The nineteenth-century Kiowa followed a pattern of seasonal nomadism which was, at least in part, determined by the need for pasturage for their horse herds. From fall to early summer, the tribe dispersed; extended family groups formed the nuclei of bands, led by influential men or at times by brothers. The bands were flexible; small families and isolated individuals, whether related or not, might join the camp of a successful chief. During the summer months, the bands camped together for a period of several weeks; during this time, the Sun Dance ceremony was held. The site was always on a sizable stream and was chosen for its access to grass, firewood, and game—especially bison. At an appointed time, the subtribes arrived in a prescribed order and took designated places in the camp circle. In the 1880s there were five Kiowa subtribes, with the Kiowa Apache occupying a sixth place in the circle. Until bison became scarce, the Sun Dance was the prelude to a communal hunt. Plans for the coming year were made during the summer encampment; band movements must have been coordinated, since messengers were able to travel quickly and directly between the scattered winter camps; a circuit to announce the time and place of the Sun Dance could be completed in about three days.