After Buffalo Chips

“And what, we may well ask, did the later travelers use for fuel in the years after the buffalo had been driven from the Platte Valley, especially throughout the treeless two-hundred-mile stretch now ending [after the road entered the Black Hills west of Fort Laramie]? The question has been answered by the veteran stage man and freighter, Alexander Majors, of the famous firm, Majors, Russell & Waddell. he writes: ‘Strange to say the economy of nature was such, in this particular, that the large number of work-animals left at every camping-place fuel sufficient, after being dried by the sun, to supply the necessities of the next caravan or party that traveled along. In this way the fuel supply was inexhaustible while animals traveled and fed upon the grasses. This, however, did not apply to travel east of the Missouri, as the offal from the animals there soon became decomposed and was entirely worthless for fuel purposes.'”