Sunday, June 29, 2014

Buffalo Crossing the Upper Missouri

Buffalo Crossing the Upper Missouri, George Catlin, 1832
 
Smithsonian American Art Museum
(Link)

“Near the mouth of White River, we met the most immense herd crossing the Missouri River---and from an imprudence got our boat into imminent danger amongst them, from which we were highly delighted to make our escape. It was in the midst of the ‘running season,’ and we had heard the ‘roaring’ (as it is called) of the herd, when we were several miles from them. When we came in sight, we were actually terrified at the immense numbers that were streaming down the green hills on one side of the river, and galloping up and over the bluffs on the other. The river was filled, and in parts blackened, with their heads and horns, as they were swimming about . . . furiously hooking and climbing on to each other. I rose in my canoe, and by my gestures and hallooing, kept them from coming in contact with us, until we were out of their reach.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

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