The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 17 Nov. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, March 22). The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 17, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed November 17, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed November 17, 2018,

The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 19 : The Closing In | Summary



The first paragraph tells of two brothers who were captured by the Utes. The chief told one brother he would set them free if he could carry the other "on his back and walk upon a row of greased buffalo heads without falling." He succeeded at this, and "the Ute chief was true to his word." There are two historical paragraphs that tell of the surrender of the Kiowa to the U.S. military: "Nearly 800 horses were killed outright; two thousand more were sold, stolen, given away." The second paragraph states that in the summer of 1879, buffalo had "become so scarce" the Kiowa people killed their ponies to survive. This is the "date of the disappearance of the buffalo from the Kiowa country." The personal recollection speaks of the beauty of the New Mexico landscape, specifically near Jemez Pueblo. The author remembers riding a horse in that country as a boy. On the following page, the line "a row of greased buffalo skulls" is repeated next to an illustration of four buffalo skulls.


In the previous segment, it was said horses enabled a man to "procure in a single day enough food to supply his family for a year." Horses have mythical importance to the Kiowas—recall the storm shaped like a horse with a fish tail—and with good reason. Survival is possible because of horses. With this information in mind, the reader might grasp some degree of the loss the Kiowa people suffered after the U.S. cavalry's slaughter and theft of their horses.

The historical paragraph also mentions the buffalo had become so scarce that the Kiowas themselves had to kill their own ponies. The buffalo were critical to the Kiowa people not only for food but for shelter, as tipis were made of buffalo hide. In the late 19th century, the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo to make way for railroads created starvation conditions for the people who had hunted them for their survival.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Way to Rainy Mountain? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!