This thoroughly researched and superbly written book combines history, myth, folklore, and fiction to tell the story not only of the buffalo but of the relationship between buffalo and man on the North American continent. Synthesizing larger and longer histories of this unique animal, this book traces the history of the buffalo from the time it led man to North America, fed him, clothed him, and housed him. As buffalo increased in numbers, they became central to the culture of the Great Plains Indians who lived surrounded by them. Much of the Indian way of life was related to knowledge of and reverence for the buffalo.
When the European white man arrived, he lived off the buffalo as he explored the continent. Later, he slaughtered the great herds of animals when they trampled his crops, stopped his railway trains, and fed the Indians who fought him for the land.
But when extinction threatened the buffalo, the white man was challenged by the idea of saving the animal, an idea that captures the imagination of Americans yet today.
Heads, Hides & Horns traces this major history in a thousand small stories, with directions for tanning, recipes for cooking, stories of tenderfeet and hide hunters, Metis from Canada who searched for bones, ciboleros from Mexico who hunted buffalo in Texas, and hundreds of anecdotes and first-person accounts.
Over one hundred illustrations accompany the lively text. The pictorial research behind this book is as thorough as the textual study, and the illustrations include works by major artists of the period - Karl Bodmer and Frederic Remington, for example - along with actual period photographs.
Combining the best of art and history told in an anecdotal and readable manner, Heads, Hides & Horns offers fascinating reading for anyone interested in the American West, its culture, traditions, and ecology.