Buffalo Days
Stories from J. Wright Mooar
Texas History - Western History
5 x 7, 128 pp.
8 B&W Illustrations. Endnotes.
Pub Date: 04/11/2005
Texas Heritage Series
  cloth
Price:        $19.95

978-1-880510-95-7

Published by State House Press

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Buffalo Days

Stories from J. Wright Mooar

By James Winford Hunt
Edited by Robert F. Pace
Illustrations by Granville Bruce

"Because he has been criticized as a destroyer, a ruthless killer, and wastrel of a great game resource of a Nation, the buffalo hunter appeals to the bar of history for his vindication. . . . Within four years we opened up a vast empire to settlement, and put the Indians forever out of Texas."

J. Wright Mooar tells the story of the buffalo hunter, from the hunter's perspective, in this first-person account published more than seventy years ago in several installments in Holland's, The Magazine of the South. Mooar was more than eighty years old when he sat down with Methodist minister/educator James Winford Hunt and recounted his years as a buffalo hunter.

He describes how buffalo hunting became a huge business that thrived for less than a decade in the 1870s and makes the case that the buffalo hunter, more than anyone else, opened the way for white settlement by eradicating the Indians' source of food.

"Buffalo hunting was a business and not a sport. It required capital, management, and a lot of hard work. Magazine writers and others who claim that the killing of the buffalo was a national calamity and was accomplished by vandals simply expose their ignorance, and I resent such an unjust judgment upon us.

"If it had not been for the work of the buffalo hunters, the wild bison would still graze where Amarillo now is, and the red man would still reign supreme over the pampas of the Panhandle of Texas.

"Any one of the families killed and homes destroyed by the Indians would have been worth more to Texas and to civilization than all the millions of buffalo that ever roamed from the Pecos River on the south to the Platte River on the north."

"Here is an odyssey of hairbreadth escapes from death with wild Indians, wilder white men, and thundering herds of wild buffalo," writes J. W. Hunt, founding president of Abilene's McMurry College (now University), in his introduction.

Illustrated by Texas folklore artist Granville Bruce, the stories of J. Wright Mooar make for lively reading and continuing debate.

J. WRIGHT MOOAR was one of the best known buffalo hunters of the American frontier. He was more than eighty years old when he recounted his years as a buffalo hunter.

JAMES WINFORD HUNT was a well-respected West Texas Methodist preacher who founded McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, in 1923, and became the college's first president.

ROBERT F. PACE is chair of the Department of History at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, and co-author of Frontier Texas: History of a Borderland to 1880 (State House Press, 2004).

What Readers Are Saying:

". . . a rare view of the buffalo hunters as they saw themselves." --Journal of Arizona History

". . . definitely worth the read!" --DirtBrothers.org

"This is an interesting book and a good present, and I recommend it." --East Texas Historical Journal

"a little gem . . . a thrilling tale." --The Santa Fe New Mexican

"vividly descriptive." --Glenn M. Busset

". . . a must read for anyone interested in the West." --Review of Texas Books

"This book is a very good source for anybody interested in the frontier times of the Great Plains and Texas, and would be beneficial to undergraduates in a course on the frontier." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"This work is a valuable contribution to the libraries of those interested in the settling of the American West. It is surprising that it has not been presented in book form prior to this date." --The Tally Sheet, Journal of The English Westerners' Society

"Students of western Americana will find this slim volume provides enjoyable reading of an era never to be repeated." --Gun Week

"a fascinating read. . . . [Mooar's] experiences . . . provide keen and sometimes wincing insight to a different time and outlook." --Outdoor News Bulletin

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