Buffalo Hair

Race, war, and history collide in this play, set in 1874, the year of the Red River war on the southern plains, when a group of five Black troopers of the Tenth Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, are sent to suppress an uprising of the Southern Cheyenne.  During the night, on a dusty, sagebrush covered island in the middle of the Red River, the soldiers capture a young warrior called Buffalo Hair, a black man who has chosen to live among the Cheyenne ever since they saved his life. The soldiers find their captive to be a foe from without and within, being so much alike and different from themselves. To Buffalo Hair, his captors are slaves to the white man and enemies of his true people, the Cheyenne. In the morning, a hundred Cheyenne warriors will come to the river to take Buffalo Hair back. Now the soldiers must choose whether to stay loyal to the army and fight, or let Buffalo Hair go in order to save themselves.

Buffalo Hair was developed at the 1992 Play-Labs sponsored by The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Published by Dramatists Play Service

Cast & Crew

first presented at Penumbra Theatre on October 13, 1993

Written by Carlyle Brown
Directed by Lou Bellamy


Lester Purry as Cooter
William Wilkins as Full Dress
Adolphus Ward as Tufts
Ron Schultz as Lavender
James Craven as Tulsa
Joseph G. Brown Thunder as He-Who-Loves-Horses
Omari Shakir aka Gavin Lawrence as Buffalo Hair Ric Oquita as Kiowa Killer


Set design by Paul Brown
Lighting design by Mike Wangen
Costume design by Robin Murray
Sound design by Michael W. Bormes
Prop design by Dean Coke
Musical Composition by Mixashawn
Dramaturgy by Barbara Rose
Stage manager: Scott Peters