Book Review: Custer, Cody, and Grand Duke Alexis: Historical Archaeology of the Royal Buffalo Hunt


by Douglas D. Scott, Peter Bleed, & Stephen Damm

Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013. Pp. xxii, 206. Illus., maps., notes, biblio., index. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 0806143479

The Great Royal Buffalo Hunt

In January of 1872 some of the most iconic figures of the American West– Phil Sheridan, George Custer, Chief Spotted Tail, “Buffalo Bill” Cody – gathered in southwestern Nebraska to hunt buffalo with 21 year-old Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich (son of Tsar Alexander II), then on a tour of America, an event that has become part of the lore of the frontier. 

In this book, the authors, respectively a battlefield archaeologist and two anthropologists, cover the background to the Grand Dukes tour of America and the events of the “Great Royal Buffalo Hunt” using a mix of history, legend, archaeology, memoirs, and photo analysis, as well as unique access to Russian archives.   In this way they not only to tell the story of this unique moment in frontier history, clearing up a number of mythic elements that have become part of the traditional account, while at but they also throw fresh light on many aspects of frontier life. 

Custer, Cody, and Duke Alexis is an excellent example of interdisciplinary research which should be read by anyone who does history, and it  will certainly prove amusing and informative for anyone with an interest in the frontier.


Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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