The Pittsburg Sun
Pittsburg, Kansas Jan 17, 1922
Entertain Boy Scouts (extract)
The merit badges Boy Scouts of Pittsburg were guests of Oscar Ward at his home on West Washington avenue. Saturday night. Mr. Ward will leave tomorrow on a hunting trip and will hunt bison on Buffalo Island in Salt Lake. He told the boys the history of his hunting trips, showing his guns and skins.
Concordia, Kansas Jan 25, 1922
FIND BONES OF BISON
Part of Skeleton Is Dug Up by Bridge Builders
SALINA, Jan. 25. – Part of the bones of a bison skeleton were found Friday by workmen of the ‘Yancey Construction company while digging for the foundation being built over the Saline river north of town on the Meridian Highway.
The bones of the entire skull were found, and also a number of smaller bones and a leg bone. All the bones were found several feet below the surface and were in good state of preservation.
Sam Yancey, of the construction company, is keeping the bones for a souvenir, and so far no one has been able to talk him out of them.
White Earth Minnesota Feb 16, 1922
Northwest Indians Put Hand to Plow With Aid of U.S.
(extract-Irrigation of 160,000 acres)
Congress has appropriated money for the purchase, from the Flathead tribe, lands suitable for a big bison range. The buffalo number about 460.
The Wichita Daily Eagle
Wichita, Kansas Feb 18, 1922
PAYS FOR UNRULY ACTS WITH LIFE
“Big Bo,” King of Wichita Buffalo Herd, is Butchered This Week
“Big Bo,” king of Wichita’s buffalo herd, became incorrigible and paid the extreme penalty for it Monday. He is now in his temporary resting place, the Kansas Ice and Cold Storage company building. “Big Bo.” was executed Monday by Ed Koestner, animal custodian, after a trade had been arranged with K. C. “Coons”, Beck of Hutchinson, who will replace the late bison with a young bull.
Beck found he was unable to remove the buffalo from Linwood park, alive. The animal was butchered by J. F Hafner, expert butcher of the Wichita Dressed Beef company. On hoof, he weighed more than 1,800 pounds. Dressed his carcass weighed 800 pounds and the hide 150. The liver alone weighed 20 pounds; the heart six and the tongue eight. The head and shoulders will be mounted. For months the animal has been unruly and dangerous to the lives of attendants and people wandering near the pen, according to Herbert Mellor, custodian. No one could approach the fence, even the custodian with the feed, but the aged bull would become enraged. Several times Koestner has avoided serious injury only by a narrow margin, he states. ‘
The Kansas City Kansan
Kansas City, Kansas May 10, 1922
THE BUFFALO WALLOWS STILL SEEN IN KANSAS
DRIVE out into the country aways in most any direction from town to where there is a stretch of virgin sod; probably north into the sand hills would be the most convenient. Get out of your high-powered limousine and wander across the pasture. Keep .your eye on the ground. Soon you will come upon a depression in the earth; It will not be barren now but will be overgrown with grass and weeds. Walk a little farther and you will see another, depression. And farther on, still another. In fact, in the course of time, you will find many of these curious hollows, Thus writes a reporter for the Hutchinson: Gazette. These depressions are all that remain of historical buffalo “wallows.”
The average “wallow” was approximately a dozen feet in diameter by two feet deep in the center and was surrounded by the short but succulent “buffalo grass.” There are yet numerous “wallows” in the unplowed fields of Kansas; even Reno county is not without; them; although but little of the grass is present.
Perhaps the oddest thing about the buffalo’s monument is that each “wallow” looked like it had been created by the hand of man. Almost a perfect circle with the walls sloping symmetrically around the ring. By some, it is claimed that the animals pawed these holes in a frantic effort to drive away the hordes of flies and mosquitoes which pestered them; that several buffalo would stand, in a circle with their heads together and paw the dust into clouds around them. Thereby continually wearing the hollows deeper but packing the bottoms harder.
But there seems to be ample proof that this’ was not the only, nor the main reason for the creation of the hollow spots. There undoubtedly was a method to the madness. For during rainy spells the “wallows’ would catch water and hold it for weeks thereafter. This providing at one time plenty to drink and a place to bathe. It is not unreasonable to believe the animals instinct urged the beasts to provide water holes against the days when dryness was almost sure to come.
One of the peculiar traits of traits of the American bison, one which is said to have made him an easy prey to the killers, was in fact that he was continually in search of fresh pastures; especially fond of the tender grass that comes up after a prairie fire. The hunters made it a point to burn off certain areas the winter before in order to trap the buffalo the following spring. Another characteristic, according to one of the old-time hunters, is” that the sexes lived apart or in separate herds during the greater “part of the year, altho several aged bulls usually remained with the female herd. .The creatures were highly dangerous during the rutting season and would not hesitate to attack a man in great savagery.
The Buffalo Commercial
Buffalo, New York May 29, 1922
This is as Near as Mrs. John R. Buffalo would allow the photographer to get to her offspring.
Before the faithful mother charged him and would have trampled him to death unless he had defended himself, with an eighteen-hour old bison.
Cow Charges Keeper
The mother bison is the most devoted. Her devotion is of the vicious nature, preventing even her keepers from entering the pen to feed her. A narrow escape was had by one of the keepers yesterday and only a pitchfork saved him from almost certain death! He entered the pen in an attempt to feed the mother, but he was no more than inside the gate be self with a pitchfork he carried. No attempts have been made since then to enter the yard.
Few Bisons Live
Although on the surface, the baby bison appears to have the strongest constitution; it really has the least chance to live. The ravages of diseases are liable to claim it at any time. Thirty or forty bisons have been born at the zoo, but few have lived to a ripe age. Two diseases are the greatest danger to the bison.-They are tuberculosis, and hemorrhagic septicemia, the latter a disease just recently discovered by science and perhaps the most deadly of any.
Dr. F. A. Crandall, curator of the zoo, said this morning that hemorrhagic septicemia may attack the bison overnight and cause its death within a very few hours. He said the two diseases named have been the only ones with which he has had to deal at the zoo. The hoof and mouth disease has been avoided, he said.
The deer and goat are practically certain of living, Dr. Crandall said, but it is conjectural in the case of the little bison, which is a male. Asked if the baby bison was to have a name, Mr. Crandall said: “Yes, all our animals have names, but they wouldn’t look nice in print. When they get ugly and vicious towards their keepers, they get several names handed to them, but not names by which they could be christened. The baby buffalo is being watched closely, both by its mother, who stamps her feet and snorts through its nostrils at the approach of a human and by the keepers, who fear for its life.
The Journal Times
Racine, Wisconsin June 2, 1922
Birds and All Nature
(extract) by. J.W.Dearsley
First let us take into consideration the range of the cowbird, which extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from a portion of the British possessions to Mexico In the south. Kindly compare its range with that of the American bison, or buffalo, and you will note that it. has covered the same territory, as it is acknowledged that at one time the bison roamed throughout North America where grazing was to be had, that naturally covers a period of thousands of years and I firmly believe they were accompanied up through the dark ages of the past to the present day by bird life that has evolved in the cowbird of today, which, to me, is the true buffalo bird in its present form. All Americans are familiar with the habits of the buffalo. They would drift over their range by thousands and naturally in long drawn outlines as it would be impossible for them to graze if formed in dense herds. The ones in the rear would find very poor grazing while the forward members would be enjoying the fresh untrodden range feed and they were constantly advancing, their numbers demanded It, and where poor feeding grounds were encountered the leader would surge ahead until good feeding ground were again at their disposal.
Water, too, was a factor in their restless lives and at all time the buffalo bird were on duty relieving the herd of insect pests.In every form and sounding an alarm should there be an approaching danger caused by the buffalos’ natural enemies. Can you imagine the bird lingering behind the herd long enough to rear a family. No, nature had been fit to assign the work to the home guard along the way. Not many years ago a terrible, calamity took place. Yes, man saw firm to exterminate the buffalo and the least said about that dark chapter at this time the better, as we all know it really happened
The Wichita Daily Eagle
Wichita Kansas June 28, 1922
It is more than probable that bison steaks and roasts and stews will become standard food in the United States within the next twenty-five years. The American bison, more commonly called the buffalo is staging a great come-back, under the careful supervision of the Canadian and United States governments.
When Buffalo Bill Matthewson came out to Kansas and began the pioneering that led him to Wichita as one of the earliest citizens of the frontier town, there were about sixty million bison in North America, according to the best estimates. Of this magnificent herd there was left but eight hundred living specimens in 1893. Shortly after that date, the effort to breed buffalo herds and save the race from extinction was begun. An Indian named Michael Pablo captured four wild .calves in 1873, in Montana. He was rearing buffalo on a small scale on the open range on the Flathead Indian Reservation for many years before governments or rich naturalists became interested in saving the buffalo. . In 1909 he had 631 head, running on the range. The Flathead reservation was thrown open to settlement, and Pablo had to sell his herd. The United States government refused to consider buying it. The Canadian government bought it gladly, moved it across the border, and started the big Canadian national herd in Wainwright park, a wild tract of 107.000 acres in Alberta. There are nearly five thousand bison, constituting the largest herd in the world, in that park now.
As soon as Uncle Sam saw Canada walk away with the big herd of American bison, he began to want a herd of his own. The herds in the various national parks, headed by the big herd in the Wichita mountains, Oklahoma, resulted from the interest thus awakened. There are more than 4,000 buffalo in the United States today. There are some wild herds in Northern Canada. The total living American bison may reach ten thousand now, and if it is a little short of that It will pass that figure soon.
The United States government is giving away its surplus buffalo bulls to parks throughout the country. Wichita has profited by this gift policy. Very soon the limit of saturation will be reached by the municipal parks, and then the slaughter of buffalo by systematic methods will begin. The number of bulls has to be kept down because when there are too many bulls there is too much destructive fighting in the herds. We may expect buffalo meat to be back on the restaurant bills of fare regularly within the experience of many persons now living. The bison has come back.
Clay Center, Kansas June 29, 1922
Buffalo Herds Increasing.
Forty-six new buffalo calves are reported on three of the four-game preserves maintained by the biological survey of the United States Department of Agriculture for the special protection of buffalo. On the national bison range in Montana, there are 417 buffalo, including 28 calves born this spring. Fifteen calves are reported at the Wind Cave preserve, in South Dakota, Dakota, and 3 at Niobrara, Nebr.
The department has been very fortunate in maintaining the herds established at these three points and at Sullys Hill, N. Dak. There are relatively few large buffalo herds now scattered over the country, and the biological survey has made special efforts to provide suitable ranges and protection for what threatened a few years ago to become an extinct species of native American animal.
The Evening World
New York, NY June 30, 1922
When You Go to the Museum.
PREHISTORIC AMERICAN ANIMALS.
Herds of three native American animals the mastodon, royal bison, and horse are shown in a painting of a scene in the Missouri River Valley by Charles R. Knight in the Hall of the Age of Man in the American Museum of Natural History.
All of these animals are now extinct. The horse, that is to say, the native American horse was extinct before the appearance of man upon this continent. With the other two animals, the American branch of the human race had frequent dealings.
The royal bison a huge animal of menacing aspect was the ancestor of the smaller, bison, or buffalo, which has barely escaped extinction through the firearms of the white man since his appearance in these plantations.
As to the American horse, he is in no way connected with old Dobbin of our day. Old Dobbin is the descendant of horses brought to America from Europe by the original settlers, in North and South America. The “wild horse” of this species is also a thing of the past
Quad City Times
Davenport Iowa July 16, 1922
BISON HERDS INCREASE
The buffalos that live on American nickels no longer represent the last herd of a dying race. The Biological Survey now reports that there are 10,000 of these animals on the North American continent, 6,000 in Canada and 4,000 in the United States.
Just 20 years ago, when Congress and the public became alarmed at the disappearance of these picturesque animals, there were only 1,750 in existence. An appropriation of $15,000 was made for; their purchase and maintenance. Under protection, they have increased to more than five and a half times that number. If the flocks continue to increase at this rate we may find the durable and warm buffalo robe coming back into fashion. The buffalo herds now living on government hospitality may easily assume proportions too vast to be appreciated for their picturesque qualities alone.- Buffalo Times.
Missoula Montana Jul 22, 1922
How the Bison Were Saved
BY PROF. M. J. ELROD
Chair of Biology, University of Montana
The American bison, or buffalo, which came so nearly to total extinction about 1900, is now saved to the world, even if the majority of the living animals are protected by large fenced ranges. Safe estimate for total number of animals in the world is about 10,000. Of these Canada has 5,080. The United States has 3,393. The few remaining animals are in European parks.
In 1886 the number of animals was reduced to about 300, according to Hornaday. The American bison society, organized to save the noble animal, aroused public sentiment to the danger of losing entirely the famous animal of the great plains, raised a fund of over $10,000 for the purchase of a small herd, secured congressional action for obtaining suitable range, and undoubtedly saved the buffalo.
In a few years, from about 1882 to 1886. the great herds of millions passed from their open home on the plains through the greed of man, a sad lesson in wanton wastefulness. Had each animal thus recklessly destroyed brought no more to the government that a dollar, the amount would have more than equaled the purchase price of Alaska. The American bison range, containing nearly 20,000 acres, is a few miles from Missoula, Mont., and now contains 430 American bison, including 40 spring calves; 25 pronghorn antelope; 20 white-tailed deer; 40 black-tailed or mule deer; elk or wapiti, 275.
The Anaconda Standard
Anaconda, Montana Aug 12, 1922
BISON WANTED BY EUROPEAN NATION
Czecho-Slovakia Seeks Animal Once Common to Montana Now Scarce
American bison, once so common in Montana, out now extinct except in captivity, are in demand in Czechoslovakia, according to information received by the Anaconda Standard from the department of commerce, Washington, D. C.
The purpose for which this European country wants the bison, more commonly known as buffalo, is not disclosed in the inquiry sent to “the” department of commerce, which is making the announcement in the Northwest, evidently in the hope that the prospective customers will find the market they are searching for.
The only large herd in the state or nation is said to be the Pablo herd on the Flathead Indian reservation and these are owned by the government and consequently, it is not likely that any could be sold. Columbia gardens, Butte, has two or three, buffalo in the zoo and a number of other private institutions keep one or more of the animals for exhibition purposes
Government or private zoos occasionally find they have too many bulls in their herds and advertise them to be sold or given to zoos that will take them and give them proper care. That the Czecho Slovakian want the animals for breeding purposes is indicated by the fact that they emphasize, according to the department of commerce, that they are to be alive.
The request for buffalo is only one of many thousand that come to the department for various commodities from practically every nation of the world. Most of the nations are asking for manufactured articles, foodstuffs, machines of all kinds, including automobiles, and even motion picture films. – Portugal wants mules and horses.
Manhattan, Kansas Aug 21, 1922
BUFFALO BULL TO URAGUAY
To Deport Animal After 15 Years of Residence
Washington, D. C. Biso is unhappy. He is to be deported, thrust from the land of his birth, torn from his wives and children and doomed to live in exile for the rest of his days.
Secretary of Agriculture Wallace has decreed that he must go; the Forest Service has arranged his transports and Biso is inconsolable.
Biso is the big buffalo bull that for fifteen years has been the admiration of visitors to the Wichita National Forest and Game Refuge in Oklahoma. The city of Montevideo, Uruguay has asked that its zoological garden be supplied with an American bison and the Forest Service men who have charge of the buffalo on the Wichita say that Biso will be an excellent representative of this typical North American species whose once mighty herds roamed the great plains from Mexico to northern Canada.
In 1907 fifteen were “planted in the Wichita National Forest and have since increased to over 150 head This herd promises to maintain the type of stamina of the original bison since the animals are kept at all times under natural conditions. They subsist entirely on wild grasses and live within so large inclosure that they are under practically no restraint.
So Biso has been well content and is reluctant to leave. Yet many of the younger buffalo bulls are casting envious glances at the old fellow. It would be very pleasant, they think, to doze idly beneath a palm tree and be served with fresh cut grasses or have their noses patted by some dark haired senorita. But Biso has doubts.
Salisbury Evening Post
Salisbury NC Aug 26, 1922
NO WILD BUFFALO NOW IN THE U. S.
Only Animals to Be Found on Continent Roaming Free in Northwest Territory; In Two Herds
New York, Aug. 26 It’s hardly 50 years ago that an Eastern sportsman wanting something in the way of big game would go West for a buffalo hunt. In those days a New England country farmer out in his sleigh for a cold ride might wrap himself well in a buffalo robe. Those shabby robes, tough, with the hair worn off, persisted for many years.
Now not only they are gone, but The Journal of the American Museum of natural history is responsible for the statement that there is now not a single wild herd of buffalo or bison in existence in the United States. The beautiful reproduction of the animal on the nickel is all that remains, except a few animals on protected lands. One of the most superb animals of the North American fauna, the bison was a characteristic feature of the plains of this country with the Indian and the prairie wolf.
Nucleus Herds Established.
Too late to do more than save a remnant, organizations like the American Bison Society have established nucleus herds in such sanctuaries as the Yellowstone National Park, the Montana National Bison Range, and the Wichita National Game Reserve. Canada is more fortunate.
In Alberta and the Northwest territories bounded on the north by Great Slave Lake, on the west by the Buffalo river and the Caribou Mountains, on the southeast by the Peace river and on the east by the Slave river, still wild, are what remains of the animals which once occupied great tracts of this country. It is an interesting remnant of the buffalo of the past for through its isolation and the conditions of environment the animals have become a species by itself known as the Bison Athabascae Rhodes. This subspecies of the animal, once the most magnificent creature of the plains, ranges through forests broken only occasionally by open places and is known as the wood bison.
Herds Do Not Mingle.
These wood bison of Canada occupy a forested area of about 4,000 square miles and are divided into two herds, which of recent years do not mingle.
During the early part of the summer, the southern band of the animals browse in the northern part of its range, near the Little Buffalo river. Usually, they are divided into small groups of ten or a dozen animals, but in July and August the mating season, they assemble in groups of 20 or 30, and as many as a hundred may be seen together. In August they start southward and spend the winter not far north of the Peace river and Point Providence. Year after year they follow the same trails through the woods, similar to the trails of the bison of the plains. Buffalo wallows are of frequent occurrence along the line of march, and a salt lick shows the presence of animals of all ages, including the calves.
Little Known of Northern Herd.
Less is known of the bison if the northern range, as much of its habitat is country never visited by the white man. It is supposed that there, a herd of about 1,000 buffalo, and that nature of the country they occupy is much the same as the southern range. The wood bison are said to be differentiated from their fellows by their size, which is greater; they are darker in color and the hair is denser and more silky. Dr. William T. Hornaday says that originally the wild bison of this continent formed an immense herd so great that it would be easier to count the leaves of the trees, of a forest than the bison living at any given time in the history of the species previous to 1870. The animals once filled the country from Great Slave Lake, in Northern Canada, to Northern Mexico, and in the southeastern extension to the State of Georgia.
Woodland Daily Democrat
Woodland California Sep. 14, 1922
Wild Game Feed, Play Before Yellowstone Tourist
The American Bison, or Buffalo, growing scarcer nearly everywhere else, are actually increasing in the Park, although the government rarely ever fails to respond to a request a pair for some city park. They frequent secluded areas of the Park and are seldom seen, in fact, none has been seen by any of our party We are promised the sight of some the tame herd at our next stop.
The Salina Daily Union
Salina, Kansas Sep 18, 1922
Over 7000 In This Herd of Buffalo
OTTAWA, Ont, Sept. IS The buffalo herd, largest in the world, in the Canadian government’s park at Wainwright, numbered when the last census was taken 6,146 head. The natural increase for the year was 1,075 while the decrease due to old age, fighting and the slaughter of animals was 81, leaving a net increase of 994.
Many calves are reported this year. Their exact number is not yet known but it is estimated at considerably more than 1,000. So, it is believed, the herd now numbers more than 7,000 head. This is said to be three-fifths of all the bison left in the world. The herd has an estimated value of S2,000,000. It includes about 1,000 bulls which are not needed for herd purposes and the department of parks is considering slaughtering them this fall and selling the carcasses in the markets of Canada and the United States.
Marshfield, Wisconsin Sep 20, 1922
After the early ’70s the rifle, regardless of its make, was usually called a “Winchester,” though this particular term, because of its similarity to the name of a well-known condiment, was occasionally paraphrased into “Worcestershire.” Failing these titles, the weapon was styled merely “rifle.” It, except in the case of the rifles specially designed for bison shooting and called “buffalo guns,” never was termed “gun,” that word, save for the single exception noted, being consecrated to the pistol.
“Scatter-guns.” otherwise shotguns, were occasionally produced by tenderfoots; but they, unless with “sawed-off” barrels, loaded with nails or buckshot, and in the hands of express messengers, served for the westerner only as objects of derision
The Brockway Record
Brockway, Pennsylvania Oct 6, 1922
The new stamps have a different picture on each stamp.
Bison or Buffalo 30-cent.
The San Bernardino County Sun
San Bernardino Calif Oct 10, 1922
Designs On Nickels Changed
New five cent pieces of altered design are said to be in circulation in San Bernardino. One received at the post office yesterday gave the federal authorities their first information of the new nickels which have not been distributed through the customary official channels.
The general background on both obverse and reverse is the same as the present buffalo nickel but in place of the dignified Indian chieftain, there appears the likeness of a Hebrew of vaudeville appearance, crowned with a flat derby hat pulled way down over his ears.
The bison or American buffalo has undergone a corresponding transformation and appears minus his humped back and shaggy mane. He has acquired the long ears of the animal often used to designate a major political party.
The effect of the transformation is ludicrous. It is a federal offense to deface United States coins, and while the “designer” of the “Democratic” or “Hebrew” nickel doubtlessly acted purely in a spirit of jest, his act may have serious consequences. How many nickels have been so altered is not known but there were rumors on the street of several; yesterday afternoon. And as far as is known, all the owners were carrying them for the sake of novelty but as they are hard to distinguish from original issue, authorities feared others might be accidentally placed in circulation. Alteration has been pronounced the work of a skilled engraver. The former figures have been entirely merged into the engraver’s creations a trace of the Indian or buffalo remains
The Anaconda Standard
Anaconda Montana Oct 17, 1922
Under the provisions of the state law, it is unlawful to kill at any time moose, bison, buffalo, caribou, antelope, antelope, Rocky mountain sheep. Rocky mountain goats, ‘quail, China pheasants, pheasants, Hungarian pheasants, partridge, ‘ wood duck, curlew, swan, loon or turtle doves, meadowlarks or bluebirds.
Douglass, Kansas Dec 1, 1922
Sold Buffalo Herd as Sheriff
Talking over old times in western Kansas the other day, Sheriff Lingenfelter made the remark that he believed he was the only man in the state of Kansas who ever had the experience of selling a herd of buffalo to satisfy a debt. The incident occurred in the year 1890 when he was sheriff of Finney . county, of which Garden City is the county seat.
Garden City at the time was the headquarters of C.J. .(“Bufflao”) Jones, an old frontiersman who had conceived the idea of preserving at least a remnant of the vast herds of buffalo then fast disappearing from the western plains. Being an old buffalo hunter himself and knowing the habits and haunts of the bison he had managed to collect at the time of which Mr. Ljngenfelter was speaking quite a sizable herd. These he had crossed with native cattle and produced a mixed breed which he named “cattalo,” having some of the endurance, and hardiness, of the native species, but with a portion of their wildness bred out of them. Had his financial ability been equal to his judgment and skill in capturing and rebreeding these then rare animals he would have undoubtedly have made a great success of his enterprise.
But Jones was, like the majority of. the early plainsmen, free-handed and improvident and money melted away rapidly in his hands: In the course of his buffalo hunting operations he had, become indebted to one of the local banks in a sum of between $7,000 and $8,000, as Mr. Lingenfelter remembers. The creditor went into court, obtained a judgment, and to satisfy his claim had an execution levied against Jones’ only visible property, his buffalo herd. Mr.Lingenfelter as sheriff served the writ and took possession of the buffalo then numbering thirty-seven of the full-bloods and seven of the half-breed cattalo. He hired a man named Rennick to keep and feed the animals pending the completion of the legal formalities of advertisement and sale.
One of the young bulls in the herd was reported by the caretaker as being too unruly to handle and Mf, Lingenfelter went into court and secured an order from the district judge to have the animal killed. Then they had a repetition of the old-time buffalo hunt on a small scale and everybody who wanted to get a taste of buffalo meat The sale was duly held and the animals disposed of, most of them finding their way into parks and zoological collections, while a few later turned up in the Frank Rockefeller herd out in Kiowa county and the Goodnight herd in the Teas Panhandle -Wellington Monitor Press
The Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Iowa Dec 12, 1922
Early settler, too, ate bison meat frequently, and until a few years ago some of the bison in the larger private herds were killed at intervals and their meat sold. The meat is not particularly appetizing, more like horse meat than like beef. There is no reason except, a sentimental one for keeping the bison alive, yet most persons will be glad to learn that the bison in the Alberta herd are living and increasing in number Probably no species was ever so nearly destroyed in a few years as was the American bison during the last part of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries on our middle western prairies.
The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California Dec 10, 1922
WILD INDIANS WERE ACTORS
Four Tribes “Counted Coup” in the Movies
Real Buffalos Are Hunted in “ Covered Wagon”
Trained Oxen by Tying Their Tails Together
A lot of wild Indians Arapahoes, Shoshones, Crows, and Bannocks are wending their ways back to the reservations, swollen with the pride of victory, covered with glory and decorated with, coup sticks each coup stick denoting an enemy slain with great valor.
That the enemies were slain in a motion-picture battle with blank cartridges is regarded by, them as an unimportant detail. If you shoot at an enemy with a gun and he flops off his horse and you touch him with your lance, he’s good for a coup stick the Injun Croix de Guerre by jinks!
This was but one of the colorful incidents In the making of the “Covered wagon,” the most ambitious attempt ever made to reproduce the old West and the struggles of those who came across the plains.
A REAL BUFFALO HUNT
When finished, it will be one of the most important historical documents that record this period of American history. Also, one of the most stupendous motion pictures ever made.
James Cruze, the director, reproduced old Fort Bridger, the jumping-off place for the Argonauts when they started on the long journey across the plains; 500 old-fashioned “prairie schooners” were built and 300, spans of oxen were trained to the yoke.
They even had a real buffalo hunt.
(Video is blocked in Brazil by a private Co.)
Cruze says that the worst job of all was to find a real patch of the real old West not messed up with skyscrapers and electric light poles. They found it on Otto Meek’s ranch in southwestern Utah, eighty- five miles from Milford.
While Meek was building the ox wagons, the actors went out to look for buffalo.
No one seems to know how they got there, but there are still 500 bison on Antelope Island in the middle of Salt Lake. J. Warren Kerrigan, Tully Marshall, Alan Kale, Earnest Terrence and other stars went out there and slept in an old cow shed built by Brigham Young- slept mid the memories and the fleas. The next day they hunted buffalo. Marshall has to leap onto the back of a buffalo and kill him with a knife; Kerrigan had to shoot one with a revolver and Torrence got his with a bow and arrow. They all ate buffalo meat until they were ready to bellow. They say it tastes like tough stringy mutton and that the public hasn’t missed anything in the disappearance of the lordly bison.
They had to build a real town over on “Meek’s ranch and tote in 1500 actors and extras to populate it. To keep them fed they had to bring in eight truckloads of provisions every day, eighty-five miles from the railroad. Also, not to have a strike of the flappers and the ingenues, they had to bring in the mail by special courier every day.
BRINGING IN THE REDSKINS
The toughest job, of course, was the four tribes of Indians. There were fourteen carloads.
And when they got them there in camp, the hardest time they had was to prevent a resumption of the old Indian wars. The Navajos whom history knows as decidedly peppy lads, decided to enliven the occasion by a massacre of their hereditary enemies the Arapahoe. As the Arapahos are one of the tribes that took part in the Custer massacre, they are not exactly gun shy.
Mr. Cruzo tried to argue with them. But by the light of the moon, the war dances went on. At one end of the camp the Arapahos were tom toming; at the other end, the Navajos were sharpening the instruments of slaughter. The squaws brightened the cheerful proceedings by the songs of supplication to the Great Spirit.
AVERTED A WAR
They locked all the actors in their tents and it looked pretty desperate when one had an inspiration. Word was sent to the Navajos that, if they persisted in massacring the Arapahoes, they would have to walk home to the reservation. 200 miles away. Well, that was different. They thought it over and gave the Arapahos another chance for life.
When the big Indian fight took place, some of the older Indians couldn’t quite get it into their heads that it was just a play. While they rode into battle, the old squaws stood trembling on the hills at the rear of the line, imploring the Great Spirit to bring their men safely through the ordeal.
COUNTING THE COUPS
When the shooting began, one of the actors “fell dead.” An old Navajo Immediately leaped off his horse and rushed forward to touch the body with his lance, thus counting the coup and earning the right to another eagle feather.
That looked pretty easy so they all began counting coups. Their descendants, examining the story of grandpap’s life as it will appear on the tanned robes in days to come, will think that their ancestors had a busy afternoon, mopping up the enemy.
Incidentally, examining the robe of an old Arapaho who was in the picture, they discovered that he was a survivor of the Custer massacre in 1876. His story has been taken down by stenographers for the archives of the War Department.
Up In the New England country, the training of a pair of oxen is a long, devious and patient process. On day Rancher Meek decided it was about time to train the 300 spans of oxen needed for the wagon train. He sent out his cow punchers, who roped the 600 steers; throw them down; fastened their necks into yokes, tied their tails together and let them go. For a while, the landscape was filled with cavorting bucking, tall flourishing and very indignant bovines. They came back tamed.
During the taking of the picture, Lola Wilson, the leading woman, came near to being burned up in a prairie fire.