Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Medicine Man Isatai At War

In 1843 a trading post was built in what is now Hutchinson County, Texas. Over the years the trading post was abandoned, and it fell into disrepair. Thirty years later, about a mile away from the original post, another trading post was established. It comprised of a store, saloon, blacksmith shop and another building. Whites called it Adobe Walls.

Chief Quanah Parker considered its existence an act of war. His medicine man, Isatai, also known as “Little Wolf”, convinced Parker that the Great Spirit had told him any Indian who attacked Adobe Walls painted with a special yellow paint would be invincible to bullets.
Because of their log construction and sod roofs, the buildings were virtually impregnable. In addition, the buildings contained 29 buffalo hunters, including Bat Masterson, all with 50 caliber “buffalo guns.”
On June 27, 1874, 700 Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapaho warriors attacked Adobe Walls head on. With the buffalo guns taking their toll, and his horse shot from beneath him, Quanah Parker realized the yellow paint wasn’t working.
Four buffalo hunters were killed. Three were caught outside the buildings, and the fourth died of an accidental self-inflicted wound. It’s not known exactly how many Indians were killed, because most of the dead and wounded were carried away.
Medicine man, Isatai, tried his best to come up with excuses for the failure. He discovered a brave had killed a skunk prior to the battle, and said that the skunk’s killing had caused the Great Spirit’s spell to be broken. But the braves would have none of it. Later, when asked what Isatai meant in English, the Indians said it was “Coyote Droppings.”

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