In 1867 the total number of buffaloes in the trans-Missouri region was conservatively estimated at fifteen million. By the end of the 1880s that figure had dwindled to a few hundred. The destruction of the great herds is the theme of this book. Mari Sandoz's canvas is vast, but it is charged with color and excitement—accounts of Indian ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, gambling and gunfights, military expeditions, famous frontier characters (Wild Bill Hickok, Lonesome Charlie Reynolds, Buffalo Bill, Sheridan, Custer, and Indian Chiefs Whistler, Yellow Wolf, Spotted Tail, and Sitting Bull).