Winter Buffalo Hunt Results in Amputation

Buffalo hunt during severe winter leaves one hunter with frozen fingers.

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In November 1872, when I was three months old, my parents came to Kansas in a covered wagon from Iowa. Father often left home on a buffalo hunt. The best hunting ground was where Pratt now stands.

Several men went during a very severe winter, and one man froze his fingers so bad his wife had to amputate the ends of two or three of them herself. There was no doctor in miles.

They would skin the buffalo and cut out the choice meat from the hind quarters to bring home. They took the hides to Hutchinson and sold them for $1. Father would bring home enough supplies to last and then he would be out on the range again.

My mother was 27 years old and had three children. I've heard her tell how my brother and sister would sit on a box (we had no chairs) with their feet in the oven. They would burn the toes of their shoes and their heels would still be cold! She said they could look out the cracks of the house on a moonlight night and see coyotes sitting in the snow.

Mrs. Z. Smith
Wakita, Oklahoma


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER's WEEKLY asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.