Mountains in background, buffalo roaming in field one in center foreground.
Over 60 million buffalo once roamed the American plains and one 19th century traveler noted that “the plains were black and appeared as in motion.” While buffalo provided the Native Americans with food, shelter, clothing and spiritual inspiration they were often used for target practice by Easterners traveling by railroad to the West Coast. The great herds of buffalo, reduced to only 300 animals by 1893, were brought back from the edge of extinction by continued conservation efforts over the last one hundred years. In this print celebrating the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the buffalo are reminiscent of furry lions. The majority of the artists who worked for Currier & Ives never visited the Plains and had to rely on written accounts of the appearance of buffalo to create their designs.