Pablo-Allard Buffalo Herd

Pablo-Allard Buffalo Herd

In the early 1800s, great herds of bison containing upwards of 50 million animals wandered over North America’s prairies. By the 1880s, most had been slaughtered, and the species was in danger of extinction. In 1873, a Pend d’Oreille Indian by the name of Walking Coyote returned to the Flathead Valley from a hunting trip with a small group of young, orphaned bison calves. When he had approximately 13 buffalo, Walking Coyote sold them to Charles A. Allard and Michael Pablo, two ranchers. At that time, there were less than 125 buffalo in both the United States and Canada.

A Forsyth stereoview of the herd in the process of being relocated to Canada. (p4A item # D9804957)

Over time, the Allard and Pablo herd became one of the largest in existence. Allard’s heirs sold their portion of the herd to Charles Conrad of Kalispell, creating the foundation of the Bison Range herd that exists today. Pablo attempted to sell his share to the U.S. government, but after a lukewarm response, he offered them to the Canadian government. Fortunately, news of the sale angered the American public and led to the creation of the American Bison Society. The Society worked with the Smithsonian, Theodore Roosevelt, and Congress to set aside three parcels of land between 1907 and 1909 to create what is known today as the Bison Range to bring the bison back from the edge of extinction. Today, there are more than 140,000 bison in North America.

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions,

Additional research by Hollie Davis, p4A Senior Editor, June 25, 2010.

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