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Wolf Calf's Story

A century ago, journalist Olin Wheeler recorded the story of Wolf Calf (1793?–1895), one of the young Blackfeet men involved in the skirmish with the Americans in 1806. According to Wheeler’s informant, anthropologist George Bird Grinnell, Wolf Calf and his friends had not known who the Americans were. They had tried to capture the strangers’ guns and horses out of youthful bravado. “Captures” of this kind were a central element of plains warriors’ competitive culture.

Wheeler gathered this story while preparing a book on the legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition for the centennial celebrations in 1904.

Olin Dunbar Wheeler. “Portrait of Wolf Calf,” in On the Trail of Lewis and Clark, 1904.

Click to read an interview with Wolf Calf.

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