Stories of a Western Town

Author: Octave Thanet

5 Apaches, Comanches, and Other Plains Indians

THE APACHES and the bareback Indians of the Plains were extraordinary men of the outdoors, plainsmen, woodsmen, trailers, hunters, endurers. They knew some phases of nature with an intimacy that few civilized naturalists ever attain to. It is unfortunate that most of the literature about them is from their enemies. Yet an enemy often teaches a man more than his friends and makes him work harder.

See "Indian Culture," "Texas Rangers."

BOURKE, JOHN G. , London, 1892. Reprinted by Long’s College Book Co., Columbus, Ohio. A truly great book, on both Apaches and Arizona frontier. Bourke had amplitude, and he knew.

BUCKELEW, F. M. , Bandera, Texas, 1925. Homely and realistic. OP.

CATLIN, GEORGE. , 1841. Despite many strictures, Catlin’s two volumes remain standard. I am pleased to find Frank Roe, in , standing up for him. In , New York, 1948, Loyd Haberly fails in evaluating evidence but brings out the man’s career and character.

CLUM, WOODWORTH. , Boston, 1936. Worthy autobiography of a noble understander of the Apache people. OP.

COMFORT, WILL LEVINGTON. , Dutton, New York, 1931. Noble; vivid; semifiction.

DAVIS, BRITTON. , Yale University Press, New Haven, 1929. Davis helped run Geronimo down.

DESHIELDS, JAMES T. , St. Louis, 1886; reprinted 1934. Good narrative of noted woman captive. OP.

DOBIE, J. FRANK. , Little, Brown, Boston, 1952. The opening chapters of this book distil a great deal of research by scholars on Plains Indian acquisition of horses, riding, and raiding.

GRINNELL, GEORGE BIRD. , New Haven, 1923. This two-volume work supersedes , 1915. It is noble, ample, among the most select books on Plains Indians. , 1892, shows Grinnell’s skill as storyteller at its best. , 1893, is hardly an equal but it reveals the high values of life held by representatives of the original plainsmen. , 1895, is a general survey. All OP. Grinnell’s knowledge and power as a writer on Indians and animals has not been sufficiently recognized. He combined in a rare manner scholarship, plainsmanship, and the worldliness of publishing.

{illust. caption = George Catlin, in (1841)}

HALEY, J. EVETTS. , San Angelo Standard-Times, San Angelo, Texas, 1952. Mainly a history of military activities against Comanches and other tribes, laced with homilies on the free enterprise virtues of the conquerors.

LEE, NELSON. , 1859.

LEHMAN, HERMAN. , Bandera, Texas, 1927. Best captive narrative of the Southwest.

LOCKWOOD, FRANK C. , Macmillan, New York, 1938. Factual history.

LONG LANCE, CHIEF BUFFALO CHILD. , New York, 1928. OP. Long Lance was a Blackfoot only by adoption, but his imagination incorporated him into tribal life more powerfully than blood could have. He is said to have been a North Carolina mixture of Negro and Croatan Indian; he was a magnificent specimen of manhood with swart Indian complexion. He fought in the Canadian army during World War I and thus became acquainted with the Blackfeet. No matter what the facts of his life, he wrote a vivid and moving autobiography of a Blackfoot Indian in whom the spirit of the tribe and the natural life of the Plains during buffalo days were incorporated. In 1932 in the California home of Anita Baldwin, daughter of the spectacular "Lucky" Baldwin, he absented himself from this harsh world by a pistol shot.

LOWIE, ROBERT H. , New York, 1935. This scholar and anthropologist lived with the Crow Indians to obtain intimate knowledge and then wrote this authoritative book. OP.

MCALLISTER, J. GILBERT. "Kiowa-Apache Tales," in , edited by Mody C. Boatright (Texas Folklore Society Publication XXII), Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 1949. Wise in exposition; true-to-humanity and delightful in narrative.

MCGILLICUDDY, JULIA B. , Stanford University Press, California, 1941. Dr. Valentine T. McGillicuddy, Scotch in stubbornness, honesty, efficiency, and individualism, was U.S. Indian agent to the Sioux and knew them to the bottom. In the end he was defeated by the army mind and the bloodsuckers known as the "Indian Ring." The elements of nobility that distinguish the man distinguish his wife’s biography of him.

MCLAUGHLIN, JAMES. My , 1910, 1926. OP. McLaughlin was U.S. Indian agent and inspector for half a century. Despite priggishness, he had genuine sympathy for the Indians; he knew the Sioux, Nez Perces, and Cheyennes intimately, and few books on Indian plainsmen reveal so much as his.

MARRIOTT, ALICE. , University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1945. Narratives of the Kiowas—a complement to James Mooney’s , in Seventeenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, 1893. Alice Marriott, author of other books on Indians, combines ethnological science with the art of writing.

MATHEWS, JOHN JOSEPH. , University of Oklahoma Press, 1932. This book of essays on the character of and certain noble characters among the Great Osages, including their upright agent Leban J. Miles, has profound spiritual qualities.

NEIHARDT, JOHN G. , New York, 1932. OP. Black Elk was a holy man of the Ogalala Sioux. The story of his life as he told it to understanding John G. Neihardt is more of mysteries and spiritual matters than of mundane affairs.

RICHARDSON, R. N. , Glendale, California, 1933. Factual history.

RISTER, CARL C. , University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1940.

RUXTON, GEORGE F. , London, 1847. Vivid on Comanche raids. See Ruxton in "Surge of Life in the West."

SCHULTZ, J. W. , 1907. OP. In this autobiographical narrative of the life of a white man with a Blackfoot woman, facts have probably been arranged, incidents added. Whatever his method, the author achieved a remarkable human document. It is true not only to Indian life in general but in particular to the life of a "squaw man" and his loved and loving mate. Among other authentic books by Schultz is , Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1912.

SMITH, C. L. and J. D. , Bandera, Texas, 1927. A kind of classic in homeliness. OP.

VESTAL, STANLEY. , Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1932. Excellent biography. OP.

WALLACE, ERNEST, and HOEBEL, E. ADAMSON. , University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1952. A wide-compassing and interesting book on a powerful and interesting people.

WELLMAN, PAUL I. (1934), (1935); both reprinted in , 1947. All OP. Graphic history, mostly in narrative, of the struggle of Plains and Apache Indians to hold their homelands against the whites.

WILBARGER, J. W. , 1889; reprinted by Steck, Austin, 1936. Its stirring narratives made this a household book among Texans of the late nineteenth century.


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Chicago: Octave Thanet, "5 Apaches, Comanches, and Other Plains Indians," Stories of a Western Town, ed. Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934 and trans. Gordon, Thomas in Stories of a Western Town (New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1916), Original Sources, accessed August 19, 2019,

MLA: Thanet, Octave. "5 Apaches, Comanches, and Other Plains Indians." Stories of a Western Town, edited by Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934, and translated by Gordon, Thomas, in Stories of a Western Town, Vol. 22, New York, A. L. Burt Company, 1916, Original Sources. 19 Aug. 2019.

Harvard: Thanet, O, '5 Apaches, Comanches, and Other Plains Indians' in Stories of a Western Town, ed. and trans. . cited in 1916, Stories of a Western Town, A. L. Burt Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 19 August 2019, from