Life & Death

on the Western Great Plains:

Part One of Two

Photo credits given below plus yummy recipe.

"Life and death events on the western Great Plains likely strengthened the gene pool of every species within the vast area. Food, water, and shelter were essential to survival from the freezing winds or drying gales that swept over the prairie. Skeleton bones of animal and human

attest to those dangers and predators. Survival was a daily pursuit. It’s easily observed in even a cursory history look at the magnificent American bison (buffalo), the endurance of the Plains Native-Americans, or the eventual ‘Go West’ pioneers who put a stake in the ground there. May these spirits of the western Great Plains never be forgotten!” cs

Campfire Story:

The history of the Plains Indians (Native-Americans) is a fabulous study, as there are many amazing stories of life, survival, and death. Hopefully, some of our reality will be less clouded and distorted with this Campfire Story. History of early Plains Indians reveals they did not have horses when encountered by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1541. He observed settlements in the area now known as the Texas Panhandle. A Coronado sword, attesting to his exploration, was

discovered in what is now the Oklahoma Panhandle, between the towns of Beaver and Forgan.

Soon, the Plains Indians were able with horses to expand their hunting, migration, and survival distances.

There were many magnificent Plains Indian Tribes, and individuals over the years have collected arrowheads and other rock tools made by one of them. The photo© to the left and others in this Campfire Story reveal part of the collection of Dr. Paul Reed of Guymon, Oklahoma.

One of the southwestern areas where the Plains Indians might have settled and later migrated through, years later became known as the Vantine-Landess Ranch, established in the 1880s. It is located in Cimarron County in western Oklahoma. The Plains Indians, prior to having horses, would have had settlements in such areas, and also hunted the American buffalo when they were available. The bison provided many life essentials. Bison (buffalo) herds migrated through the area, and buffalo hunters, in the 1800s, even built a stone wall in that area. Some of the wall still stands today, 2023, as a testament of those Life & Death events.

Years later on May 1981, Guymon Pioneer Day, best friends, Bill Landess and Paul Reed, were hunting arrowheads on this Vantine-Landess Ranch. They jokingly expressed, “It would be cool to find (the remains) someone who made the arrowheads.” They were in for a shock!

“Thirty minutes later,” Reed exclaimed, “we discovered human remains that obviously had been there a long time! A radius bone even was sticking out from the side of an embankment north of the Frisco Creek before it merges with the Coldwater. These bones were later dated by archaeologists of Oklahoma University as 750 to 1,000 years old. The photo below is of the petrified skull from the human remains.”

Reed added, “My friend, Bill, and I went back out years later to the ranch area where we found the petrified human skull to see what else we might find. We observed remnants of the old stone fence, built by buffalo hunters, still standing.”

“The OU archaeologists reported the human remains was a ‘female and probably lived into her 40s, which would have

made her old back then (around the year between 980 to 1230). They used a number of determinates including, ‘round shape of the pelvis typical of females and size. Her teeth were ground down to the pulp due to eating food like Maize ground with sand stone. Features on the petrified skull as well as age revealed the woman to be from one of the Plains Indian Tribes of the time.’”

Reed added, “These human remains from our glorious western Great Plains history were honorably reburied in an anonymous location."

The western Great Plains is where the buffalo, Indian, cowboy, and pioneer spirit seems ever present. Each story contributes to its lore.

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 I struggled to write a worthy close to this magnificent story. I wanted to learn more about such places and people like this woman from the ashes of our history. My mind was filled with questions of what thoughts went through each person's mind? Of those of long ago, their lives and dreams? Did the woman have children? Who were her parents? Grandparents? Are any direct descendents alive today? How did she die? On and on. And, finally, the age of the petrified skull--750 to 1,000 years old--filled my mind. The age precipitated sort of a comparison to the some of the proficy written in Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53, 1,000 and 700 years, prior to Christ and being crucified. ... Maybe the fabulous discovery of the woman's remains also was to put our concept of time into proper perspective.

Thanks for stopping by my campfire, and sharing a little history.


I’ll keep the campfire burning,




PS: Yes, you may share this true story from our history with someone else. They also can receive future Campfire Stories by sending an email to Clifton at or joining Clifton's Campfire on his author website:

 Photos: Thanks to all who offered use of their magnificint creations. Couldn't use all. Photos: (top down): #1 Wide-open western plains, courtesy use by A. Winfrey of Guymon, OK. #2 Bison plains vintage, courtesy use by Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK. #3 - #4 Cattle bones on the Plains and young bison skull, courtesy use by Kay Campbell of Bartlesville, OK. #5 Horse herd on the Plains, courtesy of Mark Roberts (MJR Photography) at  #6-#9 Collection of Native American arrowheads, stone wall built by bison hunters in the mid 1800s, a 750 to 1,000 year old Native American skull, and blazing campfire with Black Mesa backgroung, all courtesy use by P. Reed of Guymon, OK.


 Part Two of the 'Life & Death' Campfire Story: will be out soon. The focus is the importance of water to survival of all life on the western Great Plains.

God bless! ... cs

© Clifton Savoy, Ph.D.

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 Mexicon Spaghetti

From: Kathlyn Carter Litteer

My late, twin sister, Marilyn, found this recipe in the ‘70s when she needed to make her dollars stretch. Her family, and mine, really loved it.

Ingrediants: taco seasoning, a can of Rotel, a small can of tomato sauce, 1 lb lean ground beef, and spaghetti noodles.    

Brown 1 lb. of lean ground beef, drain grease and crumble/chop up beef.

Bake spaghetti noodles according to package directions.

On the meat, sprinkle 1 pkg. taco seasoning, add 1 small can tomato sauce and 1 jar of Rotel. 

(Optional add-in ingredients: black olives, green chilis, or whatever you like in your spaghetti)

Add the drained & cooked noodles to the meat mixture, stir well and heat thoroughly. Serve hot. Cheese can be added now, too, if desired.

Re-heats great, just add a little water to the serving before heating. Enjoy!!!