|Historians differ on which skirmishes and battles constitute the Red River Wars. Some historians (like me) believe the war
began in Young County in 1871. Others believe that it was a brief war, beginning in 1874 and ending in 1875. Whatever
the Minutiae, no historian disputes the basic fact: the conclusion of the series of fights between the Plains Indians and
Union and State forces forced the end of a way of life for one, and offered a new beginning for another culture.
|Two battles were fought at Adobe Walls in
Hutchinson County: the first one in 1864,
where Kit Carson was defeated by
Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Warriors.
The Second Battle of Adobe Walls was
fought in 1874, at a trading post near the
old Adobe Walls site. Buffalo hunters
defeated the Indians in a long shoot-out.
Early historical markers at the Adobe Walls
site, however, only commemorated the
Second Battle. The marker above was
erected in 1924 and heralds the buffalo
hunters. The Dixon family, whose ancestor
Billy Dixon fought at Adobe Walls - he
famously shot at long ranges with great
accuracy - would later own the land
surrounding the trading post.
A historical marker, erected in the 1960s,
commemorates the first battle. According to
reader Leslie Monden, a memorial to the
first battle, on private land, sits at the
original site of Adobe Walls.
|This marker at Adobe Walls was erected in
1987 to memorialize the Native Americans
who fought and died here. Reader Leslie
Monden clarified that a monument was
erected as early as 1941, sponsored by
members of the warring tribes.
|Behind the Native American marker at
Adobe Walls, someone placed ceremonial
offerings. Native Americans still visit this
place to reflect on their vanished way of life.
|Red River War Chief Lone Wolf of the Kiowas and
wife Etla of the Wichitas.
|Palo Duro Canyon, where the last battle took place.
|Buffalo Hunting on the Plains
"The hunter was hired by the piece: if robe hides were worth $3.00, he was given twenty-five
cents for every one that he killed... I have seen their bodies so thick after being skinned, that
they would look like logs where a hurricane had passed through a forest."
The Recollections of W.S. Glenn, Buffalo Hunter. Panhandle Plains Historical Review no. 22, pp 20-26.
|Warfare on the Plains
"The Horse Head Battle on the plains was the most outstanding battle that I was in. There were
over two-hundred Indians killed and only four whites. We really had it on them this time. We were
hidden in the rocks of the canyon and every time an Indian showed up he was shot by several
different men. We sure had a lot of fun there."
Daniel Boon Sinclair, "The Missouri Kid." From WPA life histories.
|The Last Stand of the Southern Plains Indians:
The Red River Wars, 1871-1875
|William Tecumseh Sherman
|Today's Dodge City is geared towards tourists. In the 1870s, this notorious town saw an immense buffalo
hide trade. During the spring thaw, women used perfumed handkerchiefs to mask the smell of decay that
permeated the area.
|Know Your History
The Red River Wars can be interpreted in a
variety of ways. Traditional historians viewed
the Comanches and Kiowas as "savages" who
deserved their come-uppance; modern
historians are more likely to view the Anglo
settlers as invaders. Both views are very
narrow-minded and do not take into account the
history of either side.