The magnificent beast that once roamed from Alaska to the Carolinas “in numbers numberless” is splendidly memorialized in The Time of the Buffalo, which begins with its genesis in the Ice Age, traces its evolution and natural history, observes its patterns of behavior, and records its life-and-death relationship with three cultures of humans. Here are the ways in which the buffalo crucially affected (and was affected by) the hunters of the Pleistocene epoch and, in our era, the life of the Plains Indians and nineteenth-century frontiersmen. Here is the creature itself-seen as an integral part of a rich ecological and cultural tapestry.
Combining extensive field research on live herds with the study of historical records, Tom McHugh offers a rare closeup of the buffalo’s habits and life cycle, detailing such aspects as mating, calving, stampedes, play, and aggression. In equally fascinating detail he tells
how the Plains Indians used the buffalo for food, clothing, and shelter and endowed it with spirit; how the European settlers viewed it first as an object of awe and then as a source of plunder; and how, by nearly exterminating this single species, they destroyed all the Plains
cultures. An account of the movement to save the buffalo completes this informative and moving work-the 1972 winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award in the nonfiction category as well as being voted the year’s best western historical book by the National
Cowboy Hall of Fame.
“A superb study of the bison in folklore and fact that is also an account
of western expansion and a history of the Plains Indians.”-Saturday
Review. “Likely to become the definitive study.”Natural History. “Tom
McHugh surely knows more about the buffalo than any man
A zoologist and photographer, Tom McHugh has prepared more than
a hundred television documentaries. His articles on wildlife and
photographs have appeared in Natural History, Audubon, Sports Afield,
National Geographic, Time, Life, and the Encyclopedia Britannica.