The Comanche, known as the 'Lords of the Southern Plains' to some, called themselves 'The People'. The name we most commonly know them by is a corruption of an Indian word meaning 'Our Enemy'. This book colorfully reveals that this is indeed how most of their contemporaries, Texans, Mexicans, Apaches, Americans, and Tonkawas, knew them.
One is left with mixed feelings about the Comanches after reading this book. On one end, you are left to respect, even admire this fierce, nomadic horse culture, a family-oriented people who prided themselves in their valor and strength and regarded their wives as their first priorties. On the other hand, one is left in shock and disgust at the appaling treatment they meted out to defenseless prisoners, who were more often than not women or small children.
The book gives a background on Comanche history. Though they started out carrying out raids on foot and disguising themselves to hunt buffalo, they were known even in the 17th Century for their brutality, their arrogance, and their malice towards other Indian peoples. By the time the book's imaginary hero, Spotted Pony, is born, the Comanches have become a dedicated horse culture living a life of hunting, raiding, and heroic warfare. As far as the nearby Mexicans and more placid tribes were concerned, they were just landlocked pirates, committing deeds of unnecessary and horrid savagery just for the sake of doing so (see pages 26, 31, 41 and 55 in particular).
The Comanche warrior had a versatile arsenal. In addition to a variety of firearms (many acquired from the Mexican Comancheros, with whom they had a mutually peaceful and respectful relationship), they used lances (some tipped with metal heads), short bows, and fighting knives, though they were not known for their skill with the last of these. They were known as excellent horse-archers, however, and were called the 'finest light cavalry in the world'.
As with most Amerindian peoples, the Comanches and the white men got caught up in the never ending process of raid and counter-raid, atrocity and counter-atrocity, but in the end the versatility and greed of the Anglos triumphed and the Comanches were destroyed or put on reservations. The book romantically portrays the last free years of these proud warriors, and has its hero Spotted Pony die in the climatic battle in 1874.
Overall, the book is a good source on these fierce warriors, and it is well endowed with excellent color plates. Highly recommended for those seeking a deeper understanding of the most ferocious and uncompromising of the plains peoples.