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A Tail-Hold on a Buffalo is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.MHS.155

A copy of Trails Plowed Under inscribed and signed by Frederic Renner under this image, “A great CMR pen drawing,” will accompany the lot.

Duncan McDonald was the self-educated son of a Scottish fur trader and a Nez Perce woman. A short story by Charles Russell tells about a buffalo hunt Duncan McDonald had as a youngster. The Blackfeet didn’t have many guns back then, but there was one old-timer who had a Hudson Bay Flintlock. Duncan “tells this old man if he’ll lend him his gun, he’ll get meat. The old man don’t say nothin’, but taking the gun from its skin cover, hands it to Dunc. Dunc wants bullets and the powder horn but the old man signs that the gun is loaded, and one ball is enough for any good hunter.” Dunc rides off and soon comes across five buffalo cows laying in the broken hills. He shoots one of the cows and the others run off. “When Dunc walks up she’s laying on her belly with her feet under her. She’s small but fat. When Dunc puts his foot agin her to push her over, she get up and is red eyed. She sure shows war. The only hold Dunc can see is her tail and he ain’t slow takin’ it.” He does fine until she starts kickin’, so he lets go and makes a run for it. “There’s only one hold,” says Dunc, “shorter than a tail-hold on a buffalo—that of a bear.”

LITERATURE:
Charles M. Russell, More Rawhides (Montana Newspaper Association, 1925), page 30, line engraving
Charles M. Russell, “Dunc McDonald” Trails Plowed Under (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, Inc., 1927), page 16, illustrated
Harold McCracken, The Charles M. Russell Book (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1957), page 181, illustrated [as There’s Only one Hold Shorter]
Larry Len Peterson, Charles M. Russell Legacy (Helena, Montana: Falcon Publishing, Inc., 1999), page 339, illustrated
Raphael James Cristy, Charles M. Russell The Storyteller’s Art (Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2004), page 92, illustrated

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