In 1867, when Black Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments arrived in the southwest Texas frontier, only a few settlers and adventurers had dared to enter the area. Comanches and Kiowas ruled the Edwards Plateau, Llano Estacado, and High Plains. The Apaches controlled the Sierra Blanca, Davis Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, and south to the Rio Grande River and beyond.
The Indians, respecting the tenacity and courage displayed by the Black Soldiers, called them Buffalo Soldiers. The Buffalo was a sacred animal to the Indians, therefore, the Cavalrymen accepted the title with great pride. By 1885, eighteen years after the arrival of the Buffalo Soldiers, the southwest Texas frontier contained cattle and sheep ranches, farms and towns. Barbed wire and railroad tracks criss-crossed the countryside. The Indian warriors and their families were confined to reservations.
The contributions made by the Buffalo Soldiers to the taming of the southwest Texas frontier was profound. Today, the booming towns, fertile fields, and vast ranch lands throughout southwest Texas are a part of the Buffalo Soldiers legacy. Robert Summers captures the spirit of the Buffalo Soldiers by depicting a “Sole Rider” triumphantly rinding across the southwest Texas frontier.