HE HELPED KILL OFF THE BUFFALO
By Donna Penley
**Author’s note: This poem will probably not be popular with old time followers of the “western elite”, i.e. Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody. However, my goal has always been to tell the truth, so here goes --
He was made a hero by the press, the like of Ned Buntline;
Dime novels helped promote his fame back in Western times,
But to tell the truth, he was no hero because he killed many buffalo.
Helped to seal the Indian’s fate, taking them from the land that they loved so.
He bragged he’d killed his first red man at eleven years of age;
Told that story to his wife, then later, on the stage.
Turned the Indian leaders into sideshow freaks
Tomahawks in hand, they scared the dudes -- war paint on their cheeks..
He bragged of taking rich folks money, an’ riding on a train,
And they shot buffalo from the windows. They killed with no restraint.
And left the buffalo carcasses on the ground to rot and smell,
Caring not what they had done, then bragging stories they did tell.
Without the food and shelter the buffalo did provide,
The tribes had to take the white man’s deals, just glad to be alive.
The white men took the territory, with no conscience for their fellow man;
Then encroached on the reservations, taking more and more Indian land.
So, if you admire the legends of showman Buffalo Bill --
Stop and think of what he stood for, and the buffalo he killed.
And if the press makes another hero you read of in their books;
Go back and study history, and take a second look!!!
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Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.
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