Counting Coups and Fighting for Survival

  • Colin G. Calloway
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


Warfare had existed on the Great Plains since prehistoric times,1 but by 1800 the area had become a vast theater of intertribal conflict. Warriors fought for prestige or revenge and waged ritualized battles in which counting coup carried more honor than inflicting casualties. White observers, especially Army officers accustomed to winning victories by inflicting massive losses, often were bewildered and bemused by Plains Indian warfare, dismissing it as petty skirmishing.


Great Plain Army Officer Buffalo Meat Spiritual Power Sacred Object 
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Copyright information

© BEDFORD BOOKS of St. Martin’s Press 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin G. Calloway
    • 1
  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeUSA

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