Residents of the White River Reservation celebrate when a white buffalo is born on nearby Dennis Carey’s ranch. The buffalo’s appearance could also be a warning because soon after Carey is murdered. Things become more ominous when Carey’s death reveals a mystery. Why have cowboys who worked for him disappeared?
Protagonists Father O’Malley and Vicky Holden are relatable characters. Each has past struggles and strives to make the best of the present. They show life on a Native American reservation in Wyoming: the land’s beauty, insight into customs such as the meaning of the white buffalo, and challenges. Coel communicates emotions and images in a vivid and visual way. For instance, Vicky describes a memory becoming clearer as like “a pebble in a creek starting to reflect sunlight” (55). The mystery offers a couple of plausible solutions but the reader isn’t sure which is correct until the end. Night of the White Buffalo offers relatable characters, a look into Native American (specifically Arapahoe) culture, and an interesting mystery with a touch of spirituality.
Want other books like Night of the White Buffalo?
Lt. Joe Leaphorn faces spirituality and murder when witchcraft seems responsible for a ‘monster slayer’s’ death in The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman.
A medical examiner who returns to a Tewa Pueblo reservation must find out if murder is being caused by a curse or worldly motives in The Pumpkin Seed Massacre by Susan Slater.
Interested in learning more about the white buffalo and its place in custom? Coel was inspired by Seeing the White Buffalo by Richard B. Pickering.