An American Buffalo Hunter and the Surrender of Louis Riel
ISBN: 978-0-88977-458-2
Year: 2017
Pages: 308
Binding: Paperback

"A really interesting read." Keith Carlson, author of The Power of Place, The Problem of Time

Born the son of a Wyandot Chief in Kansas in 1849, Irvin Mudeater was one of the last great frontiersmen of the American West.

Hired to run wagon trains to Santa Fe, Mudeater fought off "Indian attacks," was caught up in the Civil War, drove a stagecoach, and lived as a plainsman on the lawless frontier. Most of all, he was a buffalo hunter--killing 126 head in just one day.

In 1882, Mudeater moved to Canada, adopted the name Robert Armstrong, and portrayed himself as white. Shortly after the fall of Batoche, he played the lead role in bringing the fugitive Metis leader, Louis Riel, into custody.

John D. Pihach attempts to resolve the opposing stories of Riel's surrender/capture, scrutinizes the sensational incidents in Armstrong/Mudeater's life, and, with the inclusion of Mudeater's unpublished memoir, allows this consummate storyteller to speak in his own voice.



A Note on Terminology



U.S. Plains, circa 1870s

Southern and Central Saskatchewan and Alberta, circa 1880s


Part One: The Life of Robert Armstrong

Chapter One: Before Robert Armstrong

Chapter Two: Youth to 1885

Chapter Three: 1885

Chapter Four: 1885 to 1940


Part Two: Robert Armstrong’s Memoir

Preface to Armstrong’s Memoir

Robert Armstrong’s Memoir



Appendix 1: Riel’s Apprehension: Many Versions

Appendix 2: Riel’s Apprehension: Accounts by the Three Captors





John D. Pihach

John D. Pihach is the author of Ukrainian Genealogy and lives in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
Pihach's biography both fleshes out the details of Armstrong's previously unpublished memoir--included in the second half of the book--and challenges the accuracy of a few of Armstrong's claims while upholding his assertion of having played the central role in Riel's apprehension... Armstrong's memoir, appearing in print for the first time, is the highlight. Related in Armstrong's folksy vernacular, his account is both a depiction of the rollicking realities of life in the West and a disturbing reminder of the decimation of the buffalo herds and the subjugation of native tribes that formed the backdrop of such adventures. - Library Journal
Library Journal ,
The Creative Industries Transition Fund is made possible through funding that was provided to the Saskatchewan Arts Board by the Government of Saskatchewan through the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.