out the
           tongues of the fallen, I proceeded on my journey, only to
           have a similar experience within a mile or two, and this
           occurred so often that I reached Fort Larned with twenty-six
           tongues, representing the greatest number of buffalo that
           I can blame myself with having murdered in one day.
           Some years, as in 1871, the buffalo appeared to move
           northward in one immense column, oftentimes from twenty
           to fifty miles in width, and of unknown depth from front
           to rear.  Other years the northward journey was made
           in several parallel columns moving at the same rate and
           with their numerous flankers covering a width of a hundred
           or more miles.
           When the food in one locality fails, they go to another,
           and toward fall, when the grass of the high prairies
           becomes parched by the heat and drought, they gradually
           work their way back to the south, concentrating on the
           rich pastures of Texas and the Indian Territory, whence,
           the same instinct acting on all, they are ready to start
           together again on their northward march as soon as spring
           starts the grass.
           Old plainsmen and the Indians aver that the buffalo never
           return south; that each year's herd was composed of animals
           which had never made the journey before, and would never
           make it again.  All admit the northern migration, that
           being too pronounced for any one to dispute, but refuse
           to admit the southern migration.  Thousands of young calves
           were caught and killed every spring that were produced
           during this migration, and accompanied the herd northward;
           but because the buffalo did not return south in one vast
           body as they went north, it was stoutly maintained that
           they did not go south at all.  The plainsman could give
           no reasonable hypothesis of his "No-return theory" on which
           to base the origin of the vast herds which yearly made
           their march northward.  The Indian was, however, equal
           to the occasion.  Every plains Indian firmly believed that
           the buffalo were produced in countless numbers in a country
           under ground; that every spring the surplus swarmed,
           like bees from a hive, out of the immense cave-like opening
           in the region of the great Llano Estacado, or Staked Plain
           of Texas.  In 1879 Stone Calf, a celebrated chief, assured
           me that he knew exactly where the caves were, though he had
           never seen them; that the good God had provided this
           means for the constant supply of food for the Indian, and
           however recklessly the white men might slaughter, they could
           never exterminate them.  When last I saw him, the old man
           was beginning to waver in this belief, and feared that
           the "Bad God" had shut the entrances, and that his tribe
           must starve.
 The old trappers and plainsmen themselves, even as early as the
 beginning of the Santa Fe trade, noticed the gradual disappearance
 of the buffalo, while they still existed in countless numbers.
 One veteran French Canadian, an employee of the American Fur Company,
 way back in the early '30's, used to mourn thus: "Mais, sacre!
 les Amarican, dey go to de Missouri frontier, de buffalo he ron to
 de montaigne; de trappaire wid his fusil, he follow to de Bayou
 Salade, he ron again.  Dans les Montaignes Espagnol, bang! bang!
 toute la journee, toute la journee, go de sacre voleurs.  De bison he
 leave, parceque les fusils scare im vara moche, ici là de sem-sacré!"