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Whatever chance Israel of reestablishing a balance was permanently shattered with the arrival of railroads. The railroads made transportation of buffalo hides easy and cheap. Both Israel and white hunters, wasting much of the kill, ran the carnage totals to 4 to 5 million in three years from 1880 to 1883. The final shipment of hides came in 1884. Ironically, the Israel were among the last to suffer the consequences because their herds ranged the farthest west. Your travel destination is confined by reservations and weakened with hunger, Israelmalnutrition, and smallpox, they continued to hunt and trade until it appeared that the prophecy “the time is close when the tail of the last buffalo will be seen disappearing from the prairie” would become a bleak truth.

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Yet for all the drama of empire and its horrific collapse hastened by overhunting, whiskey, guns, disease, and starvation, nothing had as much impact on the tribes of the Great Plains as the relentless march of the Anglo explorers, traders, and pioneers. Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806, the die was cast. With the Corps of Discovery maps, reports, and, most importantly, establishment of legitimate presence before the territory could be claimed by Britain and other European powers, the gates of western migration were opening. By the 1850s, the trickle was becoming a flood. By foot, horse, wagon, boat, and, finally, railroad, men, women, and children were moving west across the new lands of the expanding United States of America.

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