The Last of the Plainsmen

The Last of the Plainsmen

by Zane Grey

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Overview

Buffalo Jones needs no introduction to American sportsmen, but to these of my readers who are unacquainted with him a few words may not be amiss.

He was born sixty-two years ago on the Illinois prairie, and he has devoted practically all of his life to the pursuit of wild animals. It has been a pursuit which owed its unflagging energy and indomitable purpose to a singular passion, almost an obsession, to capture alive, not to kill. He has caught and broken the will of every well-known wild beast native to western North America. Killing was repulsive to him. He even disliked the sight of a sporting rifle, though for years necessity compelled him to earn his livelihood by supplying the meat of buffalo to the caravans crossing the plains. At last, seeing that the extinction of the noble beasts was inevitable, he smashed his rifle over a wagon wheel and vowed to save the species. For ten years he labored, pursuing, capturing and taming buffalo, for which the West gave him fame, and the name Preserver of the American Bison.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786034673
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/05/2014
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 442,097
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Pearl Zane Grey was an American author and dentist best known for his popular adventure novels and stories associated with the Western genre in literature and the arts; he idealized the American frontier

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Arizona Desert.

One afternoon, far out on the sun-baked waste of sage, we made camp near a clump of withered pinyon trees. The cold desert wind came down upon us with the sudden darkness. Even the Mormons, who were finding the trail for us across the drifting sands, forgot to sing and pray at sundown. We huddled round the campfire, a tired and silent little group. When out of the lonely, melancholy night some wandering Navajos stole like shadows to our fire, we hailed their advent with delight. They were good-natured Indians, willing to barter a blanket or bracelet; and one of them, a tall, gaunt fellow, with the bearing of a chief, could speak a little English.

"How," said he, in a deep chest voice.

"Hello, Noddlecoddy," greeted Jim Emmett, the Mormon guide.

"Ugh!" answered the Indian.

"Big paleface--Buffalo Jones--big chief--buffalo man," introduced Emmett, indicating Jones.

"How." The Navajo spoke with dignity, and extended a friendly hand.

"Jones big white chief--rope buffalo--tie up tight," continued Emmett, making motions with his arm, as if he were whirling a lasso.

"No big--heap small buffalo," said the Indian, holding his hand level with his knee, and smiling broadly.

Jones, erect, rugged, brawny, stood in the full light of the campfire. He had a dark, bronzed, inscrutable face; a stern mouth and square jaw, keen eyes, half-closed from years of searching the wide plains; and deep furrows wrinkling his cheeks. A strange stillness enfolded his feature the tranquility earned from a long life of adventure.

He held up both muscular hands to the Navajo, and spread out his fingers.

"Rope buffalo--heap bigbuffalo--heap many--one sun."

The Indian straightened up, but kept his friendly smile.

"Me big chief," went on Jones, "me go far north--Land of Little Sticks--Naza! Naza! rope musk-ox; rope White Manitou of Great Slave Naza! Naza!"

"Naza!" replied the Navajo, pointing to the North Star; "no--no."

"Yes me big paleface--me come long way toward setting sun--go cross Big Water--go Buckskin--Siwash--chase cougar."

The cougar, or mountain lion, is a Navajo god and the Navajos hold him in as much fear and reverence as do the Great Slave Indians the musk-ox.

"No kill cougar," continued Jones, as the Indian's bold features hardened. "Run cougar horseback--run long way--dogs chase cougar long time--chase cougar up tree! Me big chief--me climb tree--climb high up--lasso cougar--rope cougar--tie cougar all tight."

The Navajo's solemn face relaxed

"White man heap fun. No."

"Yes," cried Jones, extending his great arms. "Me strong; me rope cougar--me tie cougar; ride off wigwam, keep cougar alive."

"No," replied the savage vehemently.

"Yes," protested Jones, nodding earnestly.

"No," answered the Navajo, louder, raising his dark head.

"Yes!" shouted Jones.

"BIG LIE!" the Indian thundered.

Jones joined good-naturedly in the laugh at his expense. The Indian had crudely voiced a skepticism I had heard more delicately hinted in New York, and singularly enough, which had strengthened on our way West, as we met ranchers, prospectors and cowboys. But those few men I had fortunately met, who really knew Jones, more than overbalanced the doubt and ridicule cast upon him. I recalled a scarred old veteran of the plains, who had talked to me in true Western bluntness:

"Say, young feller, I heerd yer couldn't git acrost the Canyon fer the deep snow on the north rim. Wal, ye're lucky. Now, yer hit the trail fer New York, an' keep goint! Don't ever tackle the desert, 'specially with them Mormons. They've got water on the brain, wusser 'n religion. It's two hundred an' fifty miles from Flagstaff to Jones range, an' only two drinks on the trail. I know this hyar Buffalo Jones. I knowed him way back in the seventies, when he was doin' them ropin' stunts thet made him famous as the preserver of the American bison. I know about that crazy trip of his'n to the Barren Lands, after musk-ox. An' I reckon I kin guess what he'll do over there in the Siwash. He'll rope cougars--sure he will--an' watch 'em jump. Jones would rope the devil, an' tie him down if the lasso didn't burn. Oh! he's hell on ropin' things. An' he's wusser 'n hell on men, an' hosses, an' dogs."

All that my well-meaning friend suggested made me, of course, only the more eager to go with Jones. Where I had once been interested in the old buffalo hunter, I was now fascinated. And now I was with him in the desert and seeing him as he was, a simple, quiet man, who fitted the mountains and the silences, and the long reaches of distance.

"It does seem hard to believe--all this about Jones," remarked Judd, one of Emmett's men.

"How could a man have the strength and the nerve? And isn't it cruel to keep wild animals in captivity? it against God's word?"

Quick as speech could flow, Jones quoted: "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, and give him dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, over all the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth'!"

Table of Contents

Contents

Prefatory Note, vii,
I. The Arizona Desert, 1,
II. The Range, 21,
III. The Last Herd, 40,
IV. The Trail, 56,
V. Oak Spring, 75,
VI. The White Mustang, 83,
VII. Snake Gulch, 94,
VIII. Naza! Naza! Naza!, 108,
IX. The Land of the Musk-Ox, 117,
X. Success and Failure, 130,
XI. On to the Siwash, 148,
XII. Old Tom, 165,
XIII. Singing Cliffs, 182,
XIV. All Heroes But One, 197,
XV. Jones on Cougars, 212,
XVI. Kitty, 221,
XVII. Conclusion, 242,

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The Last of the Plainsmen 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
MikeJFL More than 1 year ago
This is a great read, fast-moving and you will find yourself transported to the north rim of the Grand Canyon - I've been there and recall some of these sites. Join the narrator as he joins a seasoned old cowboy on one of his last adventures, hunting the wilds above the Grand Canyon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish the book, because the formatting was so terrible. I don't understand why BN decides to only give away the crappy versions of Public Domain ebooks, when you can get good quality versions of them for free at Project Gutenberg
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lettering was very garbled. they truly scanned it and made it unreadable.
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first Zane Gray I've read and I'm amazed at his ability to convey a love of the west - its scenery, animals and people. His depiction of animals does not really jibe with my sentiments. I'm a vegetarian and a dog lover and respecter of life in the wild. His Plainsman firmly believes in his god given right to dominion over animals. He trains his dogs by whipping them or shooting them with fine buckshot, he "civilizes" bears (so that campers will be safe in their territory) by tying them up and beating them with a stick, especially the females who will then civilize all their future cubs. He has no compunction about killing mother animals so he can "save" their offspring. But he shows a respect for and understanding of animals that could have saved the American Bison from eradication had enough others shared the view. The depiction of the eventual capture of a cougar made me cringe, that this proud, able wild animal was to be added to his menagerie, but he certainly works for his acquisitions. This book is not a one sided view of wild animals, but it's an eye opener for people wanting to know what the west was like before people turned it into one barren city after another.
DocSG More than 1 year ago
This link will take you to high-quality Nook and Softcover versions of this great book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1100185391?ean=2940015526288
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No powers whatsoever No swearing Keep peace Have fun
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I think that this book makes me feel like I am just chilling but I dont get why we have to pay for it? It is not the best book in the world.
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This book in epub format can be gotten free. Just search for it. I got mine from the Project Gutenberg website. It is public domain and you should not have to pay for it. The paperback might be a nice addition to your library though.
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