Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:1 (August 1993). Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


In this compact book, the outgrowth, or reprint, of his dissertation, Douglas Bamforth focuses his attention on cultural-ecological relationships between Native American hunters and the physical environments of the Great Plains. Specifically, Bamforth is concerned with forging a link between the social organization of historic and prehistoric hunters and their resource base, particularly the bison. It is a thoroughly professional study, drawing from a wide array of interdisciplinary evidence. The reader is systematically led from initial theoretical considerations, where a predictive theory is postulated, through an exegesis of grassland and ungulate ecology, to the application of the theory to regional case studies, namely the historic hunters of the western Great Plains and the paleoindian hunters of the southern High Plains. To admire the rigor of the intellectual argument and the impressive reach of Bamforth's knowledge does not, however, necessarily mean that the conclusions are fully persuasive.