Wednesday, May 13, 2009


"There was a man who killed a buffalo bull to no purpose. Only he wanted its blood on his hands. It was a great, old noble beast and it was a long time blowing its life away. On the edge of the night, the people gathered themselves up in their grief and shame. Away in the West, they could see the hump and spine of the huge beast which lay dying along the edge of the world.They could see its bright blood run into the sky where it dried, darkening, and was at last flecked with flakes of light."

M. Scott Momaday

Of all the West's natural wonders, none surpassed the huge herds of buffalo that blanketed the Plains -- perhaps once as many as 30 million of them. They had frightened Coronado's horses by their smell, and astonished Lewis and Clark by their sheer numbers. One wagon train of pioneers was blocked for hours by a herd three miles wide and ten miles long. But for the native peoples of the Plains, they represented existence itself.
Their numbers had been reduced by the 1860's, but with the coming of the Railroad and the wholesale slaughter that ensued, they were on the brink of extinction by 1884. A quiet descended on the prairie; the buffalo was gone, and with it a way of life that had existed since before recorded history.

"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. One young woman got up very early... and... peering through the haze, she saw the last buffalo herd appear like in a spirit dream. 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. Into this world of beauty the buffalo walked, never to be seen again."

Old Lady Horse



bulletholes said...

All but one paragraph of the above was taken from the PBS Series 'The West", another truly great film by Ken Burns.

Oh, and thanks to APOD for the Eclipse picture.

I normally like to "credit" in the post, but I didn't want to clutter this up.

soubriquet said...

What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

soubriquet said...

You can't wash your hands in a buffalo!

bulletholes said...

Thats rEAL funny Soub....i'm havin' a cow!
You know, it was you that spurred me to post this up, with that tale of the slaughter of the mole.
I could almost hear Richard Attenborough narrating that piece.
Rogue Mole!
Who needs Kipling!

Water Baby said...

you always see these interesting documentaries on PBS, I love public television

Lily said...

Some days I long for my own Mount Scott.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
I need to start a blog.
I know, it's outdated, now.
But. I need to start a blog of.. homeschooling and the civil rights of the South come in to play.
I just commented, and erased all of it b/c well, it went on too long, describing my next door neighbor etc.
Any way!! I need a cool name for it. Any ideas?? Tina (munchkin)

Anonymous said...

How the South CAME into play.

bulletholes said...

Hey Tina...
How about "No Spitwad Zone"?
"Recess is Cancelled"
"Have You Seen Nellies Grades?"
"Southern Fried Syllabus"

'I Can't Wait till they Graduate!"

Do let us know when you are up and running.