Native Americans had always hunted the buffalo. They worshiped it and used all of it for food and other resources. The homesteaders started moving out west and killed millions of buffalo. They used it for pelts, coats, shoes, etc. The buffalo population plummeted because the homesteaders were killing all of them. Indians depended on the buffalo and didn't understand what the white people were doing. After the railroad tracks were built buffalo were being killed not only for food but also because they were safety hazards. An estimated 31,000,000 buffalo were killed between 1868 and 1881.