It's a Long Way to Buffalo

by poyznelf

Standard Disclaimers apply, I do not own them, I have no money, and this little story won't make me any either.

Summary: Vin's feelings about buffalo hunting Warnings: Sensitive stomachs need not go further, due to details about the mass destruction of the buffalo in 19th century America.

I remember it was one of the first questions Larabee ever asked me…

"Buffalo hunter?"

"Among other things. Not many left to hunt."

And I figured that would be enough of a clue that the man would realize that while I had tried that, it hadn't lasted long.

Truth be told, it lasted one day. One stinking, rotten, horrible day. A day I will regret for the rest of my life. A day where I feel I sold out my adopted family.

Buffalo were the main food source for the Kiowa and other Indians. We ate their flesh and innards, used their skins for clothes, shelter, and weapons. We used their bones for tools, dishes, and weapons. The buffalo were revered for the bounty they gave the People.

And one day I signed on to hunt them. Little did I know it was to wipe every one from existence.

When I lived with the People, I learned to hunt, butcher, and preserve their flesh. As a buffalo hunter I watched as each valuable and magical animal was left rotting in the sun.

The stench of their decaying bodies, drying blood, and waste, mixing with the stench of unwashed white killers and their bloody, sweaty horses. Buzzards circled in the air, waiting for the slaughter to move on to another herd. Waiting for their banquet. Dozens of them, kettling for dinner.

To my everlasting shame. I took part in this gruesome event for a few hours. Then as I got off my buffalo pony to start the harvest, I was pulled away, given a bottle of whiskey, and told to leave it. Then I watched as every one of my fellow killers rode off to camp, and the scavengers settled in for their meal. I mounted my tired pony, rode back to camp, packed my meager belongings, and left. I did not collect my blood money, and as I left I poured the whiskey behind me, refusing even that token payment for my part in this travesty.

After that, I did my share of tracking, scouting for the army, guiding wagon trains, and anything that would buy me a bottle and board. I got to see a lot, and got to do most everything a willing body can do. But eventually I sort of fell into bounty hunting, and figured it was a way to make up for that dark day. In one day I shot about twenty buffs. As a bounty hunter I brought in at least that many men. And while I may not have killed most of them, between me and the noose, I figure I have at least that many bodies on my soul.

So while I never really lied to Larabee, I wasn't exactly telling the truth. Yep, I was a buffalo hunter, but it isn't something I am proud of, and while most people pin that label on me by sight, I am more a hunter of redemption, seeking to get the blood of a score of innocent buffs washed from my hands and my soul.


Comments to: