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This volume presents 40 oil paintings by George Catlin (1796 1872), one of the first artists of European descent to travel up the Missouri river following the buffalo and the native Americans who hunted them. On the Oklahoma prairie, Catlin witnessed a landscape blackened by millions of bison, and recorded the traditions of its indigenous people. On one level Catlin's paintings offer an insight into 19th-century American ideas about the land and animals of the Continent. But he was also the first to champion the notion of a national park to protect the buffalo and native American people, that he portrayed so vividly in his paintings. Many of the artist's own journal entries accompany the featured paintings; together they present a complex character, whose vision still informs much of today's ecological debate about the future of America's Great Plains.