click picture to
enlarge |Artist: Gordon
Sponsor: Stuart Foundation
Dedication: April 21, 2004
Size: 30" x 17"
Type: Gouache on Canvas
Location: Outside Senate
Over sixty million buffalo once
roamed the Great Plains, hunted only by natural prey and
the Native Americans who depended on the buffalo for their
livelihoods. When General Philip Sheridan took command
of the U.S. troops in the West in 1867, he swore to bring
peace to the plains by killing off the buffalo.
Herds were so large that trains
often had to stop and wait hours for the buffalo to pass
and railroads began to hire commercial hunters to clear
the herds. Hundreds of hunters arrived easily by train
and began indiscriminately killing buffalo for their hides.
Using a “still hunt,” the leader of the herd
was targeted. Confused, the remainder of the herd would
eventually become still and easily slaughtered.
After one of these expeditions,
the plains for miles around were covered with mutilated buffalo
carcasses. The skins were stretched, baled and shipped like
cordwood. By the end of 1875, the great southern herd was
The thinning of the buffalo herds
cleared the prairies for the grazing of cattle and the farming
of crops, still the basis of agriculture in Oklahoma today.
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or firstname.lastname@example.org for
further copyright information.