Bringing the Buffalo to Canada 

The roundup: in photographs 

Luxton's photographs from the roundup in 1907, along with a document written by him in 1937, further illustrate the difficult task of rounding up Pablo’s buffalo and shipping them to Canada.


Charles Allard Jr. and his cowboys, Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/13, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Michel Pablo and his cowboys, Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/12, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


"Dinner at the round up wagon," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/21, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/52, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

"Pablo would take charge and heeding [sic] out with the forty or fifty cow boys direct each rider to his psoition [sic], this always took the shape of a horse shoe, the riders being the horse shoe with the buffalo between the heels of the shoe. Careful riding, no noise, not even smoking was allowed, gardually [sic] the riders would draw closer to the scattered buffalo untill [sic] they were well bunched, then the slow treak [sic] forward in the direction the herd must be driver to the shipping corrals at Ravilli [sic] on the Great Northern Ry. [sic]."

Luxton Family fonds, Norman Luxton, LUX/I/D4/3/7/4, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/49, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/54, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

"As we went along we learned, we found if we had more cows and fewer bulls we would some times get them to Ravilli [sic], a bunch of cows alone was almost a sure bet. It was the cows that we really wanted, a few bulls would do. So it took pretty well all that summer of 1909 [sic] to corrall [sic] enough buffal [sic] to load thirteen cars."

Luxton Family fonds, Norman Luxton, LUX/I/D4/3/7/5, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 


"Fifty head of buffalo after a forty mile run, getting close to the corrals," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/14, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

"Some times these drives went along with out any trouble of animals trying to break away from the bunch, no running ahead of the herd and just about the time we would really think we would get them into a strange country to them and off theyr regular  grazing ground suddenly the whole herd Haulted [sic] as if come [sic] one had given the caommand [sic], they would face about to the direction they had come, stand if at ease, hardly an animal would be moving in perhaps the hundred or more animals we had been following. All the cow boys standing their horses with out a move, no smoking, no talking like it would have been if the buffalo had of been cattle. Then from a jump start the buffal [sic] would charge right into the horse shoe shaped riders, never sweaverings [sic] for any horse or horses, driveing [sic] straight ahead as if pocesses [sic] with the devil riding them, they were in their own country and apparently knew where they would end, even the big Pend D’Oreille river they took in their mad stampede, then it would be days again before they were thrown back across the river in dribbs [sic] and drabs of perhaps half a dozen at a time to be once more gathered for a drive to the dhipping [sic] point."

Luxton Family fonds, Norman Luxton, LUX/I/D4/4/3/7/4, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 


"Buffalo breaking away from the round up and taking to deep water," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/7, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


"Cooling off after a thirty mile run," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/5, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

"I rode most of the time with the Cow boys and got to know the country pretty well, one favorite break the buffalo always made was to swim the Pend D’Oreille, I had taken a lot of photographs already but wanted some of the buffalo swimming the rive [sic], so one day when a drive was on I stationed mysel [sic] opposite on the river where the buffalo always entered it. I was lucky for after a plesant [sic] afternoon among the cactus and rattle snakes, down the banks of the opposite side of the rive [sic] came the buffalo, I soon was in a very large tree which drooped over the rive [sic] with an excellent view to take pictures. I got some dozen good photos and I noticed how very high out of the water the animals rode. A man sitting on their back would never get his seat wet. All the herd had passed, one fime [sic] specimen of a bull was still standing up to his knees in the water, but thinking I could keep the trees between he and myself I started down to get my horse and away, but nothing doing every time I moved, he would raise his tail which was a sure sigh of a chrage [sic] to follow, The devil keep me thre [sic] for well over an hour and it was not untill [sic] two punchers came along and how they did rag me. Thye [sic] drove the bull out of the river, roped him from both head and hind heels and in a jiffy my lovely model was turned into a steer." 

Norman Luxton, Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D4/3/7/6, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 


"A picturesque scene, a bull refusing to leave the water," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/8, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 

One day we managed to get some seventy five head of buffalo into a natural Corral by wing fencing out on to the range. The natural Corral was surrounded on three sides by sixty foot perpendicular cut banks, to make i it still better a creek of water followed along the bottom of the banks. by throwing a heavy snake fence of three foot timbers across the front of this grotto, we had an air tight enclosure for any kind of range animals. So we thought; and we all went to bed happy as could be for we had been travelling in bad luck the last few weeks. I was up next morning before day light, I could not see across the corrall [sic], neither could I hear the usual sounds of low grunt talking a herd of buffal [sic] generally gives out when things are strange to him. Close I got to the corralls [sic] and harder I looked to see, climbing the seven foot high long fence where I had a better view, I had come to the truth of the matter, there was not a Buffalo in sight. It did not take me long to alarm the camp and in a few minutes daybreak showed the yard empty. The fence was first esamined [sic] while others were following around the bottoms of the cut bank. some on top of the cut banks finally found tracks of the buffal [sic] leading out on to the range. Now what do you suppose really happened. The buffalo by working all night had cut a switch back zigzag path to the top of the banks from the creek level.

Yes they had hooked and pawed out a path that took turns and twists right to the grass roots above them. They moved yards and yards of earth and gravel. Not one or two busy “ants” had done the excavateing [sic], but every where along the face of the banks where there was a possible chance of geting [sic] to the top with a path one could see where perhaps every animal in the herd had tried his luck, a dozen or more engineers had been very successful to excape [sic] the entire herd.”

Norman Luxton, Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D4/3/7/7-8, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies 


"Shipping corrals built especially for the buffalo. The fences are made of 2 x 10 inch plants. Often these were broken to pieces by enraged bulls," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/16, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


"Buffalo at rest early in the morning in the corrals at Ravalli," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/15, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/35, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/37, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/24, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/30, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

"The loading of these animals that weighed from a thousand pounds or more for the cows and a ton of more for the bulls was a job that would enjoy any rancher, Here was where we had the buffalo buffalo fades to a frazzel [sic], but patienc [sic] was the pass the word always. The corrals were so constructed that from the big yard were [sic] the main herd stood, a small corrall [sic]  led from it and from this smaller yard a shute led into the car, These stock cars had been especially built for the job by the Railway Compnay [sic], reinforced from every angle with a water trough running down one side of the car made of iron and holding several barrels of water. …. Of course the joke was to get the buffalo into the car, for that matter it was a joke to get a buffalo any where to the place wanted. In this case the buffalo was driven into the small yard, then prodded and pushed up the shute [sic], half way up his head went into a loop of heavy rope a knock in the rope preventing it from chokeing [sic] the buffalo to death."

Luxton Family fonds, Norman Luxton, LUX/I/D4/3/7/5, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


"Train load of 250 buffalo en route from Montana U.S.A. to Alberta, Canada. A distance of almost 1000 miles," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/18, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies


"Lieut. Governor Bulyea of Alberta and his wife, photographing buffalo at Lamont corrals, while unloading shipment from Montana," Luxton Family fonds, LUX/I/D2/4/20