The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

Book Reviews

Fort Griffin, Shackelford County, represented a main supply
point in Texas for buffalo hunters. It was a wild town as its brief
life coincided with the span in which the buffalo hunters were
most active. Fort Griffin came to life in 1867, and it reached a
peak of prosperity ten years later with the winter of 1876-1877.
That was the time when an estimated fifteen hundred hunters
and skinners were engaged in the slaughter on the Texas plains.
In 1879 the hunting started to decline, and by 1883 Fort Griffin
was all but buried. By 188o most buffalo hunters were looking
for victims in localities other than Fort Griffin. Some turned
north to the Montana and Wyoming areas, but most found other
occupations. They had done their work thoroughly as the great
buffalo herds had been destroyed. Gard ends his book with a
chapter on the "Song and Legend" of the buffalo hunters and
one on the removal of buffalo bones from the prairies.
Throughout the book the writer maintains an impartial, ob-
jective point of view. He takes sides with no one as he skilfully
weaves the narrative. He does not attempt to state that the buf-
falo hunters were more important than the pioneer or the army
in the Indian removal, but the facts he relates make a strong
case for the hunters.
Some scholars might point out weaknesses in Gard's scattered
footnotes and his apparent inconsistency in the material which he
did footnote, but the lengthy bibliography will help compensate
for the deficiency. Other historians might believe that the writer
made a misinterpretation when he told about Texas' position in
the Treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek of 1867, but in defense Gard
can say that he took a definite stand and that he is consistent.
No one can doubt that Wayne Gard made a distinct contribution
to the history of Texas and the American west when he wrote
his book on buffalo hunters. JAMES M. DAY
Texas State Archives
Land of the High Sky. By John Howard Griffin. Midland (First
National Bank of Midland), 1959. Pp. xv+2 12. Index, bib-
liography. $4.75.
John Howard Griffin, a writer with a journalistic style, has
produced a splendidly readable history of the West Texas area


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 29, 2015.