In 1867 conservative estimates put the number of buffaloes in the trans-Missouri region at fifteen million. By the end of the 1880s, that figure had dwindled to a few hundred. The destruction of the great herds is the theme of The Buffalo Hunters. Mari Sandoz’s vast canvas is charged with color and excitement—accounts of Indian ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, gambling and gunfights, military expeditions, and famous frontier characters.
"The fate of the Plains Region was inextricably bound up with the fate of the buffalo; they fell together. This is the story Miss Sandoz has to tell, and she tells it beautifully, forcefully, epically. . . . A procession of interesting frontier figures, red and white [Wild Bill Hickok, Lonesome Charlie Reynolds, Buffalo Bill, Sheridan, Custer, and Indian chiefs Whistler, Yellow Wolf, Spotted Tail, Sitting Bull, passes through the narrative, briefly but sharply characterized."—New York Times Book Review