The Indians who roamed the wild, rolling plains of North America fitted themselves to the earth and sky as a glove shapes itself to the hand. They were a people of grand, natural extremes, perfectly united with their domain.
Here, then, are the true Plainsmen, the most colorful and intriguing of all the native Americans, as they were before the White man built fences and railroads and towns--and reservations. In words, in 32 color illustrations, and in nearly 1,000 detailed drawings, Thomas E. Mails has created a haunting evocation of the life and times of an industrious, moral, sensitive and contented people.
The Mystic Warriors of the Plains describes in detail the life ways and life styles of the Plains Indians at the height of their culture, when they were still relatively untouched by the white man's progress. Here are their day to day activities, their social customs, their form of government, the training of their young, and the role of warrior in their highly mobile society. A large section of the book is devoted to their religion; their supernatural beliefs, the practice of medicine, their vision-seeking and their ceremonial practices. Another major section is devoted to their arts and crafts; another to the making of their clothing, shelters, tools and weapons.
"It is true," Mr. Mails writes, "that the Indians of the Plains...were not able to maintain the standards of hygiene common today...that some of their raiding and warfare was not necessary...that on occasion the treatment of captives was brutal...that not all of the Plains people were sophisticated or commendably moral. Yet, considering their isolation from other civilizations and their great limitation of means (they) achieved standards of life and qualities in crafts which deserve the highest possible praise. The last hundred and twenty-five years of their life...can indeed be characterized as a golden age, for is was a time of great happiness and productivity. They lived a good life..."