Scotty & Sarah Philip

James “Scotty” Philip was a Scottish-born American rancher and South Dakota State Senator, remembered as the “Man who saved the Buffalo” due to his role in helping save the American Bison from extinction.  He and his wife Sarah began ranching in Stanley County, Dakota Territory, in 1881.

While he was building his cattle herd, Scotty Philip met Pete Dupree, whose son Fred had rescued five bison calves from an 1881 buffalo hunt along the Grand River. After Dupree’s death in 1899, Philip purchased Dupree’s herd – which now numbered 74 head – and began working to preserve the species from extinction.

Scotty Philip died suddenly on July 23, 1911. By that time the herd had grown to approximately a thousand head. Bison from Philip’s herd help restock herds throughout the United States, including the herd at Custer State Park.