No people have stirred the interest and imagination of the civilized world as have the North American Indians of the Great Plains. For thousands of years before the first European explorers appeared on the grasslands between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, the Indians of this region hunted the big, shaggy buffalo. As American settlements moved westward during the nineteenth century, the Plains Indians came to know the trader and the trapper, the missionary, the overland trail emigrant, the gold seeker, the cattleman, and the prairie farmer. As the white man's civilization relentlessly closed in upon them, some of the most powerful tribes fought back to preserve their traditional hunting grounds. Indian chiefs, experienced only in intertribal warfare, matched wits and courage with experts in military science of the United States Army. The Indian Wars of the Plains provided some of the bitterest battles and some of the most dramatic action in the history of warfare. Here is the dramatic story of the Plains Indians.
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