By 1889, only 1,091 buffalos were left in North America. A combination of
factors caused this rapid depletion of the buffalo population: white hunters,
the construction of the railroad, the introduction of European livestock
diseases. This greatly impacted the lives of Plains Indians, who used the
buffalo for many products.
Credit: Buffalo population graph from National Geographic, November 1994
(reprinted in Holt, Rinehart, and Winston).