<< Previous  Next>>

The Washington Post, October 22, 1916


Indians on a Texas Ranch Used Bow and Spear

……For a brief interval time turned backward a good 50 years at the big Goodnight ranch in the Texas Panhandle a few days ago, says the Kansas City Star. Once again rang out the triumphant whoop of the Indian as he prodded his cayuse in pursuit of a buffalo: again a flint barbed arrow whistled through the air and sank deep into the flesh of the fleeing animal. And the successful hunter raised his bow high in the air-the olden signal to the women of the camp that the slain game awaited their preparation for the feast.
……It was like the brief cut-in of a moving picture film, for scarcely had the buffalo lurched forward in its death agony before the click of cameras, the honk of motor horns and the put-put of motorcycles sounded. The year 1916 had come back into its own.
……This momentary show of what was once the common life of the plains was staged by Col. Charles Goodnight, owner of the ranch and widely known as a stockman. He planned to reproduce a buffalo hunt as nearly as possible like those before the white man’s rule of the plains began. One of his requirements was that the animal should be shot with bow and arrow. And there the colonel met trouble. He discovered that few of the redskins of the present day could handle a bow. Finally he found four among the Kiowas who were familiar with the old-time Indian weapons.
George Hunt, the son of a chief, but who prefers to be known as the United States district farmer for the Kiowa agency, was one. The others were Horse, Kiowa George and Luther Sahmont, all well past the half-century mark. Despite their age all can ride a horse in the easy fashion of the plains Indian. All, too, can remember the days when the Indians roamed the plains in untrammeled freedom and when the buffalo afforded a daily part of the menu of the camps.
The Goodnight ranch lies in what was once the Kiowa country, but from which the tribe has long been exiled. Hill and arroyo alike were familiar to the four hunters, who were given an opportunity to live over the days long gone.

Horse Fired Fatal Arrow.
……The news of the hunt had spread far, in the little town of Goodnight was well crowded with visitors on the day set for it. Covered wagons jostled touring car, and spurred and booted cowboy rode alongside sputtering motorcycle. The whole Panhandle country seem to have taken a day off. In an arena half a mile square was formed, bordered on three sides by motor cars packed as closely together as they could stand.
……Into this inclosure was led the doomed buffalo. It was a six-year-old cow, one of the herd of 250 on the Goodnight ranch. It was a pugnacious animal, as the Indians had found when they helped to corral it the day before. As a precautionary measure, lest the animal should get away from the hunters, a man with a loaded high-power rifle road with the Indians.
At a given signal the redskins rode into the arena. His long hair streamed down the shoulders of the oldest of the hunters; the others had to recently patronize the white man’s barber. They wore nearly the garb of the old, free days as convention would permit. There were no saddles on their ponies.
……Led by Horse, they road in triangular formation toward the buffalo. As they approached, almost simultaneously, they drew back their bows and discharged the arrows. One Pierce the buffaloes body, driving almost entirely through it. The cows stumbled upon its knees, sought vainly to arise, then toppled over, dying. It was generally conceded the death-dealing arrow was shot by Horse, oldest of the hunters.


Riders of the dying buffalo on the Goddnight ranch Oct1916
Frontier Days Recalled.
After the killing a reception was held by Col. And Mrs. Goodnight, and many were the stories of frontier days were told.
The buffalo was dressed and it’s meat served at a big feast. More than 100 guest were present at the dinner.
Col. Goodnight settled in the Panhandle country in 1876, he and his partner taking up half a million acres of land. In 1880, noting the rapid extinction of the buffalo, Col. Goodnight determined to save a few of the specimens. He captured three animals then, and his herd has slowly increased till it now numbers 250.
He has succeeded in crossing the buffalo with ordinary cattle, and has a herd of what he terms cattalo, which he greatly prizes.



The Wellington Daily News, Oct 26 1916

Goodnight’s Buffalo

……On his ranch near Goodnight, a rail way station in northwestern Texas, Charles Goodnight has 148 buffalo and 35 cattalo, the latter being a cross between the wild buffalo and the domestic Poll-Angus cattle. It was upon the suggestion of Mrs. Goodnight that Colonel Goodnight began to save a stock of the original buffalo. This was in 1878. The race of bison had begun to lessen, by the murderous slaughter which the government permitted, and it occurred to Mrs. Goodnight that a herd of them should be saved for the benefit of science. Accordingly Colonel Goodnight, thinking well of the idea, captured one male and three heifer calves, and from this stock sprang an important station for breeding wild buffalo and the cross of the wild and domestic. From this stock he has sold $20,000 worth of the wild buffalo to national, municipal and private parks.
……Colonel Goodnight, now quite an old man, is much gratified by the results of his experiment. Recently he said: “I have been able to produce in the breed the extra rib of the buffalo, making fourteen on each side, while ordinary cattle have only thirteen ribs on each side. They make a larger and hardier animal, require less feed, and longer lived, and will cut a greater percent of net meat than any breed of cattle. No one knows how long a buffalo will live. I have had a buffalo cow more than twenty-eight years old which produced a calf. The cattaloes are a decided success. They will carry their young and make beef at any season of the year. They do well in the extreme south, or far north, and I believe it will only be a matter of time until they will be used on all the western ranges.”
……The buffalo, and the cattalo as well never drifts with a storm, and, knowing the road home, goes there in the face of the worst blizzard. The buffalo has better manners than the domestic animal. For example the buffalo does not muddy the water of a pool or stream when it drinks, stepping up to the edge of the water only, and never stepping in. Buffalo and domestic cattle will not mix in the same herd or be at all neighborly, unless grown up together from calfhood.