"Teddy" Roosevelt, in his book "The Wilderness Hunter" describes an old plainsman that he encountered. This occured during the late 1880's. I found it interesting.
"Where the ground was level and the snow not too deep I loped, and before noon I reached the sheltered coulie where, with long poles and bark, the hunter had built his tepee - wigwam, as eastern woodsmen would have called it. It stood in a loose grove of elms and box-alders; from the branches of the nearest trees hung saddles of frozen venison. The smoke rising from the funnel-shaped top of the tepee showed that there was more fire than usual within; it is easy to keep a good tepee warm, though it is so smoky that no one therein can stand up-right. As I drew rein the skin door was pushed aside, and the hard old face and dried, battered body of the hunter appeared. He greeted me with a surly nod, and a brief request to "light and hev somethin' to eat" - the invariable proffer of hospitality on the plains. He wore a greasy buckskin shirt or tunic, and an odd cap of badger skin, from beneath which strayed his tangled hair; age, rheumatism, and the many accidents and incredible fatique, hardship, and exposure of his past life had crippled him, yet he still possessed great power of endurance, and in his seamed weather-scarred face his eyes burned fierce and piercing as a hawk's. Ever since early manhood he had wandered over the plains, hunting and trapping; he had waged savage private war against half the Indian tribes of the north; and he had wedded wives in each of the tribes of the other half. A few years before this time the great buffalo herds had vanished, and the once swarming beaver had shared the same fate; the innumerable horses and horned stock of the cattlemen, and the daring rough riders of the ranches, had supplanted alike the game and red and white wanderers who had followed it with such fierce rivalry. When the change took place the old fellow with failing bodily powers, found his life-work over. He had little taste for the career of the desperado, horse-thief, highwayman, and man-killer, which not a few of the old buffalo hunters adopted when their legitimate occupation was gone; he scorned still more the life of vicious and idle semi-criminality led by others of his former companions who were of weaker mould. Yet he could not do regular work. His existence had been one of excitement, adventure, and restless roaming, when it was not passed in lazy ease; his times of toil and peril varied by fits of brutal revelry. He had no kin, no ties of any kind. He would accept no help, for his wants were very few, and he was utterly self-reliant. He got meat, clothing, and bedding from the antelope and deer he killed; the spare hides and venison he bartered for what little else he needed. So he built him his tepee in one of the most secluded parts of the Bad Lands, where he led the life of a solitary hunter, awaiting in grim loneliness the death which he knew to be near at hand."
Know what you believe in. Fight for your beliefs. Never compromise away your rights.
Many thank's for this Rancocas! TR had a good way with words that presented a fair picture in my minds eye. I now must go out and buy this book! This ole plainsman's "retirement plan" sure sounds better than what may await us here in this age of nursing homes!
Wow great read, ya could see it, smell it, maybe even feel a bit a discomfort from the rumatiz
I'm late on this post but I really enjoyed that. I've had that book as well as Hunting the Grisly and The Happy Hunting-Grounds on my book shelf for years and have never been in the mood to read them. That passage changed my mood! I didn't realize he was such a good writer. Thanks for sharing that.
Experience is the best teacher, hunger good sauce.
Osborne Russell Journal of a Trapper
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