Much of the friction between settlers on the Texas frontier, the US Army, and the Comanches and Kiowas stemmed from the Indians attempting to strike up an old lifestyle: The raid into Mexico. Not only did this violate international treaties, but it also put dangerous young men on the loose, passing by remote and undefended homesteads along their route. The traditional Comanche and Kiowa pathways to manhood and prestige including prowess in battle and the ability to obtain plunder violated American law. The bewildering prospect of no longer being able to be a “man” in the traditional cultural sense would not die easily, and a new generation of Comanches and Kiowa tried their best to emulate the deeds of daring told of by their fathers and grandfathers.
These images, taken from a Kiowa battle tipi, record the story of various warriors slaying Mexican soldados in battle in the early 1870s. While much of American history focuses on the frontier violence between whites and Indians north of the Rio Grande, it pales in comparison to the amount of mayhem spread by Indians south of the international border.