Born on this preserve, fear of men had been bred out of them. Inoculated against disease, they were prime. Fed hay when winter snows covered their browse, they followed a feed truck about like sheep. They had never known the arrow or the lance, the lightning or the fire which crazed their ancestors over cliffs and into swollen rivers, nor had they known, until yesterday, the sounds and implication of a gun.
This quote from Chapter 11, in which Swarthout describes in gory detail the buffalo killings, speaks to the sudden shock of the death of these creatures. However, to Swarthout this does not represent the greatest injustice done to them; rather, their lack of freedom and instinct signified their status as completely different creatures from their ancestors.