Of all the great animals of North America, none symbolizes the American West more than the buffalo. As a source of food and clothing for both Native Americans and settlers, the buffalo supplied our growing nation with the raw materials to successfully become the country we are today. Sadly, they were hunted almost to extinction as human settlements grew and expanded further westward in the nineteenth century. Strenuous human effort to protect and re-introduce the wild buffalo over the last hundred years have proven successful, but the sight of a thundering herd—the breathtaking sight that greeted so many early Americans—remains rare indeed. The great herds that once roamed the plains have dwindled, but their place in the history and mythology of our nation is eternal.