No one who saw the great herds of buffalo drifting down to the river to drink ever forgot the sight. Where ten years before a Montanan could ride 210 miles and be surrounded by buffalo for the entire journey, when Russell arrived in 1880 he was just in time to see the remnants of the awesome multitudes of the recent past still roaming at large. By 1885 the herds had vanished leaving tribes like the Blackfeet desolate at their loss. “Suddenly almost without warning they found themselves stripped of nearly every necessity of life.” No wonder Russell made a buffalo skull his personal insignia for the buffalo’s fate was that of the whole West that he knew so briefly and loved so well.