Buffalo Chips

“[F]or the most part along the Platte a camp fire developed from the ubiquitous dried droppings of the buffalo, sometimes called dung or manure, but more commonly called ‘buffalo chips.’

The reaction of easterners, particularly the ladies, was predictable. At first they found the chips nauseous, but they rapidly learned to accept, the welcome, this aromatic fuel of the Plains. The stuff would not burn when wet, of course, but when perfectly dry, W. McBride found it resembled rotten wood, making a clear, hot fire. Since it burned rapidly, it took two or three bushels of chips to heat a meal, and Cramer found that the chief objection to its use, therefore, was ‘the vast amount of ashes which it deposits.’ Often an unusual concentration of chips would dictate the selection of a camp; more often, a camper had to cover a lot of teritory, as Lavinia Porter says, to get a supply.”