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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

there was not a day that I lost sight of them" (p. I3). Yet, the buffalo
encountered by Coronado were only a small segment of the "in numbers-
numberless" (p. 17) that for centuries from the Saskatchewan in Canada
to South Texas "had been coexisting with the Plains Indian in a rare
balance between nature and man" (p. xxii).
Several books, most notably by Martin S. Garretson, Francis Haines, and
Frank G. Roe, have dealt with the buffalo, but none so thoroughly or scien-
tifically as this study. Tom McHugh, a zoologist, naturalist, and winner of
several Academy awards for his wildlife photography, for three years stu-
died surviving herds of buffalo in Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole
Wildlife Park, and Wind Cave National Park. In the resulting book, which
is too comprehensive for a synopsis here, McHugh traces the evolution of
the buffalo and its modern relatives. He then turns anthropologist and de-
votes six chapters to the crucial role of the buffalo in the life of the Plains
Indians. Here he emphasizes methods of hunting, utilization, and the asso-
ciated ceremonies and folklore, but does not cover a number of related
topics, including the technique of tanning hides and constructing tipis.
The section about the nature of the buffalo, both physical and behavioral,
leaves very few unanswered questions. It is all there--size, color, vision,
hearing, foraging habits, gaits, disease, courting, mating, birth, play, social
status, aggression, and death. The last two chapters are historical summaries
of the great slaughter by the whites in the 187os and I88os and of the
efforts in the twentieth century to preserve the buffalo from total extinction.
About thirty thousand head are currently living under government or pri-
vate protection.
The Time of the Buffalo is a significant contribution to the literature of
the American West. The scholarly reader will deplore the absence of docu-
mentation and may wonder why several pertinent studies are not included
in the bibliography; the site of Juan de Ofiate's settlement in 1598 was
north of Santa Fe rather than at El Paso; and the number of wives of Plains
Indian men was normally less than stated. The few flaws are minor. On the
positive side, the subject is fascinating, the style is direct and simple, the
editing is superb, and the format is attractive.
Texas Tech University ERNEST WALLACE
The American Territorial System. Edited by John Porter Bloom. (Athens,
Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1973. Pp. ix+248. Notes, biographical
sketches. $ o.)
On November 3-4, 1969, the National Archives sponsored a conference


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 6, 2015.