This Week in Texas History

With no more buffalo left to slaughter, the last of the High Plains hunters, as shaggy as the beasts they once stalked, departed the Panhandle on Jul. 23, 1879. The wild rush of gold-seekers to California in 1849 split in half the multitude of North American bison. The coming of the transcontinental railroad a couple of decades later made permanent the division of the mighty millions into the northern and southern herds. While the Plains Indians eliminated 500,000 buffaloes annually, the net loss was negligible. Adding the modest toll taken by the occasional white hunter, who killed for sport or to sell the meat back east as tangy beef, the species was in no danger of extinction. 


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