book cover of The Buffalo Commons

The Buffalo Commons

(1998)
A novel by

 
 
The Barnes & Noble Review
A fascinating exploration of one of the most controversial topics of recent years, Richard S. Wheeler's "The Buffalo Commons" is an effective novel that endeavors to present all sides of an environmentalist debate now raging over the modern West. Exceedingly readable and highly informative to anyone unfamiliar with the issues, the tale is a sprawling, intense drama of the new West that evokes the spirit of the pioneers and the majesty of a lost way of life.


Cameron Nichols is one of the last land barons remaining on the dry High Plains of the Montana/Wyoming border. For generations his family has lived off their vast ranching business, farming wheat and raising cattle, but now multimillionaire Laslo Horoney would like to restock the wild buffalo herds and restore the plains to their presettlement condition-before overgrazing and farming in the harsh region harmed the land. Horoney isn't a right-wing environmentalist and shows that he has great respect for these settlers of the plains; he believes he's making Nichols and his neighbors a fair offer to buy land that's becoming more and more hostile. Facing dwindling population and more difficult work, many view Horoney's offer as a godsend. Most of Nichols's employees and neighbors have already left, forcing his family into greater isolation.


Cameron's wife, Sandra, already under pressure from battling alcoholism, fears what might happen to her and their few remaining friends in such solitude, and she urges Cameron to reconsider Horoney's offer. Further pressures build as Cameron's son, a graduate student who ralliesagainst his family and all other agribusiness, and his father, a controlling elder who refuses to budge under any circumstance, attempt to force Cameron's hand one way or the other. The biggest problem is the apparent population explosion of wild wolves in the region, which has come about either naturally or by import through some third party's attempt to run the Nicholses off the land they've lived on for decades.


Wheeler handles the controversial subject matter of "The Buffalo Commons" in an intelligent, passionate manner, enlivening all his characters and pointing no finger of blame at any of them for feeling strongly, at times even fanatically, about the issues they face. It is rare that an author can so perfectly balance social conflicts, the will and desires of each conflicting side, making even radical efforts seem understandable in light of the situations at hand.


Clearly, the author knows the material and has thoroughly researched the subject further without allowing any bias orpersonal antagonism to enter into the story itself. Although in a brief author's note Wheeler states that a reader will see his prejudices in the novel, he doesn't give his neutral narrative eye enough credit. The passions, anguish, and determination of all sides involved are brought to a powerful fruition with a language as earthy and beautiful as the land it describes.-Tom Piccirilli


Genre: Western

Used availability for Richard S Wheeler's The Buffalo Commons

Hardback Editions

April 1999 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Buffalo Commons
Author(s): Richard S Wheeler
ISBN: 0-7862-1890-8 / 978-0-7862-1890-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


March 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Buffalo Commons
Author(s): Richard S Wheeler
ISBN: 0-312-86262-8 / 978-0-312-86262-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Forge
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

April 2006 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Buffalo Commons
Author(s): Richard Wheeler
ISBN: 0-595-39021-8 / 978-0-595-39021-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Backinprint.com
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


April 2000 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: The Buffalo Commons
Author(s): Richard S Wheeler
ISBN: 0-8125-4516-8 / 978-0-8125-4516-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tor Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

August 2010 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Buffalo Commons
Author(s): Richard S Wheeler
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU