Share This Article

Horse Mule Grizzly Indian Buffalo Wrecks of the Frontier West, by Mike Stamm, Medicine WolfPress, Kingman, Ariz., 1997, $15.95 paperback.

This entertaining, 152-page book is full of firsthand accounts of encounters between men and the wild animals(or unpredictable tame ones) they have known. In the chapter titled “Blowouts With Buffalo,” author MikeStamm quotes from Army explorer William F. Reynolds’ 1859 report of a man who encountered bison forthe first time: “Three large bulls charged down upon us at one point in the march, to the great alarm of one ofthe escort, who dropped his gun, and raising his hands, exclaimed, in all the accents of mortal terror,’Elephants! Elephants! My God! I did not know that there were elephants in this country!” Other chaptertitles include “Mountain Men and Their Livestock,” “Fracases With Grizzlies,” “Horse Injuns” and “Fun WithMules.” In the last, a soldier named John S. Griffin, who was with Stephen Kearny’s dragoons in 1846 inwhat is now Arizona, mentions his mule trouble: “…From some cause unknown to myself, my mule Manuelsaw fit to throw me over his head which he did in less time than any four foot animal has ever done before.”Stamm has obviously had fun with this book, but he says one reason he wrote it was to shed light “on a dimlylit corner of Western Americana: Livestock use….Historians have generally slighted the details of livestockuse and logistics.” But I reckon livestock use ain’t always this humorous and entertaining.