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184 9.

The London newspapers of October, 1848, contained the mournful tidings of the death, at St. Louis on the Mississippi,
and at the early age of twenty-eight, of Lieutenant George
Frederick Ruxton, formerly of her Majesty’s 89th regiment, the author of the following sketches. Many men, even at the most enterprising periods of our
history, have been made the subjects of elaborate biography,
with far less title to the honor than this lamented young officer; Time was not granted him to embody in., a permanent shape a
tithe of his personal experiences and strange adventures in three quarters of the globe. Considering, indeed, the amount
of physical labor he underwent, and the extent of the fields over which his wanderings spread, it is almost surprising he found
leisure to write so much. At the early age of seventeen, Mr.
Ruxton quitted Sandhurst, to learn the practical part of a
soldier’s profession in the civil wars of Spain. He obtained a commission in a squadron of lancers then attached to the
division of General Diego Leon, and was actively engaged in
several of the most important combats of the campaign. Forhis marked gallantry on these occasions, he received from QueenIsabella II., the cross of the first class of the order of St. Fernando, an honor which has seldom been awarded to one so young. On his return from Spain he found himself gazetted to a commision in the 89th regiment ; and it was while servingwith that distinguished corps in Canada that he first becameacquainted with the stirring scenes of Indian life, which he hassince so graphically portrayed. His eager and enthusiasticspirit soon became wearied with the monotony of the barrack-room ; and yielding to that impulse which in him was irresis- tibly developed, he resigned his commission, and directed his steps toward the stupendous wilds, tenanted only by the redIndian, or by the solitary American trapper.
Those familiar with Mr. Ruxton’s writings can not fail to have remarked the singular delight with which he dwells uponthe recollections of this portion of his career, and the longingwhich he carried with him, to the hour of his death, for areturn to those scenes of primitive freedom. ” Although liable to an accusation of barbarism,” he writes, ” I must confess thatthe very happiest moments of my life have been spent in~thewilderness of the Far West ; and I never recall, but with pleas-ure, the remembrance of my solitary camp in the Bayou Salade,with no friend near me more faithful than my rifle, and no companions more sociable than my good horse and mules, or theattendant cayeute which nightly serenaded us. With a plentifulsupply of dry pine-logs on the fire, and its cheerful blaze streaming far up into the sky, ilhmiinating the valley far and near, andexhibiting the animals, with well-filled bellies, standing content-
edly at rest over their picket-fire, I would sit cross-legged, enjoying the genial warmth, and, pipe in mouth, watch the blue smoke as it curled upward, building castles in its vapory
wreaths, and in the fantastic shapes it assumed, peopling the
solitude with figures of those far away. Scarcely, however, did
T ever wish to change such hours of freedom for all the luxuries of civilized life ; and, unnatural and extraordinary as it may
appear, yet such is the fascination of the life of the mountain
hunter, that I believe not one instance could be adduced of even
the most polished and civilized of men, who had once tasted the sweets of its attendant liberty, and freedom from every worldly
care, not regretting the moment when he exchanged it for the monotonous life of the settlements, nor sighing and sighing again
once more to partake of its pleasures and allurements.” On his return to Europe from the Far West, Mr. Ruxton,
animated with a spirit as enterprising and fearless as that of Raleigh, planned a scheme for the exploration of Central Africa,
which was thus characterized by the president of the Royal
Geographical Society, in his anniversary address for 1845 :—
*’ To my great surprise, I recently conversed with an ardent and
accomplished youth. Lieutenant Ruxton, late of the 89th regiment, who had formed the daring project of traversing Africa in the parallel of the southern tropic, and has actually started for this purpose. Preparing himself by previous excursions on foot, in North Africa and Algeria, he sailed from Liverpool early in December last, in the Royalist, for Ichaboe. From that spot he was to repair to Walvish Bay, where we have already mercantile establishments. The intrepid traveler had received from
the agents of these establishments such favorable accounts of the
nations toward the interior, as also of the nature of the chmate,that he has the most sanguine hopes of being able to penetrate to the central region, if not of traversing it to the Portuguese colo- nies of Mozambique. If this be accomplished, then indeed will Lieutenant Ruxton have acquired for himself a permanent nameamong British travelers, by making us acquainted with thenature of the axis of the great continent of which we possess thesouthern extremity.”
In pursuance of this hazardous scheme, Ruxton, with a single
companion, landed on the coast of Africa, a little to the southof Ichaboe, and commenced his journey of exploration. But it seemed as if both nature and man had combined to baffle theexecution of his design. The course of their travel lay along adesert of moving sand, where no water was to be found, andlittle herbage, save a coarse tufted grass, and twigs of the resin- ous myrrh. – The immediate place of their destination wasAngra Peguena, on the coast, described as a frequented station, but which in reality was deserted. One ship only was in offing
when the travelers arrived, and, to their inexpressible mortification, they discovered that she was outward bound. No trace was visible of the river or streams laid down in the maps as
falling into the sea at this point, and no resource was left to the travelers save that of retracing their steps—a labor for whichtheir strength was hardly adequate. But for the opportuneassistance of a body of natives, who encountered them at thevery moment when they were sinking from fatigue and thirst, Buxton and his companion would have been added to the longcatalogue of those whose lives have been sacrificed in the attemptto explore the interior of that fatal country.
THE LATE GEORGE FREDERICK RUXTON. vii The jealousy of the traders, and of the missionaries settled on the African coast, who constantly withheld or perverted that information which was absolutely necessary for the successful prosecution of the journey, induced Ruxton to abandon the attempt for the present. He made, however, several interesting excursions toward the interior, and more , especially in the country of the
Finding his own resources inadequate for the accomplishment
of his favorite project, Mr. Ruxton, on his return to England,
made application for Government assistance. But though this demand was not altogether refused, it having been referred to the Council of the Royal Geographical Society, and favorably
reported upon by that body, so many delays interposed that Ruxton, in disgust, resolved to withdraw from the scheme, and
to abandon that field of African research which he had already
contemplated from its borders. He next bent his steps to Mexico ; and, fortunately, has presented to the world his reminiscences of that country, in one of the most fascinating
volumes which, of late years, has issued from the press. It would, however, appear that the African scheme, the darlini/ project of his life, had again recurred to him at a later period

for, in the course of the present spring, before setting out on that journey which was destined to be his last, the following expressions occur in one of his letters :

” My movements are uncertain, for I am trying to get
up a yacht voyage to Borneo and the Indian Archipelago

have volunteered to Government to explore Central Africa ; and the Aborigenes Protection Society wish me to go out to
Canada to organize the Indian tribes; while, for my ownpart and inclination, I wish to go to all parts of the world at once.” As regards the volume to which this notice serves as Preface, the editor does not hesitate to express a very high opinion of its merits. Written by a man untrained to literature, and whoselife, from boyhood upward, was passed in the field and on the
road, in military adventure and travel, its style is yet often as remarkable for graphic terseness and vigor, as its substance
every where is for great novelty and originality. The narrative
of ” Life in the Far West” was first offered for insertion in Blackwood’s Magazine, in the spring of 1848, when the greater
portion of the manuscript was sent, and the remainder shortly followed. During its publication in that periodical, the wildness
of the adventures related excited suspicions in certain quarters as
to their actual truth and fidehty. It may interest the reader to know that the scenes described are pictures from life, the results of the author’s personal experience. The following are extracts from letters addressed by him, in the course of last summer, to the conductors of the Magazine above named : —
“I have brought out a few more softening traits in the characters of the mountaineers—^but not at the sacrifice of truth
for some of them have their good points ; which, as they are
rarely allowed to rise to the surface, must be laid hold of at once
before they sink again. Killbuck—^that * old hos,’ par exemple, was really pretty much of a gentleman, as was La Bonte. Bill Williams, another ‘ hard case,’ and Rube Herring, were ‘ some’
” The scene where La Bonte joins the Chase family is so far true, that he did make a sudden appearance ; but, in reahty, a day before the Indian attack. The Chases (and I wish I had
not given the proper name *) did start for the Platte alone, and were stampedoed upon the waters of the Platte.
” The Mexican fandango is true to the letter. It does seem
difficult to understand how they contrived to keep their knives
out of the hump-ribs of the mountaineers ; but how can you
account for the fact, that, the other day, 4000 Mexicans, with
1 3 pieces of artillery, behind strong intrenchments and two lines of parapets, were routed by 900 raw Missourians ; 300 killed, as many more wounded, all their artillery captured, as well as
several hundred prisoners ; and that not one American was killed in the affair ? This is ijositive fact.
” 1 myself, with three trappers, cleared a fandango at Taos,
armed only with bowie-knives—some score Mexicans, at least, being in the room.
” With regard to the incidents of Indian attacks, starvation,
cannibalism, &c., I have invented not one out of my own head. They are all matters of history in the mountains ; but I have, no doubt, jumbled the drainatis ‘personcB one with another, and
may have committed anachronisms in the order of their occur- rence.”
* In accordance with this suggestion, the name was changed to Brand. The
mountaineers, it seems, are more sensitive to type than to tomahawks ; and poor Ruxton, who always contemplated another expedition among them, would sometimes jestingly speculate upon his reception, should they learn that he had shown
them up in print.
Again he wrote as follows :

” I think it would be as well to correct a misapprehension as
to the truth or fiction of the paper. It is no fiction. There is no incident in it which has not actually occurred, nor one character who is not well known in the Rocky Mountains, with the exception of two whose names are changed—the originals of
these being however, equally well known with the others.”
His last letter, written just before his departure from England,a few weeks previously to his death, will hardly be read by anyone who ever knew the writer, without a tear of sympathy for the sad fate of this fine young man, dying miserably in a strangeland, before he had well commenced the hazardous journey whoseexcitement and dangers he so joyously anticipated :

*< As you say, human nature can’t go on feeding on civilized fixings in this ‘ big village ;’ and this child has felt like goingWest for many a month, being half froze for huffier meat andmountain doins. My route takes me ma New York, the Lakes,and St. Louis, to Fort Leavenworth, or Independence on theIndian frontier. Thence packing my ‘ possibles’ on a mule, andmounting a bufialo horse (Panchito, if he is alive), I strike theSanta Fe trail to the Arkansas, away up that river to the mountains, winter in the Bayou Salade, where Killbuck and LaBonte Joined the Yutes, cross the mountains next spring to Great Salt Ijake—and that’s far enough to look forwardto always supposing my hair is not lifted by Comanche or Pawnee on the scalping route of the Coon Creeks and PawneeFork.”
THE LATE GEORGE FREDERICK RUXTON. xi Poor fellow ! he spoke lightly in the buoyancy of youth and a confident spirit, of the fate he little thought to meet, but which too surely overtook him—not indeed by Indian blade, but by the no less deadly stroke of disease. Another motive, besides that love of rambling and adventure, which, once conceived and
indulged, is so difficult to eradicate, impelled him across the
Atlantic, He had for some time been out of health at intervals,
and he thought the air of his beloved prairies would be effica- cious to work a cure. In a letter to a friend, in the month of May last, he thus referred to the probable origin of the evil :—

” I have been confined to my room for many days, from the
effects of an accident I met with in the Rocky Mountains,
having been spilt from the bare back of a mule, and falling on
the sharp picket of an Indian lodge on the small of my back. I
fear I injured my spine, for I have never felt altogether the thing since, and shortly after I saw you, the symptoms became
rather ugly. However, I am now getting round again.”
His medical advisers shared his opinion that he had sustairfed internal injury from this ugly fall ; and it is not improbable that
it was the remote, but real cause of his dissolution. From whatsoever this ensued, it will be a source of deep and lasting regret
to all that ever enjoyed opportunities of appreciating the high and
sterling qualities of George Frederick Ruxton. Few men, so prepossessing on first acquaintance, gained so much by being
better known. With great natural abilities and the most dauntless bravery, he united a modesty and gentleness peculiarly
pleasing. Had he lived, and resisted his friends’ repeated soHci- tations to abandon a roving life, and settle down in England,
there can be little doubt that he would have made his nameeminent on the list of those daring and persevering men, whosetravels in distant and dangerous lands have accumulated for England, and for the world, so rich a store of scientific andgeneral information. And, although the few words it has beenthought right and becoming here to devote to his memory, w411 doubtless be more particularly welcome to his personal friends, we are persuaded that none will peruse without interest this brief tribute to the merits of a gallant soldier, and accomphshedEnglish gentleman.
CHAPTER I. Away to the head waters of the Platte, where several small streams run into the south fork of that river, and head in the broken ridges of the ” Divide” which separates the valleys of the
Platte and Arkansas, were camped a band of trappers on a creek
called Bijou. It was the month of October, when the early frosts of the coming winter had crisped and dyed with sober brown the
leaves of the cherry and quaking ash belting the brooks ; and the
ridges and peaks of the Rocky Mountains were already covered with a gUttering mantle of snow, sparkling in the still powerful
rays of the autumn sun. The camp had all the appearance of permanency ; for not only
did it comprise one or two unusually comfortable shanties, but the numerous stages on which huge stripes of buffalo meat were hanging in process of cure, showed that the party had settled themselves
here in order to lay in a store of provisions, or, as it is termed in the language of the mountains, “to make meat.” Round the camp fed twelve or fifteen mules and horses, their forelegs confined by hobbles of raw hide ; and, guarding these animals, two men
paced backward and forward, driving in the stragglers, ascending
ever and anon the bluffs which overhung the river, and leaning on
their long rifles, while they swept with their eyes the surrounding
prairie. Three or four fires burned in the encampment, at some of which Indian women carefully tended sundry steaming pots

while round one, which was in the center of it, four or five stal- wart hunters, clad in buckskin, sat cross-legged, pipe in mouth.
J They were a trapping party from the north fork of Platte, on
their way to wintering-ground in the more southern valley of the Arkansas ; some, indeed, meditating a more extended trip, even to the distant settlements of New Mexico, the paradise of mountaineers. The elder of the company was a tall, gaunt man, with
a face browned by twenty years’ exposure to the extreme climate
of the mountams ; his long black hair, as yet scarcely tinged with
gray, hanging almost to his shoulders, but his cheeks and chin
clean shaven, after the fashion of the mountain men. His dress was the usual hunting-frock of buckskin, with long fringes downthe seams, with pantaloons similarly ornamented, and moccasins
of Indian make. While his companions puffed their pipes in
silence, he narrated a few of his former experiences of western life

and while the buffalo “hump-ribs” and “tender-loin” are singing
away in the pot, preparing for the hunters’ supper, we will note down the yarn as it spins from his lips, giving it in the language
spoken in the ” far west :”

” ‘Twas about ‘ calf-time,’ maybe a little later, and not a hundred year ago, by a long chalk, that the biggest kind of rendezvous was held ‘ to* Independence, a mighty handsome little location away up on old Missoura. A pretty smart lot of boys was camp’d
thar, about a quarter from the town, and the way the whisky
flowed that time was ‘some’ now, Jean tell you, . Thar was old Sam Owins—him as got * rubbed out’ ^ by the Spaniards at Sac- ramenty, or Chihuahuy, this hos doesn’t know which, but he ‘ went
under’ f any how. Well, Sam had his train along, ready to hitch up for the Mexican country—twenty thunderin big Pittsburg
wagons ; and the way his Santa Fe boys took in the liquor beat all—eh. Bill?”
t D^ed \ ^^^^ terms adapted from the Indian figurative language.
” Well, it did.”
•’ Bill Bent—his boys camped the other side the trail, and they was aU mountain men, wagh !—and Bill WiUiams and Bill Tharpe
(the Pawnees took his hair on Pawnee Fork last spring) : three Bills, and them three’s all ‘ gone under.’ Surely Hatcher went out that time; and wasn’t Bill Garey along, too? Didn’t him and Chahonard
sit in camp for twenty hours at a deck of Euker ? Them was
Bent’s Indian traders up on Arkansa. Poor Bill Bent ! them
Spaniards made meat of him. He lost his topknot at Taos. A’clever’ man was Bill Bent as / ever know’d trade a robe or ‘throw’ a bufler in his tracks. Old St. Vrain could knock the
hind-sight off him though, when it came to shootin, and old silver heels spoke true, she did :
* plum-center’ she was, eh ?”
” Well, she wasn’t nothin else.” ” The Greasers * paid for Bent’s scalp, they tell me. Old St. Vrain went out of Santa Fe with a company of mountain men, and the way they made ’em sing out was ‘ sHck as shootin’. He’ counted a coup,’ did St. Vrain. He throwed a Pueblo as had on
poor Bent’s shirt. I guess he tickled that niggur’s hump-ribs. Fort William t aint the lodge it was, an’ never will be agin, now he’s gone under; but St. Vrain’s ‘pretty much of a gentleman,’ .too; if he aint, I’ll be dog-gone, eh, Bill?”
** He is so-o.” ” Chavez had his wagons along. He was only a Spaniard
any how, and some of his teamsters put a ball into him his next
trip, and made a raise of his dollars, wagh ! Uncle Sam hung
’em for it, I heard, but can’t b’lieve it, nohow. If them Spaniard^ wasn’t born for shootin’, why was beaver made ? You was with
us that spree, Jemmy ?” “No sirre-e/ I went out when Spiers lost his animals on Cim-
* The Mexicans are called “Spaniards” or “Greasers” (from their greasy ap- pearance) by the Western people.
t Bent’s Indian trading fort on the Arkansas.
maron : a huridi-ed and forty mules and oxen was froze that night,
wagh I” ” Surely Black Harris was thar ; and the darndest liar was
Black Harris—for lies tumbled out of his month like boudins out
of a bufler’s stomach. He was the child as saw the putrefied
forest in the Black Hills. Black Harris come in from Laramie ; he’d been trapping three year an’ more on Platte and the ‘ other
side ;’ and, when he got into Liberty, he fixed himself right off
life a Saint Louiy dandy. Well, he sat to dinner one day in the
tavern, and a lady says to him :

” ‘ Well, Mister Harris, I hear you’re a great travler.’ ” * Travler, marm,’ says Black Harris, ‘ this niggur’s no travler ; I ar a trapper, marm, a mountain-man, wagh I’ ” ‘ Well, Mister Harris, trappers are great travlers, and you
goes over a sight of ground in your perishinations, I’ll be bound
to say.’ ” ‘ A sight, marm, this coon’s gone over, if that’s the -way your
* stick floats. ‘=* I’ve trapped beaver on Platte and Arkansa, and
away up on Missoura and Yaller Stone ; I’ve trapped on Columbia, on Lewis Fork, and Green River ; I’ve trapped, marm,
on Grand River and the Heely (Gila). I’ve font the ‘ Blackfoot’ (and d—d bad Injuns they ar) ; I’ve raised the hair’f of more
tha7i one Apach, and made a Rapaho ‘ come’ afore now ; I’ve trapped in heav’n in airth, and h— ; and scalp my old head,
marm, but I’ve seen a putrified forest.’ ” <La, Mister Harris, a what V
*’ * A putrefied forest, marm, as sure as my rifle’s got hind-sights,
and slie shoots center. I was out on the Black Hills, Bill Sublette knows the time—the year it rakied fire—and every body
knows when that was. If thar wasn’t cold doins about that time,
* Meaning—if that’s what you mean. The ” stick” is tied to the beaver trap by a string ; and, floating ou the water, points out its position, should a beaver have earned it away. t Scalped.
this child wouldn’t say so. The snow was about fifty foot deep,
and the bufler lay dead on the ground like bees after a beein’

not whar we was tho’, for tliar was no bufler, and no meat, and me and my band had been livin’ on our moccasins (leastwise the
parflesh*), for six weeks ; and poor doins that feedin’ is, marm, as
you’ll never know. One day we crossed a * carion’ and over a
‘ divide,’ and got into peraira, whar was green grass, and green
trees, and green leaves on the trees, and birds singing in the green
leaves, and this in Febrary, wagh ! Our animals was like to die when they see the green grass, and we all sung out, ‘ hurraw for summer doins.’ ” ‘ Hyar goes for meat,’ says I, and I jest ups old Ginger at one
of them singing birds, and down come the crittur elegant ; its darned head spinning away from the body, but never stops singing,
and when I takes up the meat, I finds it stone, wagh I ‘ Hyar’s
damp powder and no fire to dry it,’ I says, quite skeared.
” ‘ Fire be dogged,’ says old Rube. ‘ Hyar’s a hos as ’11 make
fire come ; and with that he takes his ax and lets it drive at a
cotton wood. Schr-u-k—goes the ax agin the tree, and out comes
a bit of the blade as big as my hand. We looks at the animals,
and tliar they stood shaking over the grass, which I’m dog-gone
if it wasn’t stone, too. Young Sublette comes up, and he’d been
clerking dovra to the fort on Platte, so he know’d something. He
looks and looks, and scrapes the trees with his butcher knife, and
snaps the grass like pipe stems, and breaks the leaves a-snappin’
like Cahfomy shells. ” ‘ What’s all this, boy ?’ I asks. ” ‘Putrefactions,’ says he, looking smart, ‘putrefactions, or I’m
a niggur.’
” ‘La, Mister Harris,’ says the lady, ‘putrefactions ! why, did the leaves, and the trees, and the grass smell badly V
* Soles made of buffalo hide.
” * Smell badly, mami I’ says Black Harris, ‘ would a skunk
stink if he was froze to stone ? No, marm, this child didn’t knowwhat putrefaction was, and young Sublette’s varsion wouldn’t
* shine’ no how, so I chips a piece out of a tree and puts it in mytrap-sack, and carries it in safe to Laramie. Well, old Captain
Stewart, (a clever man was that, though he was an Englishman),
he comes along next spring, and a Dutch doctor chap was along
too. I shows him the piece I chipped out of the tree, and he
called it a putrefaction too ; and so, marm, if that wasn’t a putrefied peraira, what was it ? For this hos doesn’t know, and he knows ‘ fat cow’ from ‘ poor bull,’ anyhow.’ ^ ” Well, old Black Harris is gone under too, I believe. He went
to the ‘ Parks’ trapping with a Vide Poche Frenchman, who shot him for his bacca and traps. Darn them Frenchmen, they’re no
account any way you lays your sight. (Any bacca in your bag,
Bill ? this beaver feels like chawing.)
*’ Well, any how, thar was the camp, and they was going to put out the next morning ; and the last as come out of Indepen- dence was that ar Englishman. He’d a nor-west ^ capote on, and
a two-shoot gun rifled. Well, them English are darned fools ; they can’t fix a rifle any ways ; but that one did shoot ‘ some ;’ leastwise Jie made it throw plum-center. He made the bufler
* come,’ he did, and font well at Pawnee Fork too. What washis name ? All the boys called him Cap’en, and he got his fixings
from old Choteau ; but what he wanted out thar in the mountains,
I never jest rightly know’d. He was no trader, nor a tiapper,
and flung about his dollars right smart. Thar was old grit in him, too, and a hair of the black b’ar at that.t They say he
took the bark ofiHhe Shians when he cleared out of the village with
* The Hudson Bay Company having amalgamated with the American North West Company, is known by the name ‘North West’ to the southern trappers. Their employes usually wear Canadian capotes.
t A spice of the devil
old Beaver Tail’s squaw. He’d been on Yaller Stone afore that

Leclerc kuow’d him in the Blackfoot, and up in the Chippeway
country ; and he had the best powder as ever I flashed through life, and his gun was handsome, that’s a fact. Them thar locks was
grand ; and old Jake Hawken’s nephey (him as trapped on Heely
that time), told me, the other day, as he saw an English gun on Arkansa last winter as beat all off’ hand.
” Nigh upon two hundred dollars I had in my possibles, when I went to that camp to see the boys afore they put out ; and you know, Bill, as I sat to ‘Euker’ and ‘ Seven up’^ till every cent was
” ‘ Take back twenty, old coon,’ says Big John.
” ‘ H—’s full of such takes back,’ says I ; and I puts back to town and fetches the rifle and the old mule, puts my traps into the
sack, gets credit for a couple of pounds of powder at Owin’s store, and hyar I ar on Bijou, with half a pack of beaver, and running
meat yet, old hos : so put a log on, and let’s have a smoke.
*’ Hurraw, Jake, old coon, bear a hand, and let the squaw put
them tails in the pot ; for sun’s down, and we’ll have to put out
pretty early to reach ‘ Black Tail’ by this time to-morrow. Who’s
fust guard, boys ? them cussed ‘ Rapahos’ will be after the animals
to-night, or I’m no judge of Injun sign. How many did you see, Maurice ?”
” Enfant de Garce, me see bout honderd, when I pass Squirrel
Creek, one dam war-party, parceque, they no bosses, and have
de lariats for steal des animaux. May be de Yutas in Bayou
” We’ll be having trouble to-night, I’m thinking, if the devils are about. Whose band was it, Maurice ?”
” Slim-Face—I see him ver close—is out ; mais I think it Wliite Wolf’s.”
* ” Euker,” ” Poker,” and ” Seven up,” are the fashionable games of cards.
” White Wolf, maybe, will lose his hair if he and his band
knock round here too often. That Injun put me afoot when wewas out on ‘ Sandy’ that fall. This niggur owes hira one, any
” H—’s full of White Wolves : go ahead, and roll out some of your doins across the plains that time.”
” You seed sights that spree, eh, boy ?”
” Well, we did. Some of em got their flints fixed this side of Pawnee Fork, and a heap of mule-meat went wolfing. Just by
Little Arkansa we saw the first Injun. Me and young Somes was ahead for meat, and I had hobbled the old mule and was
* approaching’ some goats, =^ when I see the critturs turn back their heads and jump right away for me. ‘ Hurraw, Dick I’ I shouts,
‘hyars brown-skin a-comin,’ and ofi’ I makes for the mule. The
young, greenhorn sees the goats runnin up to him, and not bemgup to Injun ways, blazes at the first and knocks him over. Jest then seven darned red heads top the blufi^, and seven Pawnees come a-screechin upon us. I cuts the hobbles and jumps on the mule, and, when I looks back, there was Dick Somes ramming a
ball down his gun like mad, and the Injuns flinging their arrows
at him pretty smart, I tell you. ‘ Hurraw, Dick, mind your hair,’ and I ups old Greaser and let one Injun ‘ have it,’ as was going
plum into the boy with his lance. He turned on his back handsome, and Dick gets the ball down at last, blazes away, and drops
another. Then we charged on em, and they clears off’ like runnin cows ; and I takes the hair off” the heads of the two we made
meat of; and I do b’lieve thar’s some of them scalps on my old leggings yet. ” Well, Dick was as full of arrows as a porkypine : one was
sticking right through his cheek, one in his meat-bag, and two
more, bout his hump-ribs. I tuk ’em all out slick, and away we* Antelope are frequently called ” goats” by the mountaineers.
go to camp, (for they was jest a-carapin’ when we went ahead)
and carryin’ the goat too. Thar’ was a hurroo when we rode in with the scalps at the end of our guns. ‘ Injuns ! Injuns !’ was
the cry from the greenhorns ;
‘ we’ll he ‘tacked to-night, that’s
certain.’ ” ‘ ‘Tacked be —’ says old Bill ;
‘ aint we men too, and white
at that ? Look to your guns, hoys ; send out a strong hos’-guard
with the animals, and keep your eyes skinned.’
” Well, as soon as the animals were unhitched from the wagons,
the guvner sends out a strong guard, seven boys, and old hands at
that. It was pretty nigh upon sundown, and Bill had just sung
out to ‘ corral.’ The boys were drivin’ in the animals, and we
were all standin’ round to get ’em in slick, when, ‘ howgh-owghowgh-owgh,’ we hears right behind the bluff, and ’bout a minute
and a perfect crowd of Injuns gallops down upon the animals. Wagh I war’nt thar hoopin’ I We jump for the guns, but before we get to the fires, the Injuns were among the cavayard. I saw Ned Collyer and his brother, who were m the hos’-guard, let drive
at ’em ; but twenty Pawnees were round ’em before the smoke
cleared from their rifles, and when the crowd broke the two boys were on the ground, and their hair gone. Well, that ar English- man just saved the cavayard. He had his horse, a regular buffalo- runner, picketed round the fire quite handy, and as soon as he sees the fix, he jumps upon her and rides right into the thick of the mules, and passes through ’em, firing his two-shoot gun at the
Injuns, and, by Gor, he made two come. The mules, which was
a snortin’ with funk and running before the Injuns, as soon as they
see the Englishman’s mare (mules ‘ill go to h— after a horse, you
all know), followed her right into the corral, and thar they was
safe. Fifty Pawnees come screechin’ after ’em, but we was ready
that time, and the way we throw’d ’em was something handsome,
I tell you. But three of the hos’-guard got skeared—leastwise
their mules did, and carried ’em off into the peraira, and the
Injuns having enough of ?/s, dashed after ’em right away. Thempoor devils looked back miserable novi^, with about a hundred red varmints tearin’ after their hair, and whooping hke mad. Young
Jem Bulcher was the last ; and when he seed it was no use, and
his time was nigh, he throw’ d himself off the mule, and standing
as upright as a hickory wiping stick, he waves his hand to us, and
blazes away at the first Injun as come up, and dropped him slick

but the moment after, you may guess, he died.
** We could do nothin’, for, before our guns were loaded, all three were dead and their scalps gone. Five of our boys got rub- bed out that time, and seven Injuns lay wolf’s meat, while a many more went away gut-shot, I’ll lay, How’sever, five of us went under, and the Pawnees made a raise of a dozen mules, wagh !” Thus far, in his own words, we have accompanied the old hunter in his tale ; and probably he would have taken us, by the time the Squaw Chilipat had pronounced the beaver tails cooked,
safely across the grand prairies—fording Cotton “Wood, Turkey
Creek, Little Arkansas, Walnut Creek, and Pawnee Fork—pass- ed the fireless route of the Coon Creeks, through a sea of fat buffalo meat without fuel to cook it ; have struck the big river, and,
leaving at the ” Crossing” the wagons destined for Santa Fe, have
trailed us up the Arkansas to Bent’s Fort ; thence up Boiling
Spring across the divide over to the southern fork of the Platte,
away up to the Black Hills, and finally camped us, with hair still preserved, in the beaver-abounding valleys of the Sweet Water,
and Cache la Poudre, under the rugged shadow of the WindRiver Mountains ; if it had not so happened at this juncture—as
all our mountaineers sat cross-legged round the fire, pipe in mouth,
and with Indian gravity listened to the yam of the old trapper,
interrupting him only with an occasional wagh I or with the ex- clamation of some participator in the events then under narration,
who would every now and then put in a corroborative—” This
child remembers that fix,” or, ” hyars a niggur lifted hair on that
spree,” &c.—that a whizzing noise was heard in the air, followed by a sharp but suppressed cry from one of the hunters. In an instant the mountaineers had sprung from their seats, and, seizing the ever-ready rifle, each one had thrown himself on
the ground a few paces beyond the light of the fire (for it was now nightfall) ; but not a word escaped them, as, lying close, with their keen eyes directed toward the gloom of the thicket, near which the camp was placed, with rifles cocked, they waited
a renewal of the attack. Presently the leader of the band, no
other than Killbuck, who had so lately been recounting some of
his experiences across the plains, and than whom no more crafty
woodsman or more expert trapper ever tracked a deer or grained a beaverskin, raised his tall, leather-clad form, and, placing his hand over his mouth, made the prairie ring with the wild, pro- tracted note of an Indian war-whoop. This was instantly repeat- ed from the direction where the animals belonging to the camp
were grazing, under the charge of the horse-guard. Three shrill whoops answered the warning of the leader, and showed that the guard was on the alert, and understood the signal. However,
with the manifestation of their presence the Indians appeared to be satisfied ; or, what is more probable, the act of aggression had
been committed by some daring young warrior, who, being out oft his first expedition, desired to strike the first coup, and thus signalize himself at the outset of the campaign. After waiting some
few minutes, expecting a renewal of the attack, the mountaineers
in a body rose from the ground and made toward the animals,
with which they presently returned to the camp ; and, after carefully hobbling and securing them to pickets firmly driven into the ground, mounting an additional guard, and examining the neighboring thicket, they once more assembled round the fire, relit their pipes, and puffed away the cheering weed as composedly as
if no such being as a Hedskin, thirsting for their lives, was Avithin a thousand miles of their perilous encampment.
” If ever thar was bad Injuns on these plains,” at last yowledKill buck, biting hard the pipe-stem between his teeth, ” it’s theseRapahos, and the meanest kind at that.”
” Can’t beat the Blackfeet, any how,” chimed in one La Bonte,from the Yellow Stone country, a fine handsome specimen ofamountaineer. *’ However, one of you quit this arrow out of myhump,” he continued, bending forward to the fire, and exhibitingan arrow sticking out under his right shoulder-blade, and a streamof blood trickling down his buckskin coat from the wound.
This his nearest neighbor essayed to do ; but finding, afteratug, that it ” would not come,” expressed his opinion that theoffending weapon would have to be ” butchered” out. This wasaccordingly effected with the ready blade of a scalp-knife ; andahandful of beaver-fur being placed on the wound, and secured bya strap of buckskin round the body, the wounded man donned hishunting-shirt once more, and coolly set about lighting his pipe, hisrifle lying across his lap, cocked and ready for use. It was now near midnight—dark and misty ; and the clouds,rolling away to the eastward from the lofty ridges of the RockyMountains, were gradually obscuring the dim starlight. Asthelighter vapors faded from the mountains, a thick black cloud suc-ceeded them, and settled over the loftier peaks of the chain, faintlyvisible through the gloom of night, while a mass of fleecy scudsoon overspread the whole sky. A hollow moaning sound creptthrough the valley, and the upper branches of the cotton woods,with their withered leaves, began to rustle with the first breathof the coming storm. Huge drops of rain fell at intervals, hissingas they dropped into the blazing fires, and pattering on the skinswith which the hunters hurriedly covered the exposed baggage.The mules near the camp cropped the grass with quick and greedybites round the circuit of their pickets, as if conscious that thestorm would soon prevent their feeding, and already humped theirbacks as the chilling rain fell upon their flanks. The prairie
wolves crept closer to the camp, and in the confusion that ensued from the hurry of the trappers to cover the perishable portions of
their equipment, contrived more than once to dart ofi” with a piece of meat, when their peculiar and mournful chidmg would be
heard as they fought for the possession of the ravished morsel. When every thing was duly protected, the men set to work to spread their beds, those who had not troubled themselves to erect a shelter getting under the lee of the piles of packs and saddles

while Killbuck, disdaining even such care of his carcass, threw
his bufialo robe on the bare ground, declaring his intention to ” take” what was coming at all hazards, and ” any how.” Selecting a high spot, he drew his knife and proceeded to cut drains round it to prevent the water running into him as he lay ; then
taking a single robe he carefully spread it, placing under the end
farthest from the fire a large stone brought from the creek. Having satisfactorily adjusted this pillow, he added another robe
to the one already laid, and placed over all a Navajo blanket,
supposed to be impervious to rain. Then he divested himself
of his pouch and powder-horn, which, with his rifle, he placed in- side his bed, and quickly covered up, lest the wet should reach them. Having performed these operations to his satisfaction, he
lighted his pipe by the hissing embers of the half-extinguished fir6 (for by this time the rain poured in torrents), and went the rounds
of the picketed animals, cautioning the guard round the camp to keep their “eyes skinned, for there would be ‘powder burned’
before morning.” Then returning to the fire, and lacking with
his moccasined foot the slumbering ashes, he squatted down before
it, and thus soliloquized :

” Thirty year have I been knocking about these mountains from
Missoura’s head as far sothe as the starving Gila, I’ve trapped a
* heap,’ ^ and many a hundred pack of beaver I’ve traded in my
* Au Indian is always a “heap” hungry or thirsty—loves a “heap”—is a “heap” brave—in fact, “heap” is tantamount to very much. B
time, wagh ! What has come of it, and whar’s the dollars asought to be in my possibles ? Whar’s the ind of this, I say ? Is a man to be hunted by Injuns all his days ? Many’s thetime I’ve said I’d strike for Taos and trap a squaw, for this child’s getting old, and feels like wanting a woman’s face abouthis lodge for the balance of his days ; but when it comes to cach-ing of the old traps, I’ve the smallest kind of heart, I have. Cer-tam, the old state come across my mind now and again, but who’sthar to remember my old body ? But them diggings get too overcrowded nowadays, and it is hard to fetch breath amongst thembig bands of corncrackers to Missoura. Beside, it goes againstiiatur to leave bufler meat and feed on hog ; and them white galsare too much like picturs, and a deal too ‘fofaraw’ (fanfaron).No ; darn the settlements, I say. It won’t shine, and whar’s thedollars ? Howsever, beaver’s ‘ bound to rise ;’ human natur can’tgo on selUng beaver a dollar a pound ; no, no, that arn’t a-goingto shine much longer, I know. Them was the times when thischild first went to the mountains : six dollars the plew—old ‘unor kitten. Wagh I but it’s bound to rise, I says agin ; and hyar’sa coon knows whar to lay his hand on a dozen pack right handy,and then he’ll take the Taos trail, wa^h I” Thus soliloquizing, Killbuck knocked the ashes from his pipe,and placed it in the gayly ornamented case that hung round hisneck, drew his knife-belt a couple of holes tighter, resumed hispouch and powder-horn, took his rifle, which he carefully coveredwith the folds of his Navajo blanket, and striding into the darkness, cautiously reconnoitered the vicinity of the camp. Whenhereturned to the fire he sat himself down as before, but this timewith his rifle across his lap ; and at intervals his keen gray eyeglanced piercingly around, particularly toward an old, weatherbeaten, and gi’izzled mule, who now, old stager as she was, havingfilled her belly, stood lazily over her picket pin, with her head bentdown and her long ears flapping over her face, her hmbs gathered
under her, and her back arched to throw off the rain, tottering from
side to side as she rested and slept. “Yep, old gall” cried Killbuck to the animal, at the same time
picking a piece of burnt wood from the fire and throwing it at her, at which the mule gathered itself up and cocked her ears as she recognized her master’s voice. “Yep, old gal I and keep your nose open ; thar’s brown skin about, I’m thinkin,’ and maybe you’ll get
‘ roped’ (lasso’d) by a Rapaho, afore mornin’.” Again the old trap- per settled himself before the fire ; and soon his head began to nod.
as drowsiness stole over him. Already he was in the land of dreams ; reveling among bands of ” fat cow,” or hunting along a stream well peopled with beaver ; with no Indian ” sign” to dis- turb him, and the merry rendezvous in close perspective, and his peltry selling briskly at six dollars the plew, and galore of alcohol
to ratify the trade. Or, perhaps, threading the back trail of his memory, he passed rapidly through the perilous vicissitudes of his hard, hard life—starving one day, reveling in abundance the next

now beset by whooping savages thirsting for his blood, baying his enemies like the hunted deer, but with the unfl.inching courage of a man ; now, all care thrown aside, secure and forgetful of the past, a welcome guest in the hospitable trading fort ; or back, as the trail gets fainter, to his childhood’s home in the brown forests of old Kentuck, tended and cared for—his only thought to enjoy the homminy and johnny cakes of his thrifty mother. Once more, in warm and well remembered homespun, he sits on the snake fence round the old clearing, and munching his hoe-cake at set of sun,
listens to the mournful note of the whip-poor-will, or the harsh cry
of the noisy cat-bird, or watches the agile gambols of the squirrels as they chase each other, chattering the while, from branch to branch of the lofty tamarisks, wondering how long it will be before he will be able to lift his father’s heavy rifle, and use it against the tempting game. Sleep, however, sat lightly on the eyes of the wary mountaineer, and a snort from the old mule in an instant
stretched his every nerve. Without a movement of his body, his keen eye fixed itself upon the mule, which noM^ stood v^^ith headbent round, and eyes and ears pointed in one direction, snuffing thenight air, and snorting with apparent fear. A low sound from thewakeful hunter roused the others from their sleep ; and raising
their bodies from their well-soaked beds, a single word apprizedthem of their danger.
” Injuns I” Scarcely was the word out of Killbuck’s lips when, above thehowling of the furious wind, and the pattering of the rain, a hundred savage yells broke suddenly upon their ears from all directions round the camp ; a score of rifle-shots rattled from the thicket, anda cloud of arrows whistled through the air, while a crowd of Indianscharged upon the picketed animals, ” Owgh, owgh—owgh
owgh—g-h-h.” ” Afoot, by gor I” shouted Killbuck, ” and the oldmule gone at that. On ’em, boys, for old Kentuck I” And herushed toward his mule, which jumped and snorted, mad withfright, as a naked Indian strove to fasten a lariat round her nose,having already cut the rope which fastened her to the picket pin. ” Quit that, you cussed devil I” roared the trapper, as he jumpedupon the savage, and without raising his rifle to his shoulder, madea deliberate thrust with the muzzle at his naked breast, strikinghim full, and at the same time pulling the trigger, actually drivingthe Indian two paces backward with the shock, when he fell in aheap, and dead. But at the same moment, an Indian, sweepinghis club round his head, brought it with fatal force down uponKillbuck ; for a moment the hunter staggered, threw out his armswildly into the air, and fell headlong to the ground.
” Owgh ! owgh, owgh-h-h !” cried the Rapaho, and, stridingover the prostrate body, he seized with his left hand the middlelock of the trapper’s long hair, and drew his knife round the headto separate the scalp from the skull. As he bent over to his work,the trapper named La Bonte saw his companion’s peril, rushed
quick as thought at the Indian, and buried his knife to the hill between his shoulders. With a gasping shudder the E-apaho fell dead upon the prostrate body of his foe. The attack, however, lasted but a few seconds. The dash at the animals had been entirely successful, and, driving them before them, with loud cries, the Indians disappeared quickly in the
darkness. Without waiting for daylight, two of the three trappers
who alone were to be seen, and who had been within the shanties
at the time of attack, without a moment’s delay commenced packing two horses, which having been fastened to the shanties had
escaped the Indians, and placing their squaws upon them, showering curses and imprecations on their enemies, left the camp, fearful of another onset, and resolved to retreat and cache themselves until the danger was over. Not so La Bonte, who, stout and true, had
done his best in the fight, and now sought the body of his old comrade, from which, before he could examine the wounds, he had
first to remove the corpse of the Indian he had slain. Killbuck
still breathed. He had been stunned ; but, revived by the cold rain beating upon his face, he soon opened his eyes, and recognized
his trusty friend, who, sitting down, lifted his head into his lap, and wiped away the blood that streamed from the wounded
scalp. ” Is the top-knot gone, boy ?” asked Killbuck ; ” for my head
feels queersome, I tell you.”
” Thar’s the Injun as felt like lifting it,” answered the other, kicking the dead body with his foot. ” Wagh I boy, you’ve struck a coup ; so scalp the nigger right
off, and then fetch me a drink.” The morning broke clear and cold. With the exception of a
light cloud which hung over Pike’s Peak, the sky was spotless

and a perfect calm had succeeded the boisterous storm of the
previous night. The creek was swollen and turbid with the
rains ; and as La Bonte proceeded a little distance down the bank
to find a passage to the water, he suddenly stopped short, and aainvoluntary cry escaped him. Within a few feet of the bank laythe body of one of his companions, who had formed the guard atthe time of the Indians’ attack. It was lying on the face, piercedthrough the chest with an arrow which was buried to the veryfeathers, and the scalp torn from the bloody skull. Beyond, butall within a hundred yards, lay the three others, dead, and similarlymutilated. So certain had been the aim, and so close the enemy,that each had died without a struggle, and consequently had beenunable to alarm the camp. La Bonte, with a glance at the bank,saw at once that the wily Indians had crept along the creek, thenoise of the storm facilitating their approach undiscovered, andcrawling up the bank, had watched their opportunity to shootsimultaneously the four hunters on guard.
Returning to Killbuck, he apprized him of the melancholy fate of their companions, and held a council of war as to their proceedings. The old hunter’s mind was soon made up. ” First,” saidhe, “I get back my old mule ; she’s carried me and my trapsthese twelve years, and I aint a goin’ to lose her yet. Second, Ifeel like taking hair, and some Rapahos has to ‘ go under’ for this night’s work. Third, We have got to cache the beaver. Fourth,We take the Injun trail, wharever it leads.” No more daring mountaineer than La Bonte ever trapped abeaver, and no counsel could have more exactly tallied with his own inclination than the law laid down by old Killbuck.
” Agreed,” was his answer, and forthwith he set about forminga cache. In this instance they had not sufficient time to constructa regular one, so they contented themselves with securing their packs of beaver in buffalo robes, and tying them in the forks ofseveral cotton-woods, under which the camp had been made.This done, they lit a fire, and cooked some bufl^alo meat : and, while smoking a pipe, carefiilly cleaned their rifles and filled their horns and pouches with good store of ammunition.
A prominent feature in the character of the hunters of the far west is their quick determination and resolve in cases of extreme
difficulty and peril, and their fixedness of purpose, when any plan
of operations has been laid, requiring hold and instant action in carrying out. It is here that they so infinitely surpass the savage
Indian, in bringing to a successful issue their numerous hostile ex- peditions against the natural foe of the white man in the wild and
barbarous regions of the west. Ready to resolve as they are prompt to execute, and combining far greater dash and daring
with equal subtlety and caution, they possess great advantage
over the vacillating Indian, whose superstitious mind in a great
degree paralyzes the physical energy of his active body ; and who,
by waiting for propitious signs and seasons before he undertakes an enterprise, often loses the opportunity by which his white and more civilized enemy knows so well how to profit. Killbuck and La Bonte were no exceptions to this characteristic rule ; and before the sun was a hand’s-breadth above the eastern
horizon, the two hunters were running on the trail of the victori- ous Indians. Striking from the creek where the night attack wasmade, they crossed to another, known as Kioway, running parallel
to Bijou, a few hours’ journey westward, and hkewise heading in the “divide.” Following this to its forks, they struck into the upland prairies lying at the foot of the mountains ; and crossing
to the numerous water-courses which feed the creek called ” Vermilion” or ” Cherry,” they pursued the trail over the mountainspurs until it reached a fork of the Boiling Spring. Here the war-party had halted and held a consultation, for from this point the trail turned at a tangent to the westward, and entered the rugged gorges of the mountains. It was now evident to the two
trappers that their destination was the Bayou Salade—a mountain valley which is a favorite resort of the buffalo in the winter
season, and v/hich, and for this reason, is often frequented by the Yuta Indians as their wintering ground. That the Bapahos were
on a war expedition against the Yutas, there was Httle doubt

and Kill buck, who knew eveiy inch of the ground, saw at once, by the direction the trail had taken, that they were making for the Bayou in order to surprise their enemies, and, therefore, werenot following the usual Indian trail up the caiion of the BoilingSpring River. Having made up his mind to this, he at oncestruck across the broken ground lying at the foot of the mountains,steering a course a little to the eastward of north, or almost in thedirection whence he had come : and then, pointing westward,about noon he crossed a mountain chain, and descending into aravine through which a little rivulet tumbled over its rocky bed,he at once proved the correctness of his judgment by striking theIndian trail, now quite fresh, as it wound through the canon alongthe bank of the stream. The route he had followed, impracticableto pack-animals, had saved at least half a day’s journey, and broughtthem within a short distance of the object of their pursuit ; for, at the head of the gorge, a lofty bluff presenting itself, the huntersascended to the summit, and, looking down, descried at their veryfeet the Indian camp, with their own stolen cavallada feedingquietly round. “Wagh!” exclaimed both the hunters in a breath. “Andthar’s the old gal at that,” chuckled Killbuck, as he recognizedhis old grizzled mule making good play at the rich buffalo grasswith which these mountain valleys abound.
” If we don’t make ‘ a raise’ afore long, I wouldn’t say so. Thar plans is plain to this child as beaver sign. They’re afterYuta hair, as certain as this gun has got hind-sights ; but theyarn’t a-goin’ to pack them animals after ’em, and have crawledlil^e ‘ rattlers’ along this bottom to cache ’em till they come backfrom the Bayou—and maybe they’ll leave half a dozen ‘ soldiers’*with ’em.”
* The young untried warriors of the Indians are thits called.
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 33How right the wily trapper was in his conjectures will beshortly proved. Meanwhile, with his companion, he descendedthe bluff, and pushing liis way into a thicket of dwarf pine andcedar, sat down on a log, and drew from an end of the blanket,
strapped on his shoulder, a portion of a buffalo’s liver, which theyboth discussed, raiv, with infinite rehsh ; eating in lieu of bread(an unknown luxury in these parts) sundry strips of dried fat. Tohave kindled a fire would have been dangerous, since it was notimpossible that some of the Indians might leave their camp to hunt, when the smoke would at once have betrayed the presenceof enemies. A hght was struck, however for their pipes, and after enjoying this true consolation for some time, they laid a blanket onthe ground, and, side by side, soon fell asleep. If Killbuck had been a prophet, or the most prescient of ” medicine men,” he could not have more exactly predicted the movements in the Indian camp. About three hours before ” sun-down,”he rose and shook himself, which movement was sufficient to awaken his companion. Telling La Bonte to lie down again andrest, he gave him to understand that he was about to reconnoiterthe enemy’s camp ; and after carefully examining his rifle, anddrawing his Imife-belt a hole or two tighter, he proceeded on his dangerous errand. Ascending the same bluff whence he had first discovered the Indian camp, he glanced rapidly around, and madehimself master of the features of the ground-—choosing a ravineby which he might approach the camp more closely, and withoutdanger of being discovered. This was soon effected ; and in halfan hour the trapper was lying on his belly on the summit of apine-covered bluff, which overlooked the Indians within easy rifle- shot, and so perfectly concealed by the low spreading branches ofthe cedar and arbor-vitse, that not a particle of his person could bedetected; unless, indeed, his sharp twinkling gray eye contrastedtoo strongly with the green boughs that covered the rest of his face. Moreover, there was no danger of their hitting upon his trail, for
he had been careful to pick his steps on the rock-covered ground,
so that not a track of his moccasin was visible. Here he lay,
still as a carcagien in wait for a deer, only now and then shak- ing the boughs as his body quivered with a suppressed chuckle,
when any movement in the Indian camp caused him to laughinwardly at his (if they had known it) unwelcome propinquity.
He was not a little surprised, however, to discover that the party was much smaller than he had imagined, counting only
forty warriors ; and this assured him that the band had divided, one half taking the Yuta trail by the Boiling Spring, the other
(the one before him) taking a longer circuit in order to reach the Bayou, and make the attack on the Yutas in a different direction.At this moment the Indians were in deliberation. Seated in alarge circle round a very small fire,* the smoke from which as- cended in a thin straight column, they each in turn puffed a hugecloud of smoke from three or four long cherry-stemmed pipes, whichwent the round of the party ; each warrior touching the groundwith the heel of the pipe-bowl, and turning the stem upward andaway from him as ” medicine” to the Great Spirit, before he himself inhaled the fragrant kinnik-kinnik. The council, however,was not general, for only fifteen of the older warriors took part in
it, the others sitting outside and at some little distance from the
circle. Behind each were his arms—bow and quiver, and shield hanging from a spear stuck in the ground, and a few guns in ornamented covers of buckskin were added to some of the equip- ments. Near the fire, and in the center of the inner circle, a spear wasfixed upright in the ground, and on this dangled the four scalps of
* There is a great difference between an Indian’s fire and a white’s. The
former places the ends of logs to burn gradually ; the latter, the center, besides making such a bonfire that the Indians traly say, ” The white makes a fire so hot
that he can not approach to warm himself by it.”
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 35the trappers killed the preceding night ; and underneath them,
affixed to the same spear, was the mystic ” medicine bag,” bywhich Killbuck knew that the band before him was under the command of the chief of the tribe. Toward the grim trophies on the spear, the warriors, who in turn addressed the council, frequently pointed—more than one, as he did so, making the gyratory motion of the right hand and arm,
M^hich the Indians use in describing that they have gained anadvantage by skill or cunning. Then pointing westward, the speaker would thrust out his arm, extending his fingers at the same time, and closing and reopening them repeatedly, meaning,
that although four scalps already ornamented the ” medicine” pole, they were as nothing compared to the numerous trophies they
would bring from the Salt Valley, where they expected to find
their hereditary enemies the Yutas. “That now was not the time to count their coups,” (for at this moment one of the warriors
rose from his seat, and, swelling with pride, advanced toward the
spear, pointing to one of the scalps, and then striking his openhand on his naked breast, jumped into the air, as if about to go through the ceremony.) ” That before many suns all their spears together would not hold the scalps they had taken, and that they
would return to their village and spend a moon relating their achievements, and counting coups.” All this Killbuck learned; thanks to his knowledge of the language of signs—a master of which, if even he have no ears or tongue, never fails to understand, and be understood by, any of the hundred tribes whose languages are perfectly distinct and different. He learned, moreover, that at sundown the greater part of the band would resume the trail, in order to reach the Bayou by the
earliest dawn ; and also, that no more than four or five of the younger warriors would remain with the captm’ed animals. Still the hunter remained in his position until the sun had disappeared
behind the ridge ; when, taking up their arms, and throwing their
buffalo robes on their shoulders, the war party of Ptapahos, onebehind the other, with noiseless step, and silent as the dumb,moved away from the camp. When the last. dusky form haddisappeared behind a point of rocks which shut in the northernend of the little valley or ravine, Killbuck withdrew his head fromits screen, crawled backwards on his stomach from the edge of thebluff, and, rising from the ground, shook and stretched himself;then gave one cautious look around, and immediately proceeded to rejoin his companion.
” Lave (get up), boy,” said Killbuck, as soon as he reachedhim. ” Hyar’s grainin’ to do afore long—and sun’s about down,I’m thinking.”
“Pveady, old hos,” answered La Bonte, giving himself a shake.** What’s the sign like, and how raany’s the lodge ?” ” Fresh, and five, boy. How do you feel ?”
*• Halffroze for hair. Wagh I” ” We’ll have moon to-night, and as soon as sAc gets up, we’llmake ’em ‘ come.’ ” Killbuck then described to his companion what he had seen, and detailed his plan. This was simply to wait until the moonafforded sufficient light, then to approach the Indian camp andcharge into it, “lift” as much “hair” as they could, recover theiranimals, and start at once to the Bayou and join the friendlyYutas, warning them of the coming danger. The risk of falling in with either of the Rapaho bands was hardly considered ; toavoid this, they trusted to their own foresight, and the legs oftheir mules, should they encounter them. Between sundown and the rising of the moon, they had leisure to eat their supper, which, as before, consisted of raw buffaloliver ; after discussing which, Killbuck pronounced himself ” a•heap’ better,” and ready for “huggin.” In the short interval of almost perfect darkness which precededthe moonlight, and taking advantage of one of the frequent squalls
of wind which howl down the narrow gorges of the momitains,
these two deteraiined men, with footsteps noiseless as the panther’s, crawled to the edge of the little plateau of some hundred yards’ square, where the five Indians in charge of the animals were
seated round the fire, perfectly unconscious of the vicinity of danger. Several clumps of cedar bushes dotted the small prairie, and
among these the well-hobbled mules and horses were feeding.
These animals, accustomed to the presence of whites, Avould not
notice the two hunters as they crept from clump to clump nearer
to the fire, and also served, even if the Indians should be on the watch, to conceal their movements from them. This the two men at once perceived ; but old KiUbuck knew
that if he passed within sight or smell of his mule, he would be
received with a hinny of recognition, which would at once alarm
the enemy. He therefore first ascertained where his own animal
w^as feeding, which luckily was at the farther side of the prairie, and would not interfere with his proceedings.
Threading their way among the feeding mules, they approached
a clump of bushes about forty yards from the spot where the unconscious savages were seated smoking round the fire ; and here they awaited, scarcely drawing breath the while, the momentwhen the moon rose above the mountain into- the clear cold sky,
and gave them light sufiicient to make sure their work of bloody
retribution. Not a pulsation in the hearts of these stern, deter- mined men beat higher than its wont ; not the tremor of a nerve
disturbed their frame. They stood with lips compressed and rifles ready, their pistols loosened in their belts, their scalp-knives handy
to their gripe. The lurid glow of the coming moon already shot
into the sky above the ridge, which stood out in bold relief against the light ; and the luminary herself just peered over the mountain, illuminating its pine-clad summit, and throwing her beams on an opposite peak, when KiUbuck touched his companion’s arm, and whispered, ” Wait for the full light, boy.”
At this moment, however, unseen by the trapper, the old grizzledmule had gradually approached; as she fed along the plateau; and,when within a few paces of their retreat, a gleam of moonshinerevealed to the animal the erect forms of the two whites. Suddenly she stood still and pricked her ears, and stretching out herneck and nose, snuffed the air. Well she knew her old master.
Killbuck, with eyes fixed upon the Indians, was on the pointof giving the signal of attack to his comrade, when the shrill hinnyof his mule reverberated through the gorge. The Indians jumpedto their feet and seized their arms, when Killbuck, with a loudshout of ” At ’em, boy ; give the niggurs h— I” rushed from hisconcealment, and with La Bonte by his side, yelling a fierce war-whoop, sprung upon the startled savages. Panic-struck with the suddenness of the attack, the Indiansscarcely knew where to run, and for a moment stood huddled to-gether like sheep. Down dropped Killbuck on his knee, andstretching out his wiping-stick, planted it on the ground at theextreme length of his arm. As methodically and as coolly as ifabout to aim at a deer, he raised his rifle to this rest and pulledthe trigger. At the report an Indian fell forward on his face, atthe same moment that La Bonte, with equal certainty of aim andlike effect, discharged his own rifle. The three surviving Indians, seeing that their assailants werebut two, and knowing that their guns were empty, came on withloud yells. With the left hand grasping a bunch of arrows, andholding the bow already bent and arrow fixed, they steadily ad-vanced, bending low to the ground to get their objects betweenthem and the light, and thus render their aim more certain. Thetrappers, however, did not care to wait for them. Drawing theirpistols, they charged at once ; and although the bows twanged, andthe three arrows struck their mark, on they rushed, dischargingtheir pistols at close quarters. La Bonte threw his empty one at thehead of an Indian who was pulling his second arrow to its head at a
yard’s distance, drew his knife at the same moment, and made at him.But the Indian broke and ran, followed by his surviving companion ; and as soon as Killbuck could ram home another ball, he sent a
shot flying after them as they scrambled up the mountain side, leav- ing in their fright and hurry their bows and shields on the ground.
The fight was over, and the two trappers confronted each other : —” We’ve given ’em h— I” laughed Killbuck.
”Well, we have,” answered the other, pulling an arrow out of
his arm.—” Wagh I” ” We’ll lift the hair, any how,” continued the first, ” afore the
scalp’s cold.” Taking his whetstone from the little sheath on his knife-belt, the trapper proceeded to ” edge” his knife, and then stepping to the
first prostrate body, he turned it over to examine if any symptom of
vitality remained. ” Thrown cold I” he exclaimed, as he dropped the
lifeless arm he had lifted. ” I sighted him about the long ribs, but
the light was bad, and I couldn’t get a ‘ bead’ ‘ off hand’ any how.”
Seizing with his left hand the long and braided lock on the center of the Indian’s head, he passed the point edge of his keen
butcher-knife round the parting, turning it at the same time under, the skin to separate the scalp from the skull ; then, with a quick and
sudden jerk of his hand, he removed it entirely from the head, and
giving the reeking trophy a wring upon the grass to free it from
the blood, he coolly hitched it under his belt, and proceeded to the next ; but seeing La Bonte operating upon this, he sought the
third, who lay some little distance from the others. This one was
still alive, a pistol-ball having passed through his body, without
touching a vital spot. ” Gut-shot is this niggur,” exclaimed the trapper ; ” them pistols never throws ’em in their tracks;” and thrusting his knife, for mercy’s sake, into the bosom of the Indian, he likewise tore the
scalp-lock from his head, and placed it with the other.
La Bonte had received two trivial wounds, and Killbuck tillnow had been walking about with an arrow sticking through thefleshy part of his thigh, the point being perceptible near the surfaceof the other side. To free his leg from the painful encumbrance,he thrust the weapon completely through, and then, cutting off thearrow-head below the barb, he drew it out, the blood flowing freelyfrom the wound, A tourniquet of buckskin soon stopped this, and,heedless of the pain, the hardy mountaineer sought for his oldmule, and quickly brought it to the fire (which La Bonte hadre-kindled), lavishing many a caress, and most comical terms of en-dearment, upon the faithful companion of his wanderings. Theyfound all the animals safe and well ; and after eating heartily ofsome venison which the Indians had been cooking at the momentof the attack, made instant preparations to quit the scene of theirexploit, not wishing to trust to the chance of the Rapahos beingtoo frightened to again molest them. Having no saddles, they secured buffalo robes on the backsoftwo mules—Killbuck, of course, riding his own—and lost no timein proceeding on their way. They followed the course of the In-dians up the stream, and found that it kept the canons and gorgesof the mountains, where the road was better ; but it was withnolittle difficulty that they made their way, the ground being muchbroken, and covered with rocks. Killbuck’s wound became verypainful, and his leg stiffened and swelled distressingly, but he stillpushed on all night, and at daybreak, recognizing their position, heleft the Indian trail, and followed a little creek which rose inamountain chain of moderate elevation, and above which, and to thesouth. Pike’s Peak towered high into the clouds. With great dif-ficulty they crossed this ridge, and ascending and descending sev-eral smaller ones, which gradually smoothed away as they metthevalley, about three hours after sunrise they found themselves in thesoutheast corner of the Bayou Salade. The Bayou Salade, or Salt Valley, is the most southern of three
very extensive valleys, forming a series of table-lands in the very
center of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, known to the
trappers by the name of the ” Parks.” The numerous streams by
which they are watered abound in the valuable fur-bearing beaver, while every species of game common to the west is found here in great abundance. The Bayou Salade especially, owing to the
salitrose nature of the soil and springs, is the favorite resort of all the larger animals common to the mountains ; and, in the sheltered
prairies of the Bayou, the buffalo, forsaking the barren and inclement regions of the exposed plains, frequent these upland valleys, in the winter months ; and feeding upon the rich and nutritious
buffalo grass which, on the bare prairies, at that season, is either dry and rotten, or entirely exhausted, not only sustain life, but re- tain a great portion of the ” condition” that the abundant fall and
gummer pasture of the lowlands has laid upon their bones. Therefore is this valley sought by the Indians as a wintering ground. Its occupancy has been disputed by most of the mountain tribes, and
long and bloody wars have been waged to make good the claims
set forth by Yuta, Pwapaho, Sioux, and Shians. However, to the
first of these it may be said now to belong, since their ” big vil- lage” has wintered there for many successive years; while the Rapahos seldom visit it, unless on war expeditions against the Yutas.
Judging, from the direction the Rapahos were taking, that the
friendly tribe of Yutas were there already, the trappers had re- solved to join them as soon as possible ; and, therefore, without
resting, pushed on through the uplands, and, toward the middle
of the day, had the satisfaction of descrying the conical lodges of the village, situated on a large level plateau, through which ran
a mountain stream. A numerous band of mules and horses were
scattered over the pasture, and round them several mounted In- dians kept guard. As tKe trappers descended the bluffs into the
plain, some straggling Indians caught sight of them ; and in-
Etantly one of them, lassoing a horse from the herd, mountedit, barebacked, and flew like wind to the village to spread the news.Soon the lodges disgorged their inmates ; first the women andchildren rushed to the side of the strangers’ approach ; then theyounger Indians, unable to restrain their curiosity, mounted theirhorses, and galloped forth to meet them. The old cliiefs, envel-oped in buffalo robes (softly and delicately dressed as the Yutasalone know how), and with tomahawk held in one hand and rest-ing in the hollow of the other arm, sallied last of all from theirlodges, and squatting in a row on a sunny bank outside the village,awaited with dignified composure, the arrival of the whites.Killbuck was well known to most of them, having trapped in theircountry and traded with them years before at Roubideau’s fort atthe head waters of the Rio Grande. After shaking hands withall who presented themselves, he at once gave them to understandthat their enemies, the Rapahos, were at hand, with a hundredwarriors at least, elated by the coup they had just struck againstthe whites, bringing, moreover, four white scalps to incite themtobrave deeds. At this news the whole village was speedily in commotion : thewar-shout was taken up from lodge to lodge ; the squaws begantolament and tear their hair ; the warriors to paint and arm themselves. The elder chiefs immediately met in council, and, overthe medicine-pipe, debated as to the best course to pursue—whetherto wait the attack, or sally out and meet the enemy. In the meantime, the braves were collected together by the chiefs of their re-spective bands, and scouts, mounted on the fastest horses, dis-patched in every direction to procure intelligence of the enemy.The two whites, after watering their mules and picketing themin some good grass near the village, drew near the council fire,without, however, joining in the ” talk,’ until they were invited totake their seats by the eldest chief Then Killbuck w^as calledupon to give his opinion as to the direction in which he judged the
Rapahos to be approaching, which he deHvered in their own lan- guage, with which he was well acquainted. In a short time the
council broke up, and, without noise or confusion, a band of one hundred chosen warriors left the village, immediately after one of the scouts had galloped in and communicated some intelligence to the chiefs. Killbuck and La Bonte volunteered to accompany
the war-party, weak and exhausted as they were ; but this was
negatived by the chiefs, who left their white brothers to the care of the women, who tended their wounds,- now stiff and painful

and spreading their buffalo robes in a warm and roomy lodge, left them to the repose they so much needed.
CHAPTER 11. The next morning, Killbuck’s leg was greatly inflamed, andliewas unable to leave the lodge ; but he made his companion bringthe old mule to the door, that he might give her a couple of earsof Indian corn, the last remains of the slender store brought bythe Indians from the Navajo country. The day passed, and sun-down brought no tidings of the war-party. This caused no littlewailing on the part of the squaws, but was interpreted by thewhites as a favorable augury. A little after sunrise, on the secondmornmg, the long line of the returning warriors was discernedwinding over the prairie, and a scout having galloped in to bringthe news of a great victory, the whole village was soon in a fer-ment of paint and drumming. A sliort distance from the lodges,the warriors halted to await the approach of the people. Oldmen, children, and squaws sitting astride their horses, sallied outto escort the victorious party in triumph to the village. Withloud shouts and songs, and drums beating the monotonous Indiantime, they advanced and encircled the returning braves, one ofwhom, his face covered with black paint, carried a pole on whichdangled thirteen scalps, the trophies of the expedition. Ashelifted these on high, they were saluted with deafening whoops andcries of exultation and savage joy. In this manner they enteredthe village, almost before the friends of those fallen in the fighthad ascertained their losses. Then the shouts of delight wereconverted into yells of grief; the mothers and wives of thosebraves who had been killed (and seven had ” gone under”) pres-ently returned with their faces, necks, and hands blackened, and
danced and howled round the scalp-pole, which had been deposited
m the center of the village, in front of the lodge of the great chief. Killbuck now learned that a scout having brought intelligence that the two bands of Rapahos were hastening to form a junction,
as soon as they learned that their approach was discovered, the Yutas had successfully prevented it ; and attacking one party, had
entirely defeated it, killmg thirteen of the Rapaho braves. The
other party had fled on seeing the issue of the fight, and a few of the Yuta warriors were now pursuing them. To celebrate so signal a victory, great preparations sounded
their notes through the village. Paints—vermilion and ochers
red and yellow—were in great request ; while the scrapings of charred wood, mixed with gunpowder, were used as substitute for black, the medicine color. The lodges of the village, numbering some two hundred or more, were erected in parallel lines, and covered a large space of the level prairie in shape of a parallelogram. In the center, however, the space which half a dozen lodges in length would have
taken up was left unoccupied, save by one large one, of red-painted
buffalo skins, tatooed with the mystic totems of the ” medicine”
peculiar to the nation. In front of this stood the grim scalp-pole.
like a decayed tree trunk, its bloody fruit tossing in the wind ; and on another pole, at a few feet distance, was hung the “bag”
with its mysterious contents. Before each lodge a tripod of spears supported the arms and shields of the Yuta chivalry, and on many
of them, smoke-dried scalps rattled in the wind, former trophies of the dusky knights who were arming themselves within. Heraldic
devices were not wanting—not, however, graved upon the shield, but hanging from the spear-head, the actual ” totem” of the
warrior it distinguished. The rattlesnake, the otter, the carcagien, the mountain badger, the war-eagle, the kon-qua-kish, the por- cupine, the fox, &c., dangled their well-stufTed skins, displaying the guardian ” medicine” of the warriors they pertained to, and
representing the mental and corporeal qualities which weresup’posed to characterize the braves to whom they belonged.
From the center lodge, two or three “medicine men,” fantastically attired in the skins of wolves and bears, and bearing longpeeled wands of cherry in their hands, occasionally emergedtotend a very small fire which they had kindled in the centerofthe open space ; and, when a thin column of smoke arose, oneofthem planted the scalp-pole obliquely across the fire. Squawsinrobes of white dressed buckskin, garnished with beads andpor-cupines’ quills, and their faces painted bright red and black, thenappeared. These ranged themselves round the outside ofthesquare, the boys and children of all ages, mounted on bare-backedhorses, galloping round and round, and screaming with eagerness,excitement and curiosity.
Presently the braves and warriors made their appearance, andsquatted round the fire in two circles, those who had been engagedon the expedition being in the first or smaller one. One medicineman sat under the scalp-pole, having a drum between his knees,which he tapped at intervals with his hand, eliciting from thein-strument a hoUoAV, monotonous sound. A bevy of women, shoul-der to shoulder, then advanced from the four sides of the square,and some, shaking a rattle-drum in time with their steps, com-menced a jumping, jerking dance, now lifting one foot fromtheground, and now rising with both, accompanying the dance witha chant, which swelled from a low whisper to the utmost extentof their voices—-now dying away, and again bursting into vocifer-ous measure. Thus they advanced to the center and retreatedto their former positions ; when six squaws, with their faces paint-ed a dead black made their appearance from the crowd, chanting,in soft and sweet measure, a lament for the braves the nation hadlost in the late battle : but soon as they drew near the scalp-pole,tl.eir melancholy note changed to the music (to them) of gratifiedrevenge. In a succession of jumps, raising the feet alternately
but a little distance from the ground, they made their way,
through an interval left in the circle of warriors, to the grim pole, and encircling it, danced in perfect silence round it for a few moments. Then they burst forth with an extempore song, laudatory
of the achievements of their victorious braves. They addressed the scalps as ” sisters” (to be called a squaw is the greatest insult that can be offered to an Indian), and, spitting at them, upbraided
them with rashness in leaving their lodges to seek for Yuta hus- bands ; ” that the Yuta warriors and young men despised them,
and chastised them for their forwardness and presumption, bringing back their scalps to their own women.”
After sufficiently proving that they had any thing but lost the
use of their tongues, but possessed, on the contrary, as fair a
length of that formidable weapon as any of their sex, they withdrew, and left the field in undisputed possession of the men : who,
accompanied by tap of drum, and by the noise of many rattles, broke out into a war-song in which their own valor was by no means hidden in a bushel, or modestly refused the light of day. After this came the more interesting ceremony of a warrior
•’ counting his coups.”
A young brave, with his face painted black, mounted on a white horse mysteriously marked with red clay, and naked to the
breech-clout, holding in his hand a long, taper lance, rode into the
circle, and paced slowly round it ; then, flourishing his spear on
high, he darted to the scalp-pole, round which the warriors were now seated in a semicircle ; and in a loud voice, and with furious
gesticulations, related his exploits, the drums tapping at the conclusion of each. On his spear hung seven scalps, and holding it vertically above his head, and commencing with the top one, he
told the feats in which he had raised the trophy hair. When he
had run through these, the drums tapped loudly, and several of
the old chiefs shook their rattles, in corroboration of the truth of
his achievements. The brave, swelling with pride, then pointed
to the fresh and bloody scalps hanging on the pole. Two of thesehad been torn from the heads of Rapahos struck by his ownhand,and this feat, the exploit of the day, had entitled him to the honorof counting his coups. Then, sticking his spear into the groundby the side of the pole, he struck his hand twice on his brawnyand naked chest, turned short round, and, swift as the antelope,galloped into the plain : as if overcome by the shock his modestyhad received in being obliged to recount his own high-soundingdeeds. ” Wagh I” exclaimed old Killbuck, as he left the circle, pointing his pipe-stem toward the fast-fading figure of the brave, ” thatInjun’s heart’s about as big as ever it will be, I’m thinking.”
With the Yutas, Killbuck and La Bonte remained duringthewinter ; and when the spring sun had opened the ice-bound creeks,and melted the snow on the mountains, and its genial warmthhad expanded the earth and permitted the roots of the grassto*’ live” once more, and throw out green and tender shoots, the twotrappers bade adieu to the hospitable Indians, who broke up theirvillage in order to start for the valleys of the Del Norte. Asthey followed the trail from the bayou at sundown, just as theythought of camping, they observed ahead of them a solitary horse-man riding along, followed by three mules. His hunting-frockoffringed buckskin, and the rifle resting across the horn of his saddle, at once proclaimed him white ; but as he saw the mountaineers winding through the carion, driving before them halfadozen horses, he judged they might possibly be Indians andene-mies, the more so, as their dress was not the usual costume ofthewhites. The trappers, therefore, saw the stranger raise the riflein the hollow of his arm, and, gathering up his horse, ride steadily to meet them, as soon as he, observed they were but two ; twoto one in mountain calculation being scarcely considered odds,ifred skin to white. However, on nearing them, the stranger discovered his mis-
take ; and, throwing his rifle across the saddle once more, reined
in his horse and waited their approach; for the spot where he
then stood, presented an excellent camping-ground, with abun- dance of dry wood and convenient water.
” Where from, stranger ?”
” The divide, and to the bayou for meat ; and you are from
there, I see. Any buffalo come in yet ?”
” Heap, and seal-fat at that. What’s the sign out on the
plains ?” War-party of Rapahos passed Squirrel at sun-down yesterday,
and nearly raised my animals. Sign, too, of more on left fork of Boiling Spring. No buffalo between this and Bijou. Do you
feel like camping ?”
” Well, we do. But whar’s your companyeros ?”
” I’m alone.”
” Alone I Wagh I how do you get your animals along ?”
” I go ahead, and they follow the horse.”
*’ Well, that beats all I That’s a smart-looking hos now ; and
runs some, I’m thinking.”
” Well, it does.”
‘* Whar’s them mules from ? They look like Californy.”
” Mexican country—away down south.”
” H— I Whar’s yourself from ?”
” There away, too.”
•’ What’s beaver worth in Taos ?”
” Dollar.” “In Saint Louiy ?” ” Same.”
” H— I Any call for buckskin ?”
*’ A heap I The soldiers in Santa Fe are half-froze for leather ; and moccasins fetch two dollars, easy.”
” Wagh I How’s trade on Arkansa, and what’s doin to the Fort ?” C
” Shians at Big Timber, and Bent’s people trading smart.On North Fork, Jim Waters got a hundred pack right off, andSioux making more.”
” Whar’s Bill WiUiams ?”
” Gone under, they say : the Diggers took his hair.”
” How’s powder goin ?” ” Two dollars a pint.”
” Bacca ?”
” A plew a plug.”
” Got any about you ?”
” Have so.” ” Give us a chaw ; and now let’s camp.”
While unpacking their own animals, the two trappers couldaot refrain from glancing, every now and then, with no little as-tonishment, at the solitary stranger they had so unexpectedly encountered. If truth be told his appearance not a little perplexedthem. His hunting-frock of buckskin, shining with grease, andfringed pantaloons, over which the well-greased butcher-knife hadevidently been often wiped after cutting his food, or butcheringIhe carcass of deer and buffalo, were of genuine mountain make.His face, clean shaved, exhibited in its well-tanned and weatheroeaten complexion, the effects of such natural cosmetics as sunand wind ; and under the mountain hat of felt which covered hishead, long uncut hair hung in Indian fashion on his shoulders.All this would have passed muster, had it not been for the mostextraordinaiy equipment of a double-barreled rifle ; which, whenithad attracted the eyes of the mountaineers, elicited no little aston-ishment, not to say derision. But, perhaps, nothing excited theiradmiration so much as the perfect docility of the stranger’s ani-mals ; which, almost like dogs, obeyed his voice and call ; andalbeit that one, in a small sharp head and pointed ears, expandednostrils, and eye twinkling and malicious, exhibited the personification of a “lurking devil,” yet they could not but admire the
perfect ease with which even this one, in common with the rest, permitted herself to be handled. Dismounting, and unhitching from the horn of his saddle the
coil of skin rope, one end of which was secured round the neok of the horse, he proceeded to unsaddle ; and while so engaged, the
three mules, two of which were packed, one with the unbutchered
carcass of a deer, the other with a pack of skins, &:c., followed
leisurely into the space chosen for the camp, and, cropping the
grass at their ease, waited until a whistle called them to be un- packed.
The horse was a strong square-built bay ; and, although the se- verities of a prolonged winter, with scanty pasture and long and
trying travel, had robbed his bones of fat and flesh, tucked up his
flank, and ” ewed” his neck ; still his clean and well-set legs, oblique shoulder, and withers fine as a deer’s, in spite of his gaunt
half-starved appearance, bore ample testimony as to what he had
been ; while his clear cheerful eye, and the hearty appetite with
which he fell to work on the coarse grass of the bottom, proved
that he had something in him still, and was game as ever. His
tail, gnawed by the mules in days of strait, attracted the observant
mountaineers. ‘Hard doins when it come to that,” remarked La Bonte. Between the horse and two of the mules a mutual and great af- fection appeared to subsist, which was no more than natural, when
their master observed to his companions that they had traveled to- gether upwards of two thousand miles. One of these mules was a short thick-set, stumpy animal, with an enormous head surmounted by proportionable ears, and a pair
of unusually large eyes, beaming the most perfect good temper and
docility (most uncommon qualities in a mule). Her neck was
thick, and rendered more so in appearance by reason of her maie
not being reached (or, in English, hogged), which privilege she
alone enjoyed of the trio ; and her short, strong legs, ending in
small, round, cat-like hoofs, were feathered with a profusion ofdark brown hair. As she stood stock-still, while the stranger removed the awkwardly packed deer from her back, she flapped her huge ears back-ward and forward, occasionally turning her head, and laying hercold nose against her master’s cheek. When the pack was re-moved, he advanced to her head, and resting it on his shoulder,rubbed her broad and grizzled cheeks with both his hands for sev-eral minutes, the old mule laying her ears, hke a rabbit, backupon her neck, and with half-closed eyes enjoyed mightily the manipulation. Then, giving her a smack upon the haunch, and a” hep-a” well known to the mule kind, the old favorite threw upher heels and cantered off to the horse, who was busily croppingthe buffalo grass on the bluff above the stream. Great was the contrast between the one just described and thenext which came up to be divested of her pack. She, a tall beautifully shaped Mexican mule, of a light mouse color, with a headlike a deer’s, and long springy legs, trotted up obedient to the callbut with ears bent back and curled up nose, and tail compressedbetween her legs. As her pack was being removed, she groanedand whined like a dog, as a thong or loosened strap touched herticklish body, lifting her hind-quarters in a succession of jumps orpreparatory kicks, and looking wicked as a panther. When nothingbut the fore pack-saddle remained she had worked herself into thelast stage ; and as the stranger cast loose the girth of buffalo hide,and was about to lift the saddle and draw the crupper from thetail she drew her hind legs under her, more tightly compressed hertail, and almost shrieked with rage.
” Stand clear,” he roared (knowing what was coming), andraised the saddle, when out went her hind legs, up went the packinto the air, and, with it dangling at her heels, away she tore, kicking the oflending saddle as she ran. Her master, however,took this as matter of course, followed her and brought back the
saddle, which he piled on the others to windward of the fire one of the trappers was kindling. Fire-making is a simple process with
the mountaineers. Their bullet-pouches always contain a flint, and steel, and sundry pieces of ” punk”* or tinder ; and pulling a handful of dry grass, which they screw into a nest, they place the
lighted punk in this, and, closing the grass over it, wave it in the
air, when it soon ignites, and readily kindles the dry sticks forming
the foundation of the fire. The tit-bits of the deer the stranger had brought in, were soon
roasting over the fire ; while, as soon as the burning logs had de- posited a sufficiency of ashes, a hole was raked in them, and the head of the deer, skin, hair, and all, placed in this primitive oven, and carefully covered with the hot ashes. A “heap” of “fat meat” in perspective, our mountaineers en- joyed their ante-prandial pipes, recounting the news of the respect- ive regions whence they came ; and so well did they like each
other’s company, so sweet was the “honey-dew” tobacco of whichthe strange hunter had good store, so plentiful the game about the
creek, and so abundant the pasture for their winter-starved ani- mals, that before the carcass of the “two-year” buck had been more than four-fifths consumed ; and, although rib after rib hadbeen picked and chucked over their shoulders to the wolves, and
one fore leg and the “bit” of all, the head, were still cooked before them,—the three had come to the resolution to join company, and
hunt in their present locality for a few days at least—the owner
of the “two-shoot” gun volunteering to fill their horns with powder, and find tobacco for their pipes.
Here, on plenty of meat, of venison, bear, and antelope, they
merrily luxuriated ; returning after their daily hunts to the brightly burning camp-fire, where one always remained to guard the animals, and unloading their packs of meat, (all choicest portions),
* A pithy substance found in dead pine-trees.
ate late into the night, and, smoking, wiled away the time in nar- rating scenes in their hard-spent lives, and fighting their battles
o’er again.
The younger of the trappers he who has figured under the name
of La Bonte, had excited, by scraps and patches from his history, no little curiosity in the stranger’s mind to leam the ups and
downs of his career ; and one night, when they assembled earlier than usual at the fire, he prevailed upon the modest trapper to “unpack” some passages in his wild, adventurous life. ” Maybe,” commenced the mountaineer, “you both. remember
when old Ashley went out with the biggest kind of band to trap the Columbia, and head-waters of Missoura and Yellow Stone. Well,
that was the time this niggur first felt like taking to the mountains.”
This brings us back to the year of our Lord 1825 ; and perhaps
it will be as well, in order to render La Bonte’s mountain language
intelligible, to translate it at once into tolerable English, and to
tell in the third person, but from his own lips, the scrapes which
befell him in a sojourn of more than twenty years in the Far West,
and the causes that impelled him to quit the comfort and civiliza- tion of his home, to seek the perilous but engaging life of a trapper
of the Rocky Mountains.
La Bonte was raised in the state of Mississippi, not far from
Memphis, on the left bank of that huge and snag-filled river. His father was a Saint Louis Frenchman, his mother a native of Tennessee. W^hen a boy, our trapper was ” some,” he said, with
the rifle, and always had a hankering for the west ; particularly
when, on accompanying his father to Saint Louis every spring, he saw the dififerent bands of traders and hunters start upon their an- nual expeditions to the mountains. Greatly did he envy the inde- pendent, insouciant trappers, as, in all the glory of beads and
buckskin, they shouldered their rifles at Jake Hawkin’s door (the
rifle maker of St. Louis), and bade adieu to the cares and tram- mels of civilized life.
However, like a thoughtless beaver-kitten, he put his foot into a trap one fine day, set by Mary Brand, a neighbor’s daughter,
and esteemed ” some punkins,” or in other words, toasted as the beauty of Memphis County, by the susceptible Mississippi ans. From that moment he was “gone beaver;” “he felt queer,” he
said, ” all over, like a buffalo shot in the lights ; he had no relish
for mush and molasses ; homminy and johnny cakes failed to excite
his appetite. Deer and turkeys ran by him unscathed ; he didn’t know, he said, whether his rifle had hind-sights or not. He felt bad, that was a fact ; but what ailed him he didn’t know.”
Mary Brand—Mary Brand—Mary Brand ! the old Dutch clock ticked it. Mary Brand ! his head throbbed it when he lay down
to sleep. Mary Brand ! his rifle-lock spoke it plainly when he
cocked it, to raise a shaking sight at a deer, Mary Brand, Mary
Brand I the whip-poor-will sung it, instead of her own well-known
note ; the bull-frogs croaked it in the swamp, and musquitoes droned it in his ear as he tossed about his bed at night, wakeful,
and striving to think what ailed him.
“S^Hio could that strapping young fellow, who passed the door
just now, be going to see ? Mary Brand : Mary Brand. And
who can Big Pete Herring be dressing that silver fox-skin so carefully for ? For whom but Mary Brand ? And who is it that
jokes, and laughs, and dances, with all the ” boys” but him ; ani
why ? Who but Mary Brand : and because the love-sick booby carefully avoids her.
” And Mary Brand herself—what is she like ?”
” She’s * some’ now ; that is a fact, and the biggest kind of punkin at that,” would have been the answer from any man, woman, or child in Memphis County, and truly spoken too ; always
understanding that the pumpkin is the fruit by which the ne-plus- ultra of female perfection is expressed among the figurativelyspeaking westerns.
Being an American woman, of course she was tall, and straight
and slim as a hickory sapling, well formed withal, with rounded
bust, and neck white and slender as the swan’s. Her features were small, but finely chiseled ; and in this, it may be remarked,
the lower orders of the American women differ from, and far sur- pass the same class in England, or elsewhere, where the features, although far prettier, are more vulgar and common-place. Mary
Brand had the bright blue eye, thin nose, and small but sweetlyformed mouth, the too fair complexion, and dark brown hair, which characterize the beauty of the Anglo-American, the heavy
masses (hardly curls), that fell over her face and neck, contrasting
with their pohshed whiteness. Such was Mary Brand : and
when to her good looks are added a sweet disposition, and all the
best qualities of a thrifty housewife, it must be allowed that she
fully justified the eulogiums of the good people of Memphis.
Well, to cut a love-story short, in doing which not a little moral courage is shown, young La Bonte fell desperately in love with the pretty Mary, arid she with him ; and small blame to her, for he was a proper lad of twenty—six feet in his moccasins
the best hunter and rifle-shot in the country, with many other ad- vantages too numerous to mention. But when did the course, &c. e’er run smoooth ? When the affair had become a recognized
*’ courting” (and Americans alone know the horrors of such pro- longed purgatory), they became, to use La Bonte’s words, “awful
fond,” and consequently about once a week had their tiffs and
However, on one occasion, at a ” husking,” and during one of
these tiffs, Mary, every inch a woman, to gratify some indescrib- able feeling, brought to her aid jealousy—that old serpent who
has caused such mischief in this world ; and by a flirtation over the corn-cobs with Big Pete, La JBonte’s former and only rival, struck so hard a blow at the latter’s heart, that on the moment
his brain caught fire, blood danced before his eyes, and he became
like one possessed. Pete observed and enjoyed his struggling emotion—better for him had he minded his com shelling alone ;
and the more to annoy his rival, paid the most sedulous attention
to pretty Mary.
Young La Bonte stood it as long as human nature, at boiling
heat, could endure ; but when Pete, in the exultation of his ap- parent triumph, crowned his success by encircling the slender waist
of the girl with his arm, and snatching a sudden kiss, he jumped
upright from his seat, and seizing a small whisky-keg which stood
in the center of the corn-shellers, he hurled it at his rival, and
crying to him, hoarse with passion, ” to follow if he was a man,”
he left the house. At that time, and even now, in the remoter states of the west- ern country, rifles settled even the most trivial differences between
the hot-blooded youths ; and of such frequent occurrence and in- variably bloody termination did these encounters become, that they
scarcely produced sufficient excitement to draw together half-a- dozen spectators. In the present case, however, so public was the quarrel, and so well known the parties concerned, that not only the people who
had witnessed the affair, but all the neighborhood, thronged to the
scene of action, in a large field in front of the house, where the
preliminaries of a duel between Pete and La Bonte were beinfr arranged by their respective friends. Mary, when she discovered the mischief her thoughtlessness was likely to occasion, was almost beside herself with grief, but
she knew how vain it would be to attempt to interfere. The
poor girl, who was most ardently attached to La Bonte, was
carried, swooning, into the house, where all the women congregated, and were locked in by old Brand, who, himself an old pioneer,
thought but little of bloodshed, but refused to let the “women
folk” witness the affi-ay. Preliminaries arranged, the combatants took up their respective
positions at either end of a space marked for the purpose, at forty paces from each other. They were both armed with heavy rifles, and had the usual hunting-pouches, containing ammunition, hanging over the shoulder. Standing with the butts of their rifles on
the ground, they confronted each other, and the crowd drawingaway a few paces only on each side, left one man to give the word. This was the single word ” fire ;” and, after this signal was given, the combatants were at liberty to fire away until one
or the other dropped.
At the word, both the men quickly raised their rifles to the
shoulder, and, while the sharp cracks instantaneously rang, they were seen to flinch, as either felt the pinging sensation of a bullet entering his flesh. Regarding each other steadily for a few moments, the blood running down La Bonte’s neck from a woundunder the left jaw, while his opponent was seen to place his handonce to his right breast, as if to feel the position of his wound,
they commenced reloading their rifles. But, as Pete was in the
act of forcing down the ball with his long hickory wiping-stick,
he suddenly dropped his right arm—the rifle slipped from his grasp—and, reeling for a moment like a drunken man—he fell dead to the ground.
Even here, however, there was law of some kind or another,
and the consequences of the duel were, that the constables were
soon on the trail of La Bonte to arrest him. He easily avoided them, and taking to the woods, lived for several days in as wild a
state as the beasts he hunted and killed for his support. Tired of this, he at last resolved to quit the country, and betake
himself to the mountains, for which life he had ever felt an in- clination. When, therefore, he thought the oflicers of justice had grownslack in their search of him, and that the coast was comparatively
clear, he determined to start on his distant expedition to the FarWest.
Once more, before he carried his project into execution, he
sought and obtained a last interview with Mary Brand.
” Mary,” said he, ” I’m about to break. They’re hunting me
like a fall buck, and I’m bound to quit. Don’t think any more
about me, for I shall never come back.” Poor Mary burst into tears, and bent her head on the table near which she sat. When she again raised it, she saw La Bonte, his long rifle upon his shoulder, striding with rapid steps from the
house. Year after year rolled on, and he did not return.
CHAPTER III. A FEW days after his departure, La Bonte found himself at St. Louis, the emporium of the fur trade, and the fast-rising metropohs of the precocious settlements of the west. Here, a prey to the agony of mind which jealousy, remorse, and blighted love mixinto a very puchero of misery, he got into the company of certain “rowdies,” a class that every western city particularly abounds
in ; and, anxious to drown his sorrows in any way, and quite unscrupulous as to the means, he plunged into all the vicious ex- citements of drinking, gambling, and fighting, which form the
every-day amusements of the rising generation of St. Louis. Perhaps in no other part of the United States, where indeed humanity is frequently to be seen in many curious and unusual
phases, is there a population so marked in its general character,
and at the same time divided into such distinct classes, as in the above-named city. Dating, as it does, its foundation from yester- day—for what are thirty years in the growth of a metropolis ?
its founders are now scarcely passed middle Ufe, regarding with
astonishment the growing works of their hands ; and while gazing
upon its busy quays, piled with grain and other produce of the
west, its fleets of huge steamboats lying tier upon tier alongside the wharves, its well-stored warehouses, and all the bustling con- comitants of a great commercial depot, they can scarcely realize the memory of a few short years, when on the same spot nothing was to be seen but the miserable hovels of a French village—the only sign of commerce being the unwieldy bateaux of the Indian
traders, laden with peltries from the distant regions of the Platte
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 61 and Upper Missouri. Where now intelligent and wealthy merchants walk erect, in conscious substantiality of purse and credit, and direct the conunerce of a vast and well-peopled region, there
stalked but the other day, in dress of buckskin, the Indian trader of the west ; and all the evidences of life, mayhap, consisted of the eccentric vagaries of the different bands of trappers and hardy
mountaineers, who accompanied, some for pleasure and some ‘as escort, the periodically arriving bateaux, laden with the beaver
skins and buffalo robes collected during the season at the different trading posts in the Far West.
These, nevertheless, were the men whose hardy enterprise opened
to commerce and the plow the vast and fertile regions of the West. Rough and savage though they were, they were the true pioneers of that extraordinary tide of civilization which has poured its resistless current through tracts large enough for kings to govern, over a country now teeming with cultivation, where, a few short years ago, countless herds of buffalo roamed unmolested, where the bear and deer abounded, and the savage Indian skulked through
the woods and prairies, lord of the unappreciated soil that nowyields its prolific treasures to the spade and plow of civilized man. To the wild and half-savage trapper, who may be said to exemplify the energy, enterprise, and hardihood characteristic of the American people, divested of all the false and vicious glare
with which a high state of civihzation, too rapidly attained, has
obscured their real and genuine character, in which the above
traits are eminently prominent—to these men alone is due the empire of the West, destined in a few short years to become the most
important of those confederate states composing the mighty union
of North America.
Sprung, then, out of the wild and adventurous fur trade, St. Louis, still the emporium of that species of commerce, preserves even now, in the character of its population, many of the marked
peculiarities distinguishing its early founders, who were identified
with the primitive Indian in hardihood and instinctive wisdom
While the French portion of the population retain the thoughtless
levity and frivolous disposition of their original source, the Americans of St. Louis, who may lay claim to be native, as it were, are
as strongly distinguished for determination and energy of character
as they are for physical strength and animal courage ; and are re- markable, at the same time, for a singular aptitude in carrying out commercial enterprises to successful terminations, apparently in- compatible with the thirst of adventure and excitement which
forms so prominent a feature in their character. In St. Louis and
with her merchants have originated many commercial enterprises of gigantic speculation, not confined to the immediate locality or
to the distant Indian fur trade, but embracing all parts of the
continent, and even a portion of the Old World. And here it must be remembered that St. Louis is situated inland, at a dis- tance of upward of one thousand miles from the sea, and three thousand from the capital of the United States. Besides her merchants and upper class, who form a little aris- tocracy even here, a large portion of her population, still connected with the Indian and fur trade, preserve all their original characteristics, unacted upon by the influence of advancing civilization. There is, moreover, a large floating population of foreigners of all nations, who must possess no little amount of enterprise to be tempted to this spot, whence they spread over the remote western
tracts, still infested by the savage ; so that, if any of their blood
is infused into the native population, the characteristic energy and
enterprise is increased, and not tempered down by the foreign cross. But, perhaps, the most singular of the casual population are the mountaineers, who, after several seasons spent in trapping,
and with good store of dollars, arrive from the scene of their ad- ventures, wild as savages, determined to enjoy themselves for a
time, in all the gayety and dissipation of the western city. In
one of the back streets of the town is a tavern well known as the
*’ Rocky-Mountain House,” and hither the trappers resort, drink- ing and fighting as long as their money lasts, which, as they are generous and lavish as Jack Tars, is for a few days only. Such
scenes, both tragic and comic, as are enacted in the Rocky-Mountain House, are beyond the powers of pen to describe ; and when
a fandango is in progress, to which congregate the coquettish
belles from ” Vide Poche,” as the French portion of the suburb
is nicknamed, the grotesque endeavors of the bear-like mountaineers to sport a figtire on the light fantastic toe, and their in- sertions into the dance of the mystic jumps of Terpsichorean In- dians when engaged in the ” medicine” dances in honor of bear, of buffalo, or ravished scalp, are such startling innovations on the choreographic art as would make the shade of Gallini quake and
gibber in his pumps.
Passing the open doors and’ windows of the Mountain House,
the stranger stops short as the sounds of violin and bango twang
upon his ears, accompanied by extraordinary noises—sounding unearthly to the greenhorn listener, but recognized by the initiated as an Indian song roared out of the stentorian lungs of a mountaineer, who, patting his stomach with open hands to improve the
necessary shake, choruses the well-known Indian chant

Hi—Hi—Hi—Hi, Hi-i—Hi-i—Hi-i—Hi-i Hi-ya—hi-ya—hi-ya—hi-ya Hi-ya—hi-ya—hi-ya—hi-ya Hi-ya—hi-ya—hi—hi, &c., (Sec, &.C. and polishes off the high notes with a whoop which makes the
old wooden houses shake again, as it rattles and echoes down the
street. Here, over fiery “monaghahela,” Jean Batiste, the sallow half- breed voyageur from the north—and who, deserting the service of the ” North West” (the Hudson’s Bay Company), has come
dowii the Mississippi, from the ” Falls,” to try the sweets andliberty of ” free” trapping—hobnobs with a stalwart leather-clad “boy,” just returning from trapping on the waters of Grand River, on the western side the mountains, who interlards his mountainjargon with Spanish words picked up in Taos and California. In one corner a trapper, lean and gaunt from the starving regions of the Yellow Stone, has just recognized an old companyero, with
whom he hunted years before in the perilous country of the Blackfeet.” Why, John, old hos, how do you come on ?”
” What I Meek, old ‘coon ! I thought you were under I” One from Arkansas stalks into the center of the room, with a pack of cards in his hand, and a handful of dollars in his hat. Squatting cross-legged on a buffalo robe, he smacks down the money, and cries out—” Ho, boys, hyar’s a deck, and hyar’s the beaver (rattling the coin), who dar set his hos ? Wagh I” Tough are the yarns of wondrous hunts and Indian perils, of hairbreadth ‘scapes and curious ” fixes.” Transcendent are the
qualities of sundry rifles, which call these hunters masters ; ” plum”is the ” centre” each vaunted barrel shoots ; sufficing for a hundred wigs is the ” hair” each hunter has lifted from Indians’ scalps; multitudinous the “coups” he has “struck.” As they
drink so do they brag, first of their guns, their horses, and their squaws, and lastly of themselves : and when it comes to that, ” ware steel.” La Bonte, on his arrival at St. Louis, found himself one day
in no less a place than this ; and here he made acquaintance with an old trapper about to start for the mountains in a few days, to hunt on the head waters of Platte and Green Biver. With this man he resolved to start, and, having still some hundred dollars in cash, he immediately set about equipping himself for the ex
pedition. To effect this, he first of all visited the gun-store of Ilawken, whose rifles are renowned in the mountains, and ex-
changed his own piece, which was of very small bore, for a regular mountain rifle. This was of very heavy metal, carrying about
thirty-two balls to the pound, stocked to the muzzle, and mounted
with brass, its only ornament being a buffalo bull, looking exceedingly ferocious, which was not very artistically engraved upon the
trap in the stock. Here, too, he laid in a few pounds of powder
and lead, and all the necessaries for a long hunt. His next visit was to a smith’s store, which smith was black by trade and black by nature, for he was a nigger, and, moreover,
celebrated as being the best maker of beaver-traps in St. Louis,
and of him he purchased six new traps, paying for the same
twenty dollars ; procuring, at the same time, an old trap-sack,
made of stout buffalo skin, in which to carry them. We next find La Bonte and his companion—one Luke, better known as Gray-Eye, one of his eyes having been “gouged” in a mountain fray—at Independence, a little town situated on the
Missouri, several hundred miles above St. Louis, and within a
short distance of the Indian frontier. Independence may be termed the ” prairie port” of the western
country. Here the caravans destined for Santa Fe, and the in- terior of Mexico, assemble to complete their necessary equipment.
Mules and oxen are purchased, teamsters hired, and all stores and*
outfit laid in here for the long journey over the wide expanse of
prairie ocean. Here, too, the Indian traders and the Pwocky
Mountain trappers rendezvous, collecting in sufficient force to insure their safe passage through the Indian country. At the
seasons of departure and arrival of these bands, the little town
presents a lively scene of bustle and confusion. The wild and
dissipated mountaineers get rid of their last dollars in furious
orgies, treating all comers to galore of drink, and pledging each
other, in horns of potent whisky, to successful hunts, and ” heaps
of beaver.” When every cent has disappeared from their pouches,
the free trapper often makes away with rifle, traps, and animals,
to gratify his “dry” (for your mountaineer is never “thirsty”) ; and then, ” hos and beaver” gone, is necessitated to hire himselfto one of the leaders of big bands, and hypothecate his services
for an equipment of traps and animals. Thus La Bonte pickedup three excellent mules for a mere song, with their accompanying pack-saddles, apishmnores,’^ and lariats, and the next day,with Luke, “put out” for Platte. As they passed through the rendezvous, which was encampedon a little stream beyond the town, even our young Mississippianwas struck with the novelty of the scene. Upward of forty hugewagons, of Conostoga and Pittsburg build, and covered with snow-white tilts, were ranged in a semicircle, or rather a horse-shoe form, on the flat, open prairie, their long “tongues” (poles) pointing outward ; with the necessary harness for four pairs of mules,or eight yoke of oxen, lying on the ground beside them, spread in ready order for ” hitching up.” Round the wagons groups ofteamsters, tall, stalwart young Missourians, were engaged in busypreparation for the start ; greasing the wheels, fitting or repairingharness, smoothing ox-bows, or overhauling their own moderatekits or ” possibles.” They were all dressed in the same fashion : a pair of ” homespun” pantaloons, tucked into thick boots reach-ing nearly to the knee, and confined round the waist by a broadleathern belt, which supported a strong butcher-knife in a sheath. A coarse, checked shirt was their only other covering, with a fur cap on the head. Numerous camp-fires surrounded the wagons, and near themlounged wild-looking mountaineers, easily distinguished from the” greenhorn” teamsters by their dresses on)uckskin, and their weather-beaten faces. Without an exception, these were underthe influence of the rosy god ; and one, who sat, the picture ofmisery, at a fire by himself—staring into the blaze with vacant* Saddle-blanket made of buffalo-calf skiu.
countenance, his long matted hair hanging in unkempt masses
over his face, begrimed with the dirt of a week, and palhd with
the eflects of ardent drink—was suffering from the usual conse- quences of having ” kept it up” beyond the usual point, paying the penalty in a fit of ” horrors”—as deliriimi tremens is most aptly tenned by sailors and the unprofessional. In another part, the merchants of the caravan and the Indian
traders superintended the lading of the wagons, or mule packs.
They were dressed in civilized attire, and some were even be- dizened in St. Louis or Eastern City dandyism, to the infinite dis- gust of the mountain men, who look upon a burge-way (bourgeois)
with most undisguised contempt, despising the very simplest forms
of civilization. The picturesque appearance of the encampment
was not a little heightened by the addition of several Indians from
the neighboring Shawnee settlement, who, mounted on their small
active horses, on which they reclined, rather than sat, in negligent
attitudes, quietly looked on at the novel scene, indifferent to the “chaff” in which the thoughtless teamsters indulged at their ex- pense. Numbers of mules and horses were picketed at hand, while a large lierd of noble oxen were being driven toward the camp—the wo-ha of the teamsters sounding far and near, as they
collected the scattered beasts in order to yoke up. As most of the mountain men were utterly unable to move from camp, Luke and La Bonte, with three or four of the most sober, Started in company, intending to wait on ” Blue,” a stream which
runs into the Caw or Kanzas River, until the “balance” of the band came up. Mounting their mules, and leading the loose animals, they struck at once into the park-like prairie, and were
speedily out of sight of civilization. It was the latter end of May, toward the close of the season of heavy rains, which in early spring render the chmate of this country almost intolerable, at the same time that they fertilize and
thaw the soil, so long bound up by the winter’s frosts. The grass
. i was every where luxuriantly green, and gaudy flowers dotted thesurface of the prairie. This term, hoM^ever, should hardly be applied to the beautiful undulating scenery of this park-like country.Unlike the flat monotony of the Grand Plains, here well-woodeduplands, clothed with forest trees of every species, and picturesquedells, through which run clear bubbling streams belted with gay-blossomed shrubs, every where present themselves ; while on thelevel meadow-land, topes of trees with spreading foliage aflbrd ashelter to the game and cattle, and well-timbered knolls rise at in-tervals from the plain.
Many clear streams, dashing over their pebbly beds, intersectthe country, from which, in the noonday’s heat, the red-deer jump,shaking their wet sides, as the noise of approaching man disturbsthem ; and booming grouse rise from the tall luxuriant herbage atevery step. Where the deep escarpments of the river banks ex-hibit the section of the earth, a rich alluvial soil of surpassingdepth courts the cultivation of ciAdUzed man ; and in every featureit is evident that here nature has worked with kindliest and mostbountiful hand. For hundreds of miles along the western or right bank of theMissouri does a country extend, with which, for fertility andnatural resources, no part of Europe can stand comparison.Sufficiently large to contain -fan enormous population, it has, besides, every advantage of position, and all the natural capabilitieswhich should make it the happy abode of civilized man. Throughthis unpeopled country the United States pours her greedy thousands, to seize upon the barren territories of her feeble neighbor.
Camping the first night on ” Black Jack,” our mountaineershere cut each man a spare hickory wiping-stick for his rifle ; andLa Bonte, who was the only greenhorn of the party, witnessedasavage ebullition of rage on the part of one of his companions,exhibiting the perfect unrestraint which these men impose upontheir passions, and the barbarous anger which the slightest opposi-
tioii to their will excites. One of the trappers, on arriving at the camping-place, dismounted from his horse, and, after divesting it of the saddle, endeavored to lead his mule by the rope up to the
spot where he wished to deposit his pack. Mule-like, however,
the more he pulled the more stubbornly she remained in her tracks, planting her fore-legs firmly, and stretching out her neck with
provoking obstinacy. Truth to tell, it does require the temper of
a thousand Jobs to manage a miule ; and in no case does the willful mulishness of the animal stir up one’s choler more than in the very
trick this one played, and which is a daily occurrence. After tugging ineffectually for several minutes, winding the rope round
his bq^y, and throwing himself suddenly forward with all his strength, the trapper actually foamed Avith passion ; and although he might have subdued the animal at once by fastening the rope with a half-hitch round its nose, this, with an obstinacy equal to that of the mule itself, he refused to attempt, preferring to vanquish
her by main strength. Failing so to do, the mountaineer, with a voUy of blasphemous imprecations, suddenly seized his rifle, and
leveling it at the mule’s head, shot her dead. Passing the Wa-ka-rifeha, a well-timbered stream, they met a band of Osages going ” to buffalo.” These Indians, in common
with some tribes of the Pawnees, shave the head, with the ex- ception of a ridge from the forehead to the center of the scalp,
which is ” reached” or hogged like the mane of a mule, and stands
erecfr, plastered with unguents, and ornamented with feathers of
the hawk and turkey. The naked scalp is often painted in mosaic
with black and red, the face with shining vermilion. This band
were all naked to the breech-clout, the warmth of the sun having
made them throw their dirty blankets from their shoulders. These
Indians not unfrequently levy contributions on the strangers they
accidentally meet ; but they easily distinguish the determined mountaineer from the incautious greenhorn, and think it better to
let the former alone.
Crossing Vermilion, the trappers arrived on the fifth dayat” Blue,” where they encamped in the broad timber belting thecreek, and there awaited the arrival of the remainder of the party.It was two days before they came up ; but the following daythey started for the mountains, fourteen in number, striking a trailwhich follows the ” Big Blue” in its course through the prairies,which, as they advanced to the westward, gradually smoothedaway into a vast unbroken expanse of rolling plain. Herdsofantelope began to show themselves, and some of the hunters, leav-ing the trail, soon returned with plenty of their tender meat.The luxuriant but coarse grass they had hitherto seen nowchanged into the nutritious and curly buffalo grass, and theiranimals soon improved in appearance on the excellent pasture.In a few days, Avithout any adventure, they struck the PlatteRiver, its shallow waters (from which it derives its name) spreading over a wide and sandy bed, numerous sand bars obstructing thesluggish current, nowhere sufficiently deep to wet the forder’s knee.By this time, but few antelope having been seen, the party ranentirely out of meat ; and, one whole day and part of anotherhaving passed without so much as a stray rabbit presenting itself,not a few objurgations on the buffalo grumbled from the lips ofthe hunters, who expected ere this to have reached the landofplenty. La Bonte killed a fine deer, however, in the river bottom,after they had encamped, not one particle of which remained aftersupper that night, but which hardly took the rough edge off theirkeen appetites. Although already in the bufialo range, no tracesof these animals had yet been seen ; and as the country affordedbut little game, and the party did not care to halt and lose timein hunting for it, they moved along hungry and sulky, the themeof conversation being the well remembered merits of good bufialomeat—of “fat fleece,” “hump-rib,” and “tender-loin;” of deli-cious ” boudins,” and marrow bones too good to think of LaBonte had never seen the lordly animal, and consequently but half
believed the accounts of the mountaineers, who described their countless bands as covering the prairie far as the eye could reach,
and requiring days of travel to pass through ; but the visions of such dainty and abundant feeding as they descanted on set his mouth vi^atering, and danced before his eyes as he slept supperless,
night after night, on the banks of the hungry Platte. One morning he had packed his animals before the rest, and was riding a mile in advance of the party, when he saw on one
side the trail, looming in the refracted glare which mirages the
plains, three large dark objects without shape or form, which rose and fell in the exaggerated light like ships at sea. Doubting what
it could be, he approached the strange objects ; and as the refrac- tion disappeared before him, the dark masses assumed a more dis- tinct form, and clearly moved with life. A little nearer, and he made them out—they were buffalo. Thinking to distinguish himself, the greenhorn dismounted from his mule, and quickly hobbled
her, throwing his lasso on the ground to trail behind when he
wished to catch her. Then, rifle in hand, he approached the huge animals, and, being a good hunter, knew well to take advant- age of the inequalities of the ground and face the wind ; by which means he crawled at length to within forty yards of the buffalo, which quietly cropped the grass, unconscious of danger. Now,
for the first time, he gazed upon the noble beast he had so often heard of, and longed to see. With coal-black beard sweeping the ground as he fed, an enormous bull was in advance of the others^ his wild brilliant eyes peering from an immense mass of shaggy
hair, which covered his neck and shoulder. From this point his skin was smooth as one’s hand, a sleek and shining dun, and his
ribs were well covered with shaking flesh. While leisurely crop- ping the short curly grass he occasionally lifted his tail into the
air, and stamped his foot as a fly or musquito annoyed him—flap- ping the intruder with his tail, or snatching at the itching part
with his ponderous head.
When La Boiite had sufficiently admired the huffalo, he hfledhis rifle, and, taking steady aim, and certain of his mark, pulledthe trigger, expecting to see the huge beast fall over at the report. What was his surprise and consternation, however, to see theanimal only flinch when the ball struck him, and then gallopoff followed by the others, apparently unhurt. As is generallythe case with greenhorns, he had fired too high, ignorant thatthe only certain spot to strike a buffalo is but a few inchesabove the brisket, and that a higher shot is rarely fatal. Wlienhe rose from the ground, he saw all the party halting in full view of liis discomfiture ; and when he joined them, loudwere the laughs, and deep the regrets of the hungry at his first attempt.
However, they now knew that they were in the country ofmeat ; and a few miles farther, another band of stragglers pre-senting themselves, three of the hunters went in pursuit. La Bontetaking a mule to pack in the meat. He soon saw them crawlingtoward the band, and shortly two pufis of smoke, and the sharpcracks of their rifles, showed that they had got within shot ; andwhen he rode up, two fine buffaloes were stretched upon the ground.Now, for the first time, he was initiated in the mysteries of ” butcherino-.” He watched the hunters as they turned the carcass onthe belly, stretching out the legs to support it on each side. Atransverse cut was then made at the nape of the neck, and, gatherino- the long hair of the boss in one hand, the skin was separatedfrom the shoulder. It was then laid open from this point to thetail, along the spine, and then, freed from the sides and pulleddown to the brisket, but still attached to it, was stretched uponthe ground to receive the dissected portions. Then the shoulderwas severed, the fleece removed from along the back-bone, and thehump-ribs cut oft^ with a tomahawk. All this was placed uponthe skin ; and after the ” boudins” had been withdrawn from thestomach, and the tongue—a great dainty—taken from the head,
the meat was packed upon the mule, and the whole party hurried
to camp rejoicing.
There was merry-making in the camp that night, and the way
they indulged their appetites—or, in their own language, ” throw’ d”
the meat ” cold”—would have made the heart of a dyspeptic leap
for joy or burst with envy. Far into the ” still watches of the
tranquil night” the fat-clad ” depouille” saw its fleshy mass grow
small by degrees and beautifully less, before the trenchant blades
of the hungry mountaineers ; appetizing yards of well-browned
*’ boudin” slipped glibly down their throats ; rib after rib of tender hump was picked and flung to the wolves ; and when human
nature, with helpless gratitude, and confident that nothing of
super-excellent comestibility remained, was lazily wiping the greasy
knife that had done such good service—a skillful hunter was seen
to chuckle to himself as he raked the deep ashes of the fire, and
drew therefrom a pair of tongues so admirably baked, so soft, so sweet, and of such exquisite flavor, tha4 a vail is considerately
drawn over the effects their discussion produced in the mind of our greenhorn La Bonte, and the raptures they excited in the bosom of that, as yet, most ignorant mountaineer. Still, as he ate he wondered, and wondering admired, that nature, in giving him
Buch profound gastronomic powers, and such transcendent capa-

bilities of digestion, had yet bountifully provided an edible so peculiarly adapted to his ostrich-like appetite, that after consuming
nearly his own weight in rich and fat buffalo meat, he felt as easy and as little incommoded as if he had lightly supped on strawberries and cream. Sweet was the digestive pipe after such a feast ; soft was the
sleep and deep, which sealed the eyes of the contented trappers that night. It felt like the old thing, they said, to be once more among the “meat;” and, as they were drawing near the dangerous portion of the trail, they felt at home ; although they now
could never be confident, when they lay down at night upon their D
buffalo robes, of awaking again in this life, knowing as they did,
full well, that savage men lurked near, thirsting ibr their blood. However, no enemies showed themselves as yet, and they pro- ceeded quietly up the river, vast herds of buffaloes darkening the
plains around them, affording them more than abundance of thechoicest meat ; but, to their credit be it spoken, no more waskilled than was absolutely required—unlike the cruel slaughter
made by most of the white travelers across the plains, who wantonly destroy these noble animals, not even for the excitement of
sport, but in cold-blooded and insane butchery. La Bonte hadpracticed enough to perfect him in the art, and, before the buffalo range was passed, he was ranked as a first-rate hunter. Oneevening he had left the camp for meat, and was approaching aband of cows for that purpose, crawling toward them along thebed of a dry hollow in the prairie, when he observed them sud- denly jump toward him, and immediately afterward a score of mounted Indians appeared, whom, by their dress, he at once knewto be Pawnees and enemies. Thinking they might not discoverhim, he crouched down in the ravine ; but a noise behind causedhim to turn his head, and he saw some five or six advancing upthe bed of the dry creek, while several more were riding on thebluffs. The cunning savages had cut of his retreat to his mule,which he saw in the possession of one of them. His presence of mind,however, did not desert him ; and seeing at once that to remainwhere he was would be like being caught in a trap (as the Indianscould advance to the edge of the blufi and shoot him from above),he made for the open prairie, determined at least to sell his scalpdearly, and make “a good fight.” With a yell the Indianscharged, but halted when they saw the sturdy trapper deliberatelykneel, and, resting his rifle on the wiping-stick, take a steady aimas they advanced. Full well the Pawnees know to their cost, that a mountaineer seldom pulls his trigger without sending abullet to the mark ; and, certain that one at least must fall, they
hesitated to make the onslaught. Steadily the white retreated with his face to the foe, bringing the rifle to his shoulder the mstant that one advanced within shot, the Indians galloping
round, firing the few guns they had among them at long distances, but without effect. One young “brave,” more daring than the
rest, rode out of the crowd, and dashed at the hunter, throwing
himself, as he passed within a few yards, from the saddle, and
hanging over the opposite side of his horse, thus presenting no
other mark than his left foot. As he crossed La Bonte, he dis- , charged his bow from under his horse’s neck, and with such good
aim, that the arrow, whizzing through the air, struck the stock of the hunter’s rifle, which was at his shoulder, and, glancing off, pierced his arm, inflicting, luckily, but a slight wound. Again
the Indian turned in his course, the others encouraging him with
loud war-whoops, and, once more passing at still less distance, he
drew his arrow to the head. This time, however, the eagle eye
of the white detected the action, and suddenly rising from his knee
as the Indian approached (hanging by his foot alone over the
opposite side of the horse), he jumped toward the animal with out- stretched arms and a loud yell, causing it to start suddenly, and
swerve from its course. The Indian lost his foot-hold, and, after a fruitless struggle to regain his position, fell to the ground ; bat
instantly rose upon his feet and gallantly confronted the mountaineer, striking his hand upon his brawny chest and shouting a
loud whoop of defiance. In another instant the rifle of La Bonte had poured forth its contents ; and the brave savage, springing
into the air, fell dead to the ground, just as the other trappers,
who had heard the firing, galloped up to the spot. At sight of them the Pawnees, with yells of disappointed vengeance, hastily
retreated. That night La Bonte first lifted hair ! A few days later the mountaineers reached the point where the Platte divides into two great forks : the northern one, stretching
to the northwest, skirts the eastern base of the Black Hills, and
sweeping roiuid to the south rises in the vicinity of the mountain
valley called the New Park, receiving the Laramie, IMedicine Bow, and Sweet Water creeks. The other, or ” South Fork,”
strikes toward the mountains in a southwesterly direction, hugging the base of the main chain of the Rocky IMountains ; and,
fed by several small creeks, rises in the uplands of the Bayou Salade, near which is also the source of the Arkansas. To the forks of the Platte the .valley of that river extends from three to five miles on each side, inclosed by steep sandy bluffs, from the summitsof which the prairies stretch away in broad undulating expanse to the north and south. The ” bottom,” as it is termed, is but thinly covered with timber, the cotton-woods being scattered only hero and there ; but some of the islands in the broad bed of the stream
are well wooded, leading to the inference that the trees on the banks have been felled by Indians who formerly frequented the neighborhood of this river as a chosen hunting-groun.l. As, dur- mg the long winters, the pasture in the vicinity is scarce andwithered, the Indians feed their horses on the bark of the sweet
cotton-wood, upon which they subsist and even fatten. Thus,
wherever a village has encamped, the trunks of these trees strew
the ground, their upper limbs and smaller branches peeled of their bark, and looking as white and smooth as if scraped with a
knife. On the forks, however, the timber is heavier and of greater variety, some of the creeks being well Avooded with ash and cherry,
which break the monotony of the everlasting cotton-wood. Dense masses of buffalo still continued to darken the plains,
and numerous bands of wolves hovered round the outskirts of the vast herds, singling out the sick and wounded animals, and prey- ing upon such calves as the j’ifles and arrows of the hunters hadbereaved of their mothers. The white wolf is the invariable at- tendant upon the buffalo ; and when one of these persevering ani-
mals is seen, it is certain sign that buffalo are not far distant Besides the buffalo wolf, there are four distinct varieties common
to the plains, and all more or less attendant upon the buffalo. These are, the black, the gray, the brown, and last and least, the
coyote, or cayeute of the mountaineers, the ” icacli-unkiunanet^” or “medicine wolf” of the Indians, who hold the latter animal in reverential awe. This little wolf, whose fur is of great thickness and beauty, is of diminutive size, but wonderfully sagacious, making up by cunning what it wants in physical strength. In bands
of from three to thirty they not unfrequently station themselves
along the “runs” of the deer and the antelope, extending their
line for many miles—and the quarry being started, each wolf fol- lows in pursuit until tired, when it relinquishes the chase to another
relay, following slowly after until the animal is fairly run down, when
all hurry to the spot and speedily consume the carcass. The cayeute,
however, is often made a tool of by his larger brethren, unless, in- deed, he acts from motives of spontaneous charity. “When a hunter has slaughtered game, and is in the act of butchering it, these
little wolves sit patiently at a short distance from the scene of operations, while at a more respectful one the larger wolves (the
white or gray) lope hungrily around, licking their chops in hungry
expectation. Not unfrequently the hunter throws a piece of meat
toward the smaller one, who seizes it immediately, and runs off with the morsel in his mouth. Before he gets many yards with
his prize, the large wolf pounces with a growl upon him, and the
cayeute, dropping the meat, returns to his former position, and will continue his charitable act as long as the hunter pleases to supply
Wolves are so common on the plains and in the mountains,
that the hunter never cares to throw away a charge of ammunition upon them, although the ravenous animals are a constant
source of annoyance to him, creeping to the camp-fire at night,
and gnawing his saddles and apishainores, eating the skin ropes
which secure the horses and mules to their pickets, and even their very hobbles, and not unfrequently kilhng or entirely disabling the animals themselves. Round the camp, during the night, the cayeute keeps unremitting watch, and the traveler not unfrequently starts from his bed
with affright, as the mournful and unearthly chiding of the wolf
breaks suddenly upon his ear ; the long-drawn howl being taken up by others of the band, until it dies away in the distance, or some straggler passing within hearing answers to the note, and
howls as he lopes away.
Our party crossed the south fork about ten miles from its juncture Math the main stream, and then, passing the prairie, struck the north fork a day’s travel from the other. At the mouth of an
ash-timbered creek they came upon Indian ” sign,” and, as now
they were in the vicinity of the treacherous Sioux, they moved
along with additional caution. Frapp and Gonneville, two experienced mountaineers, always heading the advance. About noon they had crossed over to the left bank of the fork, intending to camp on a large creek where some fresh beaver
” sign” had attracted the attention of some of the trappers ; and
as, on further examination, it appeared that two or three lodges of that animal were not far distant, it was determined to remain
here a day or two and set their traps. Gonneville, old Luke, and La Bonte had started up the creek,
and were carefully examining the banks for ” sign,” when the for- mer, who was in front, suddenly paused, and looking intently up
the stream, held up his hand to his companions to signal them to
stop.Luke and La Bonte both followed the direction of the trapper’s intent and fixed gaze. The former uttered in a suppressed tone
the expressive exclamation, Wagh ! —the latter saw nothing but
a wood-duck swimming swiftly down the stream, followed by her downy progeny.
Gonnevile turned his head, and extending his arm twice with
a forward motion up the creek, whispered—” Les sauvages

” Injuns, sure, and Sioux at that,” answered Luke.
Still La Bonte looked, but nothing met his view but the duck
with her brood, now rapidly approaching ; and as he gazed, the
bird suddenly took wing, and flapping on the water, flew a short distance down the stream, and once more settled on it. ” Injuns ?” he asked ; ” where are they ?”
” Whar ?” repeated old Luke, striking the flint of his rifle, and
opening the pan to examine the priming. ” What brings a duck
a-streaking it down stream if humans ain’t behint her ? and who’s
thar in these diggins but Injuns, and the worst kind ? and we’d
better push to camp, I’m thinking, if we mean to save our hair.”
” Sign” sufficient indeed, it was to all the trappers, who, on
being apprized of it, instantly drove in their animals, and picketed
them ; and hardly had they done so when a band of Indians made
their appearance on the banks of the creek, from whence they galloped to the bluff which overlooked the camp at the distance of about six hundred yards ; and crowning this, in number some for- ty or more, commenced brandishing their spears and guns, and
whooping loud yells of defiance. The trappers had formed a little breastwork of their packs, forming a semicircle, the chord of which was made by the animals standing in a line, side by side, closely
picketed and hobbled. Behind this defense stood the mountaineers, rifle in hand, and silent and determined. The Indians pres- ently descended the bluff on foot, leaving their animals in charge of a few of the party, and, scattering, advanced under cover of the sage bushes which dotted the bottom, to about two hundred yards of. the whites. Then a chief advanced before the rest, and made
the sign for a talk with the Long-knives, which led to a consultation among the latter as to the policy of acceding to it. They
were in doubt as to the nation these Indians belonged to, some bands
of the Sioux being friendly, and others bitterly hostile to the whites.
Gonneville, who spoke the Sioux language, and was well ac- quainted with the nation, affirmed that they belonged to a band
called the Yanka-taus, well known to be the most evil-disposed of that treacherous nation ; another of the party maintained they were Brules, and that the chief advancing toward them was the well-known Tah-sha-tunga or Bull Tail, a most friendly chief of that tribe. The majority, however, trusted to Gonneville, and
he volunteered to go out to meet the Indian, and hear what he
had to say. Divesting himself of all arms save his butcher-knife,
he advanced toward the savage, who awaited his approach envel- oped in the folds of his blanket. At a glance he knew him to be a Yanka-tau, from the peculiar make of his moccasins, and the way in which his face was daubed with paint. ” Howgh I” exclaimed both as they met ; and, after a silence of a few moments, the Indian spoke, asking—” Why the Longknives hid behind their packs, when his band approached ? Were
they afraid; or were they preparing a dog-feast to entertain their friends ? The whites were passing through his country, burning
his wood, drinking his water, and killing his game ; but he knew
they had now come to pay for the mischief they had done, and
that the mules and horses they had brought with them were in- tended as a present to their red friends. ” He was Mah-to-ga-shane,” he said, ” the Brave Bear : his tongue was short, but his arm long ; and he loved rather to speak
with his bow and his lance than with the weapon of a squaw. Hehad said it : the Long-knives had horses with them and mules

and these were for him, he knew, and for his ‘ braves.’ Let the White-face go back to his people and return with the animals, or
he, the ‘ Brave Bear,’ would have to come and take them ; and
his young men would get mad, and would feel blood in their eyes ; and then he would have no power over them ; and the whites would
have to ‘ go under.’
” The trapper answered shortly.—” The Long-knives,” he said,
” had brought the horses for themselves—their hearts were big-, but not toward the Yanka-taus : and if they had to give up their animals, it would be to men and not squalen. They were not
* wah-keitcha,’* (French engages), but Long-knives ; and, however
short were the tongues of the Yanka-taus, theirs were still shorter, and their rifles longer. The Yanka-taus, were dogs and squaws, and the Long-knives spat upon them.” Saying this, the trapper turned his back and rejoined his companions ; wliile the Indian slowly proceeded to his people, who, on
learning the contemptuous way in which their threats had been
treated, testified their anger with loud yells ; and, seeking whatever
coyer was afibrded, commenced a scattering volley upon the camp
of the mountaineers. The latter reserv^ed their fire, treating with
cool indifl^erence the balls which began to rattle about them ; but
as the Indians, emboldened by this apparent inaction, rushed for a
closer position, and exposed their bodies within a long range, half- a-dozen rifles rang from the assailed, and two Indians fell dead, one or tM’o more being wounded. As yet, not one of the whites had been touched, but several of the animals had received wounds
from the enemies’ fire of balls and arrows. Indeed, the Indians re- mained at too great a distance to render the volleys from their crazy
fusees any thing like eflectual, and had to raise their pieces corfsi derably to make their bullets reach as far as the camp. After three
of their band had been killed outright, and many more wounded,
their fire began to slacken, and they drew off* to a greater distance,
evidently resolved to beat a retreat. Retiring to the bluff’, they dis- charged their pieces in a last volley, mounted their horses and galloped off’, carrying their wounded with them. This last volley,
however, although intended as a mere bravado, unfortunately proved
fatal to one of the whites. Gonneville, at the moment, was stand-
* The French Canadians are called wah-Tieitcha—”bad medicine”—by the Indians, who account them ti-eacherous and vindictive, and at the same time less daring than the American hunters.
82 L I F E I N T li E F A R W E S T .
ing on a pack to get an uninterrupted sight for a last shot, when
one of the random bullets struck him in the breast. La Bonte
caught him in his arms as he was about to fall, and laying the wounded trapper gently on the ground, stripped him of his buckskin hunting-frock, to examine the wound. A glance was suffi- cient to convince his companions that the blow was mortal. The
ball had passed through the lungs : and in a few moments the throat
of the wounded man swelled and turned to a livid blue color, as the choking blood descended. Only a few drops of purple blood
trickled from the wound—a fatal sign—and the eyes of the mountaineer were already glazing with death’s icy touch. His hand
still grasped the barrel of his rifle, M^iich had done good service in the li’ay. Anon he essayed to speak, but, choked with blood, only a few inarticulate words reached the ears of his companions, as they bent over him.
” Pvubbed—out—at—last,” they heard him say, the words
gurgling in his blood-filled throat ; and opening his eyes once more, and turning them upward for a last look at the bright sun, the trapper turned gently on his side and breathed his last sigh.
With no other tools than their scalp-knives, the hunters dug a grave on the banks of the creek ; and while some were engaged in
this work, others sought the bodies of the Indians they had slain in the attack, and presently returned with three reeking scalps, the
trophies of the fight. The body of the mountaineer was wrapped
in a buffalo robe, the scalps being placed on his breast, and the dead man was then laid in the shallow grave, and quickly covered
without a word of prayer, or sigh of grief; for, however much his companions may have felt, not a word escaped them. The bitten
lip and frowning brow told of anger rather than of sorrow, as they
vowed—what they thought would better please the spirit of the dead man than vain regrets—bloody and lasting revenge. Trampling down the earth which filled the grave, they raised upon it a pile of heavy stones ; and packing their mules once more
and taking a last look at their comrade’s lonely resting-place, they
turned their backs upon the stream, which has ever since been known as ” Gonneville’s Creek.”
If the reader casts his eye over any of the recent maps of the western country, which detail the features of the regions embracing the Rocky Mountains, and the vast prairies at their bases, he
will not fail to observe that many of the creeks or smaller streams which feed the larger rivers—as the Missouri, Platte, and Arkansas —are called by familiar proper names, both English and French,
These are invariably christened after some unfortunate trapper,
killed there in Indian fight ; or treacherously slaughtered by the
lurking savages, while engaged in trapping beaver on the stream. Thus alone is the memory of these hardy men perpetuated, at least of those whose fate is ascertained : for many, in every season, never
return from their hunting expeditions, but meet a sudden death from Indians, or a more lingering fate from accident or disease in some lonely gorge of the mountains, where no footfall save their own, or the heavy tread of grizzly bear, disturbs the unbroken
silence of the awful solitude. Then, as many winters pass without some old familiar faces making their appearance at the merry ren- dezvous, their long protracted absence may perhaps elicit a remark,
as to where such and such a mountain worthy can have betake^i
himself, to which the casual rejoinder of, ” Gone under, maybe,”
too often gives a short but certain answer. In all the philosophy of hardened hearts, our hunters turned from the spot where the unmourned trapper met his death. LaBonte, however, not yet entirely steeled by mountain life to a perfect
indifference to human feeling, drew his hard hand across his eye, as the unbidden tear rose from his rough but kindly heart. Hecould not forget so soon the comrade he had lost, the companion in the hunt or over the cheerful camp-fire, the narrator of many a
tale of dangers past, of sufferings from hunger, cold, thirst, and un- tended wounds, of Indian perils, and other vicissitudes. One tear
dropped from the young hunter’s eye, and rolled down his cheek
the last for many a long year. In the forks of the northern branch of the Platte, formed by the junction of the Laramie, they found a big village of the Sioux
encamped near the station of one of the fur companies. Here
the party broke up ; many, finding the alcohol of the traders an
impediment to their further progress, remained some time in the
vicinity, while La Bonte, Luke, and a trapper named Marcelline,
started in a few days to the mountains, to trap on Sweet Water
and Medicine Bow. They had leisure, however, to observe all the rascalities connected with the Indian trade, although at this season (August) hardly commenced. However, a band of Indians having come in with several packs of last year’s robes, and being
anxious to start speedily on their return, a trader from one of the
forts had erected his lodge in the village. Here he set to work immediately, to induce the Indians to trade.
First, a chief appoints three “soldiers” to guard the trader’s lodge
from intrusion ; and these sentries among the thieving fraternity can be invariably trusted. Then the Indians are invited to have
a drink—a taste of the fire-water being given to all to incite them
to trade. As the crowd presses upon the entrance to the lodge,
and those in rear become impatient, some large-mouthed savage who has received a portion of the spirit, makes his way, with his mouth full of the hquor and cheeks distended, through the throng,
and is instantly surrounded by his particular friends. Drawing
the face of each, by turns, near his own, he squirts a small quantity into his open mouth, until the supply is exhausted, when he
returns for more, and repeats the generous distribution. When paying for the robes, the traders, in measuring out the
liquor in a tin half-pint cup, thrust the thumb or the four fingers of the hand into the measure, in order that it may contain the less, or not unfrequently fill the bottom with melted buflalo fat, with
the same object. So greedy are the Indians, that they never dis-
cover the cheat, and, once under the influence of the hquor, can
not distinguish between the first cup of comparatively strong spirit, and the following ones diluted five hundred per cent., and poisonously drugged to boot. Scenes of drunkenness, riot, and bloodshed last until the trade is over. In the winter it occupies several weeks, during which period the Indians present the appearance, under the demoralizing influ- ence of the liquor, of demons rather than of men.
La Bonte and his companions proceeded up the river, the Black Hills on their left hand, from which several small creeks or feeders swell the waters of the North Fork. Along these they
hunted unsuccessfully for heaver ” sign,” and it was evident the
spring hunt had almost exterminated the animal in this vicinity.
Following Deer Creek to the ridge of the Black Hills, they crossed the mountain on to the waters of the Medicine Bow, and here they discovered a few lodges, and La Bonte set his first trap. He
and old Luke finding ” cuttings” near the camp, followed the “sign” along the bank until the practiced eye of the latter discov- ered a “slide,” where the beaver had ascended the bank to chop
the trunk of a cotton wood, and convey the bark to its lodge.
Taking a trap from “sack,” the old hunter, after setting the trig- ger, placed it carefully under the water, where the “slide” entered the stream, securing the chain to the stem of a sapling on the bank ; while a stick, also attached to the trap by a thong, floated down the stream, to mark the position of the trap, should the ani- mal carry it away. A little farther on, and near another ” run,”
three traps were set ; and over these Luke placed a little stick, which he first dipped into a mysterious-looking phial containing
his ” medicine.”*
The next morning they visited the traps, and had the satisfac- tion of finding three fine beaver secured in the first three they
visited, and the fourth, which had been carried away, they dis-
* A substance obtained from a gland in the scrotum of the beaver, and used to attract that animal to the trap.
covered by the float-stick, a little distance down th^ stream, with
a large drowned beaver betM’een its teeth. The animals being carefully skinned, they returned to camp
with the choicest portions of the meat, and the tails, on which
they most luxuriously supped ; and La Bonte was fain to conless that all his ideas of the super-excellence of buflalo were thrown iu the shade by the delicious beaver tail, the rich meat of which he was compelled to allow was “great eating,” unsurpassed by
” tender-loin” or ” boudin,” or other meat of whatever kind he had
eaten of before. The country where La Bonte and his companions were trapping,
is very curiously situated in the extensive bend of the Platte which
incloses the Black Hill range on the north, and which bounds the
large expanse of broken tract known as the Laramie Plains, their southern limit being the base of the Medicine Bow Mountains.
Fi’om thp northwestern corner of the bend, an inconsiderable range extends to the westward, gradually decreasing in height
until it reaches an elevated plain, which forms a break in llic stupendous chain of the Rocky Mountains, and aflbrds the easy passage now known as the Great, or South Pass. So gradual is the ascent of this portion of the mountain, that the traveler can
scarcely believe he is crossing the dividing ridge between the
M^aters which flow into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and that
in a few minutes he can fling two sticks into two neighboring
streams, one to be carried thousands of miles, traversed by the
eastern waters in their course to the Gulf of Mexico, the other to be borne a lesser distance to the Gulf of California. The country is frequented by the Crows and Snakes, who are
at perpetual war with the Shians and Sioux, following them ofien
far down the Platte, where many bloody battles have taken place.
The Crows are esteemed friendly to the whites ; but when on war expeditions, and “hair” their object, it is always dangerous
to fall in with Indian war-parties, and particularly in the remote
regions of the mountains, where they do not anticipate retalia- tion.Trapping with tolerable success in this vicinity, the hunters
crossed over, as soon as the premonitory storms of approaching
winter warned them to leave the mountains, to the waters of Green River, one of the affluents of the Colorado, intending to winter at a rendezvous to be held in ” Brown’s Hole”—an in- closed valley so called—which, abounding in game, and sheltered on every side by lofty mountains, is a favorite wintering-ground of the mountaineers. Here they found several trapping bands already
arrived ; and a trader from the Uintah country, with store of powder, lead, and tobacco, prepared to ease them of their hardly- earned peltries. Singly, and in bands numbering from two to ten, the trappers
dropped into the rendezvous ; some with many pack-loads of beaver, others with greater or less quantity, and more than one on
foot, having lost his animals and peltry by Indian thieving. Here
were soon congregated many mountaineers, whose names are famous in the history of the Far West. Fitzpatrick and Hatcher,
and old Bill Williams, well known leaders of trapping parties, soon arrived with their bands. Sublette came in with his men
from Yellow Stone, and many of Wyeth’s New Englanders were
there. Chabonard with his halfbreeds, Wah-keitchas all, brought
his peltries from the lower country ; and half-a-dozen Shawnee
and Delaware Indians, with a Mexican from Taos, one Marcelline, a fine strapping fellow, the best trapper and hunter in the mountains, and ever first in the fight. Here, too, arrived the ” Bourgeois” traders of the ” North West” * Company, with their superior equipments, ready to meet their trappers, and purchase the beaver at an equitable value ; and soon the trade opened, and the encampment assumed a busy appearance. A curious assemblage did the rendezvous present, and represent-
* The Hudson’s Bay CJompany is so called by the American trappers.
atives of many a land met there. A son of La belle France here
Ht his pipe from one proffered by a native of New Mexico. AnEngUshman and a Sandwich Islander cut a quid from the same
plug of tobacco. A Swede and an ” old Virginian” puffed to- gether. A Shawnee blew a peaceful cloud with a scion of the
** Six Nations.” One from the Land of Cakes—a canny chiel
sought to ” get round” (in trade) a right ” smart” Yankee, but
couldn’t ” shine.” The beaver went briskly, six dollars being the price paid per lb. in goods—for money is seldom given in the mountain market,
where ” beaver” is cash, for which the articles supplied by the
traders are bartered. In a very short time peltries of every description had changed hands, either by trade, or by gambling with
cards and betting. With the mountain men bets decide every
question that is raised, even the most trivial ; and if the Editor
of BelVs Life were to pay one of these rendezvous a winter visit, he would find the broad sheet of his paper hardly capacious enough
to answer all the questions which would be referred to his decision. Before the winter was over, La Bonte had lost all traces of
civilized humanity, and might justly claim to be considered as
” hard a case” as any of the mountaineers then present. Long
before the spring opened, he had lost all the produce of his hunt
and both his animals, which, however, by a stroke of luck, he re- covered, and wisely ” held on to” for the future. Right glad when
spring appeared, he started from Brown’s Hole, with four companions, to hunt the Uintah or Snake country, and the affluents of the larger streams which rise in that region and fall into the Gulf
of California. In the valley of the Bear River they found beaver abundant,
and trapped their way westward until they came upon the famed
locality of the Beer and Soda Springs—natural fountains of mineral water, renowned among the trappers as being ” medicine” of the first order.
Arriving one evening, about sun-down, at the Bear Spring, they found a soHtary trapper sitting over the rocky basin, intently re- garding, with no Uttle awe, the curious phenomenon of the bub- bhng gas. Behind him were piled his saddles and a pack of skins, and at a little distance a hobbled Indian pony fed among the
cedars which formed a grove round the spring. As the three hunters dismounted from their animals, the lone trapper scarcely noticed their arrival, his eyes being still intently fixed upon the
water. Looking round at last, he was instantly recognized by one
of La Bonte’s companions, and saluted as ‘*01d Rube.” Dressed from head to foot in buckskin, his face, neck, and hands appeared
to be of the same leathery texture, so nearly did they assimilate
in color to the materials of his dress. He was at least six feet two or three in his moccasins, straight-limbed and wiry, with long arms ending in hands of tremendous grasp, and a quantity of
straight black hair hanging on his shoulders. His features, which
were undeniably good, wore an expression of comical gravity, never
relaxing into a smile, which a broad good-humored mouth could have grinned from ear to ear. ” What, boys,” he said, ” will you be simple enough to camp
here, alongside these springs ? Nothing good ever came of sleeping here, I tell you, and the worst kind of devils are in those dancing waters.”
” Why, old hos,” cried La Bonte, ” what brings you hyar then,
and camp at that ?” “This niggur,” answered Rube, solemnly, ”has been down’d
upon a sight too often to be skeared by what can come out from
them waters ; and thar arn’t a devil as hisses thar, as can ‘ shine’ with this child, I tell you. I’ve tried him onest, an’ fout him to clawin’ away to Eustis,* and if I draws my knife again on such
varmint, I’ll raise his hair, as sure as shootin.’ ”
* A snaall lake near the head waters of the Yellow Stone, near which are some
curious thermal springs of ink-black water.
Spite of the reputed dangers of the locality, the trappers camped
on the spot, and many a draught of the delicious, sparkling water
they quaffed in honor of the ” medicine” of the fount. Rube,
however, sat sulky and silent, his huge form bending over his legs, which were crossed, Indian fashion, under him, and his long bony
fingers spread over the fire, which had been made handy to the
spring. At last they elicited from him that he had sought this spot for the purpose of ” tnaking medicine,” having been perse- cuted by extraordinary ill luck, even at this early period of his hunt—the Indians having stolen two out of his three animals, and
three of his half-dozen traps. He had, therefore, sought the
springs for the purpose of invoking the fountain spirits, which, a
perfect Indian in his simple heart, he implicitly believed to inhabit
their mysterious waters. When the others had, as he thought,
fallen asleep. La Bonte observed the ill-starred trapper take from
his pouch a curiously carved red stone pipe, which he carefully
charged with tobacco and kinnik-kinnil^. Then approachii^ the
spring, he walked three times round it, and gravely sat himself down. Striking fire with his flint and steel, he lit his pipe, and,
bending the stem three several times toward the water, he inhaled a vast quantity of smoke, and bending back his neck and looking
upward, puffed it into the air. He then blew another puff’ toward
the four points of the compass, and emptying the pipe into his hand, cast the consecrated contents into the spring, saying a few
Indian ” medicine” words of cabalistic import. Having performed
the ceremony to his satisfaction, he returned to the fire, smoked a
pipe on his own hook, and turned into his buffalo robe, conscious of having done a most important duty. In the course of their trapping expedition, and accompanied by
Rube, who knew the country well, they passed near the Great
Salt Lake, a vast inland sea, whose salitrose waters cover an ex- tent of upward of one hundred and forty miles in length, by eighty
in breadth. Fed by several streams, of which the Big Bear
River is the most considerable, this lake presents the curious pheno- menon of a vast body of M^ater without any known outlet. According to the trappers, an island, from which rises a chain of lofty mountains, nearly divides the northwestern portion of the lake, while a smaller one, within twelve miles of the northern shore,
rises six hundred feet from the level of the water. Rube declared
to his companions that the larger island was known by the Indians
to be inhabited by a race of giants, with whom no communication had ever been held by mortal man ; and but for the casual wafting to the shores of the lake of logs of gigantic trees, cut by
axes of extraordinary size, the world would never have knoMai that such a people existed. They were, moreover, white as themselves,
and lived upon corn and fruits, and rode on elephants, &c. While following a small creek at the southwest extremity of the lake, they came upon a band of miserable Indians, who, from
the fact of their subsisting chiefly on roots, are called the Diggers.
At first sight of the whites they immediately fled from their wretched huts, and made toward the mountain ; but one of the trappers,
galloping up on his horse, cut off their retreat, and drove them like sheep before him back to their village. A few of these wretched
creatures came into camp at sundown, and were regaled with such meat as the larder afforded. They appeared to have no other food
in their village but bags of dried ants and their larvae, and a few
roots of the yampah. Their huts were constructed of a few bushes
of grease-wood, piled up as a sort of bretkwind, in which they huddled in their filthy skins. During the night, they crawled up
to the camp and stole two of the horses, and the next morning not a sign of them was visible. Now La Bonte witnessed a case of mountain law, and the practical etTects of the ” lex talionis” of the Far West. . The trail of the runaway Diggers bore to the northwest, or along the skirt of a barren waterless desert, which stretches fai away from the southern shores of the Salt Lake to the borders of
Upper California. La Bonte, with three others, determined to follow the thieves, recover their animals, and then rejoin the other
tvv’o (Luke and Rube) on a creek two days’ journey from their present camp. Starting at sunrise, they rode on at a rapid pace all day, closely following the trail, which led directly to the northwest,
through a wretched sandy country, without game or water. From
the appearance of the track, the Indians must still have been sev- eral hours ahead of them, when the fatigue of their horses, suffering from want of grass and water, compelled them to camp near the head of a small Water-course, where they luckily found a hole con- taining a little water, whence a broad Indian trail passed, apparently frequently used. Long before daylight they were again in the saddle, and, after proceeding a few miles, saw the lights of
several fires a short distance ahead of them. Halting here, one of the party advanced on foot to reconnoiter, and presently returned with the intelligence that the party that they were in pursuit of had joined a village numbering thirty or forty huts. Loosening their girths, they permitted their tired animals to feed Dn the scanty herbage which presented itself, while they refreshed themselves with a pipe of tobacco—for they had no meat of any
description with them, and the country afforded no game. As the
first streak of dawn appeared in the east, they mounted their
horses, after first examining their rifles, and moved cautiously
toward the Indian village. As it was scarcely light enough for their operations, they waited behind a sandhill in the vicinity, until objects became more distinct, and then, emerging from their cover with loud war-whoops, they charged abreast mto the midst
of the village.
As the frightened Indians were scarcely risen from their beds, no
opposition was given to the daring mountaineers, who, rushing upon
the flying crowd, discharged their rifles at close quarters, and then,
springing from their horses, attacked them knife in hand, and only ceased the work of butchery when nine Indians lay dead upon the
ground. All this time the women, half dead with fright, werehuddled together on the ground, howling piteously ; and the mountaineers advancing to them, whirled their lassos round their heads,and throwing the open nooses into the midst, hauled out three ofthem, and securing their arms in the rope, bound them to a tree, andthen proceeded to scalp the dead bodies. While they were en-gaged in this work, an old Indian, withered and grisly, and hardlybigger than an ape, suddenly emerged from a rock, holding in hisleft hand a bow and a handful of arrows, while one was alreadydrawn to the head. Running toward them^ and almost before thehunters were aware of his presence, he discharged an arrow at afew yards’ distance, which buried itself in the ground not a footfrom La Bonte’s head as he bent over the body of the Indian hewas scalping ; and hardly had the whiz ceased, when whirr flewanother, striking him in his right shoulder. Before the Indiancould fit a third arrow to his bow. La Bonte sprang upon him,seized him by the middle, and spinning his pigmy form round hishead, as easily as he would have twirled a tomahawk, he threwhim with tremendous force upon the ground at the feet of one ofhis companions, who, stooping down, coolly thrust the knife into theIndian’s breast, and quickly tore ofi” his scalp.
The slaughter over, without casting an eye to the captivesquaws, the trappers proceeded to search the village for food, ofwhich they stood much in need. Nothing, however, was foundbut a few bags of dried ants, which, after eating voraciously of, but with wry mouths, they threw aside, saying the food wasworse than “poor bull.” They found, however, the animals theyhad been robbed of, and two more besides—wretched, half-starvedcreatures ; and on these mounting their captives, they hurriedaway on their journey back to their companions, the distancebeing computed at three days’ travel from their present position.However, they thought, by taking a more direct course, they mightfind better pasture for their animals, and water, besides saving at
least half a day by the short cut. To their cost they proved the
old saying, that ” a short cut is always a long road,” as will be
presently shown.
It has been said that from the southwestern extremity of the Great Salt Lake, a vast desert extends for hundreds of miles, un- broken by the slightest vegetation, destitute of game and water,
and presenting a cheerless expanse of sandy plain, or rugged
mountain, thinly covered with dwarf pine or cedar, the only evi- dence of vegetable life. Into this desert, ignorant of the country, the trappers struck, intending to make their short cut ; and, trav- eling on all day, were compelled to camp at night, without water
or pasture for their exhausted animals, and themselves ravenous with hunger and parched with thirst. The next day three of
their animals “gave out,” and. they were fain to leave them be- hind ; but imagining that they must soon strike a creek, they
pushed on until noon, but still no water presented itself, nor a sign of game of any description. The animals were nearly exhausted,
and a horse which could scarcely keep up with the slow pace of
the others was killed, and its blood greedily drunk ; a portion of the flesh being eaten raw, and a supply carried with them for future emergencies.
The next morning two of the horses lay dead at their pickets,
and one only remained, and this in such a miserable state that it could not possibly have traveled six miles further. It was, therefore, killed, and its blood drunk, of which, however, the captive
squaws refused to partake. The men began to feel the effects of
their consuming thirst, which the hot horse’s blood only served
to increase ; their lips became parched and swollen, their eyes
bloodshot, and a giddy sickness seized them at intervals. About
mid-day they came in sight of a mountain on their right hand,
which appeared to be more thickly clothed with vegetation ; and
arguing from this that water would be found there, they left their course and made toward it, although some eight or ten
miles distant. On arriving at tlie base, the most minute search
failed to discover the slightest traces of water, and the vegetation
merely consisted of dwarf piiion and cedar. With their sufferings increased by the exertions they had used in reaching the mountain,
they once more sought the trail, but every step told on their ex- hausted frames. The sun was very powerful, the sand over which
they floundered was deep and heavy, and, to complete their suffer- ings, a high wind blew it in their faces, filling their mouths and
noses with its searching particles.
Still they struggled onward manfully, and not a murmur washeard until their hunger had entered the second stage upon the road to starvation. They had now been three days without food
or water ; under which privation nature can hardly sustain herself for a much longer period. On the fourth morning the menlooked wolfish, their captives following behind in sullen and perfect indifference, occasionally stooping down to catch a beetle if one presented itself, and greedily devouring it. A man namedForey, a Canadian half-breed, was the first to complain. ” If
this lasted another sundown,” he said, ” some of them would ‘ be
rubbed out ;’ that meat had to be raised anyhow ; and for his
part, he knew where to look for a feed, if no game was seen before they put out of camp on the morrow ; and meat was meat,
anyhow they fixed it.” No answer was made to this, though his companions well understood him : their natures as yet revolted against the last expedient. As for the three squaws, all of them young girls, they
followed behind their captors without a word of complaint, arid with the stoical indifference to pain and suffering which alike characterizes the haughty Delaware of the north, and the miserable, stunted Digger of the deserts of the Far West. On the morning of the fifth day, the party were seated round a small fire of
piiion, hardly able to rise and commence their journey, the squaws
squatting over another at a little distance, when Forey commenced
again to suggest that, if nothing ofiered, they must either take the
alternative of starvmg to death, for they could not hope to last another day, or have recourse to the revolting extremity of sacri- ficing one of the party to save the lives of all. To this, however,
there was a murmur of dissent, and it was finally resolved that
all should sally out and hunt ; for a deer track had heen dis- covered near the camp, which, although it was not a fresh one, proved that there must be game in the vicinity. Weak and ex- hausted as they were, they took their rifles and started for the neighboring uplands, each taking a different direction. It was nearly sunset when La Bonte returned to the camp,
where he already espied one of his companions engaged in cooking
something over the fire. Hurrying to the spot, overjoyed with
the anticipations of a feast, he observed that the squaws were
gone ; but, at the same time thought it was not improbable they
had escaped during their absence. Approaching the fire, he ob- served Forey broiling some meat on the embers, while at a little distance lay what he fancied was the carcass of a deer.
” Hurrah, boy I” he exclaimed, as he drew near the fire. ” You’ve ‘ made’ a ‘ raise,’ I see.”
” Well, T have,” rejoined the other, turning his meat with the
point of his butcher knife. ” There’s the meat, hos—help yourself.”

La Bonte drew the knife from his scabbard, and approached
the spot his companion was pointing to ; but what was his horror
to see the yet quivering bt>dy of one of the Indian squaws, with a
large portion of the flesh butchered from it, part of which Forey was already greedily devouring. The knife dropped from his hand, and his heart rose to his throat. The next day he and his companion struck the creek where
Rube and the other trapper had agreed to await them, and found them in camp with plenty of meat, and about to start again on
their hunt, having given up the others for lost. From the day
they parted, nothing was ever heard of La Bonte’s other two E
companions, who doubtless fell a prey to utter exhaustion, andwere unable to return to the camp. And thus ended the Digger
It may appear almost incredible that men having civilized olood in their veins could perpetrate such wanton and cold- blooded acts of aggression on the wretched Indians, as that detailed above ; but it is a fact that the mountaineers never lose anopportunity of slaughtering these miserable Diggers, and attack- ing their villages, often for the purpose of capturing women, whomthey carry off, and not unfrequently sell to other tribes, or to each
other. In these attacks neither sex nor age is spared ; and your mountaineer has as little compunction in taking the life of anIndian woman, as he would have in sending his rifle-ball through
the brain of a Crow or Blackfoot warrior. La Bonte now found himself without animals, and fairly ” afoot ;” consequently nothing remained for him but to seek someof the trapping bands, and hire himself for the hunt. Luckily for him, he soon fell in with Roubideau, on his way to Uintah, andwas supplied by him with a couple of animals ; and thus equipped, he started again with a large band of trappers, who were going to hunt on the waters of Grand River and the Gila. Here they fell in with another nation of Indians, from which branch out the innumerable tribes inhabiting Northern Mexico and part of
California. They were in general friendly, but lost no opportunity
of stealing horses or any articles left lying about the camp. Onone occasion, the trappers being camped on a northern affluent of the Gila, a volley of arrows was discharged among them, severely
wounding one or two of the party, as they sat round the campfires. The attack, however, was not renewed, and the next day
the camp was moved further down the stream, where beaver wastolerably abundant. Before sundown a number of Indians madetheir appearance, and making signs of peace, were admitted into the camp.
The trappers were all sitting at their suppers over the fires, the Indians looking gravely on, when it was remarked that now would
be a good opportunity to retaliate upon them for the trouble their incessant attacks had entailed upon the camp. The suggestion was highly approved of, and instantly acted upon. Springing to their feet, the trappers seized their rifles, and commenced the
slaughter. The Indians, panic-struck, fled without resistance, and
numbers fell before the death-dealing rifles of the mountaineers. A chief, who had been sitting on a rock near the fire where the
leader of the trappers sat, had been singled out by the latter as the first mark for his rifle. Placing the muzzle to his heart, he pulled the trigger, but the
Indian, with extraordinary tenacity of life, rose and grappled with
his assailant. The white was a tall, powerful man, but, notwithstanding the deadly wound the Indian had received, he had his equal in strength to contend against. The naked form of the Indian twisted and writhed in his grasp, as he sought to avoid the
trapper’s uplifted knife. Many of the latter’s companions advanced
to administer the coiqxie-grdce to the savage, but the trapper
cried to them to keep off’; ‘* If he couldn’t whip the Injun,” he
said, “he’d go under.” At length he succeeded in throwing him, and, plunging his knif^ no less than seven times into his body, he tore off’ his scalp, and
w^ent in pursuit of the flying savages. In the course of an hour or two, all the party returned, and sitting by the fires, resumed their suppers, which had been interrupted in the manner just described. Walker, the captain of the band, sat down by the fire where he had been engaged in the struggle with the Indian chief, whose
body was lying within a few paces of it. He was in the act of
fighting the battle over again to one of his companions, and was
saying that the Indian had as much life in him as a buffalo bull, when, to the horror of all present, the savage, who had received wounds sufi5cient for twenty deaths, suddenly rose to a sitting
posture, the fire shedding a glowing light upon the horrid spectacle.
The face was a mass of clotted blood, which flowed from the
lacerated scalp, while gouts of blood streamed from eight gaping
wounds in the naked breast. Slowly this frightful figure rose to a sitting posture, and, bending
slowly forward to the fire, the mouth was seen to open wide, and a
hollow gurgling—owg-h-h—broke from it. ” H— I” exclaimed the trapper—and jumping up, he placed a
pistol to the ghastly head, the eyes of which sternly fixed themselves on his, and pulling the trigger, blew the poor wretch’s skull to atoms. The Gila passes through a barren, sandy country, with but little game, and sparsely inhabited by several different tribes of the great nation of the Apache. Unlike the rivers of this western
region, this stream is, in most parts of its course, particularly
toward its upper waters, entirely bare of timber, and the bottom,
through which it runs, aflbrds but little of the coarsest grass. While on this stream, the trapping party lost several animals for want of pasture, and many more from the predatory attacks of the cunning Indians. These losses, however, they invariably madegood whenever they encountered a native village—taking care, moreover, to repay themselves with interest whenever occasion
offered. Notwithstanding the sterile nature of the country, the trappers,
during their passage up the Gila, saw with astonishment that the
arid and barren valley had once been peopled by a race of men far superior to the present nomade tribes who roam over it. With no
little awe they gazed upon the ruined walls of large cities, and the remains of houses, with their ponderous beams and joists, still testifying to the skill and industry with which they were constructed ; huge ditches and irrigating canals, now filled with rank
vegetation, furrowed the plains in the vicinity, marking the spot
where once green waving maize and smiling gardens covered what
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 101 now is a bare and sandy desert. Pieces of broken pottery, of domestic utensils, stained with bright colors, every where strewed
the ground ; and spear and arrow-heads of stone, and quaintly carved idols, and women’s ornaments of agate and obsidian, were
picked up often by the wondering trappers, examined with childlike curiosity, and thrown carelessly aside.

A Taos Indian, who was among the band, was evidently impressed with a melancholy awe, as he regarded these ancient mon- uments of his fallen people. At midnight he arose from his blan- ket and left the camp, which was in the vicinity of the ruined
city, stealthily picking his way through the line of slumbering
forms which lay around ; and the watchful sentinel observed him
approach the ruins with a slow and reverential gait. Entering
the moldering walls, he gazed silently around, where in ages past
his ancestors trod proudly, a civilized race, the tradition of which,
well known to his people, served but to make their present de- graded position more galling and apparent. Cowering under the shadow of a crumbling wall, the Indian drew his blanket over his head, and conjured to his mind’s eye the former power and gran- deur of his race—that warlike people who, forsaking their owncountry for causes of which no tradition, however dim, now exists, sought in the fruitful and teeming valleys of tha south a soil and
climate which their own lands did not afford ; and, displacing the wild and barbarous hordes inhabiting tlie land, raised there a mighty empire, great in riches and civihzation. The Indian bowed his head, and mourned the fallen greatness
of his tribe. Rising, he slowly, drew his tattered blanket round
his body, and prepared to leave the spot, when the shadow of a moving figure, creeping past a gap in the ruined wall, through
* Tlie Aztecs are supposed to have built this city during their migration to the south ; there is little doubt, however, but that the region extending from the Gila
to the Great Salt Lake, and embracing the province of New^ Mexico, was the
locality from which they emigrated.
which the moonbeams played, suddenly arrested his attention. Rigid as a statue, he stood transfixed to the spot, thinking a for- mer inhabitant of the city was visiting, in a ghostly form, the
scenes his body once knew so well. The bow in his right hand
shook with fear as he saw the shadow approach, but was as tightly
and steadily grasped when, on the figure emerging from the shade
of the wall, he distinguished the form of a naked Apache, armed
M’ith bow and arrow, crawling stealthily through the gloomy
ruins. Standing undiscovered within the shadow of the wall, the Taos
raised his bow, and di*ew an arrow to the head, until the other, who was bending low to keep under cover of the wall, and thus approach the sentinel standing at a short distance, seeing suddenly
the Avell-defined shadow on the ground, rose upright on his legs, and, knowing escape was impossible, threw his arms do\Mi his
sides, and, drawing himself erect, exclaimed, in a suppressed tone, ” Wa-g-h !” ” Wagh I” exclaimed the Taos likewise, but quickly dropped
his arrow point, and eased the bow.
” What does my brotlier want ?” he asked, ” that he lopes lilce a wolf round the fires of the white hunters ?”
” Is my brother’s skin not red ?” returned the Apache, ” and
yet he asks a question that needs no answer. Why does the
‘ medicine wolf ibllow the bufialo and deer ? For blood—and
for blood the Indian follows the treacherous white from camp to camp, to strike blow for blow, until the deaths of those so basely
killed are fully avenged.”
*’ My brother speaks with a big heart, and his words are true ; and though the Taos and Pimo (Apache) black their faces toward
each other (are at war), here, on the graves of their common
fathers, there is peace between them. Let my brother go
” The Apache moved quickly away, and the Taos once more
sought the camp-fn-es of his white companions.
Followirijr the course of the Gila to the eastward, they crossed a range of the Sierra xMadre, which is a continualiori of the llocky
Mountains, and struck the waters of the Rio Del Norte, below
the settlements of New Mexico. On this stream they fared well, besides trapping a great quantity of beaver ; game of all kinds
aboiirided, and the bluffs near the well-timbered banks of the river were covered with rich gramma grass, on which their half-starved animals speedily improved in condition. They remained for some weeks encamped on the right bank of the stream, during which period they lost one of their number,
shot with an arrow while lying asleep within a few feet of the
The Navajos continually prowl along that portion of the
river which runs through the settlements of New Mexico, preying
upon the cowardly inhabitants, and running off with their cattle whenever they are exposed in sufficient numbers to tempt thera. While ascending the river, the trappers met a party of these In- dians returning to their mountain homes with a large band of mules
and horses which they had taken from one of the Mexican towns,
besides several women and children, whom they had captured, as
slaves. The main body of the trappers halting, ten of tho band
followed and charged upon the Indians, who numbered at least
sixty, killed seven of them, and retook the prisoners and the whole
cavallada of horses and mules. Great were the rejoicings whenthey entered Socorro, the town whence the women and children had been taken, and as loud the remonstrances, when, handing
them over to their famihes, the trappers rode on, driving fifty of the best of the rescued animals before them, which they retained
as payment for their services. Messengers were sent on to Albuquerque with intelligence of the proceeding ; and as troops were
.stationed there, the commandant was applied to, to chastise the
insolent whites. That warrior, on learning that the trappers numbered less than
fifteen, became alarmingly brave, and ordering out the whole of his disposable force, some tM’o hundred dragoons, sallied out to inter- cept the audacious mountaineers. About noon one day, just as the latter had emerged from a little town between Socorro and
Albuquerque, they descried the imposing force of the dragoons
winding along a plain ahead. As the trappers advanced, the
officer in command halted his men, and sent out a trumpeter to order the former to await his coming. Treating the herald to a
roar of laughter, on they w^ent, and, as they approached the sol- diers, broke into a trot, ten of the number forming a line ui front of the packed and loose animals, and, rifle in hand, charging with
loud whoops. This was enough for the New Mexicans. Before
the enemy were within shooting distance, the gallant fellows turned tail, and splashed into the river, dragging themselves up
the opposite bank like half-drowned rats, and saluted with loud
peals of laughter by the victorious mountaineers, who, firing a vol- ley into the air, in token of supreme contempt, quietly continued
their route up the stream. Before reaching the capital of the province, they struck again
to the westward, and following a small creek to its junction with
the Green Biver, ascended that stream, trapping e7i route to the Uintah or Snake Fork, and arrived at Roubideau’s rendezvous
early in the fall, where they quickly disposed of their peltries, and were once more on ” the loose.” Here La Bonte married a Snake squaw, with whom he crossed the mountains and proceeded to the Platte through the Bayou
Salade, where he purchased of the Yutas a commodious lodge,
with the necessary poles, &c. ; and being now ” rich” in mules
and horses, and in all things necessary for otiurn cum dignitate,
he took unto himself another wife, as by mountain law allowed ; and thus equipped, with both his better halves attired in all the
glory of fofarraw he went his way rejoicing. In a snug Httle valley lying under the shadow of the mountains,
watered by Vermilion Creek, and in wliich abundance of buffalo,
elk, deer, and antelope fed and fattened on the rich grass, LaBonte raised his lodge, employing himself in hunting, and fully oc- cupying his wives’ time in dressing the skins of the many animals he killed. Here he enjoyed himself amazingly until the com- mencement of winter, when he determined to cross to the North
Fork and trade his skins, of which he had now as many packs as
his animals could carry. It happened that he one day left his camp to spend a couple of days hunting buffalo in the mountains,
whither the bulls were now resorting, intending to ” put out” for Platte on his return. His hunt, hoAvever, led him farther into the mountains than he anticipated, and it was only on the third day
that sundown saw him enter the little valley where his camp was
situated. Crossing the creek, he was not a little disturbed at seeing fresh Indian sign on the opposite side, which led in the direction of his lodge ; and his worst fears were realized when, on coming within
sight of the little plateau where the conical top of his white lodge
had always before met his view, he saw nothing but a blackened mass strewing the ground, and the burnt ends of the poles which
had once supported it. Squaws, animals, and peltry, all were gone—an Arapaho moccasin lying on the ground told him where. He neither fumed nor
fretted, but, throwing the meat off his pack animal, and the sad- dle from his horse, he collected the blackened ends of the lodge poles
and made a fire—led his beasts to water and hobbled them, threw
a piece of buffalo meat upon the coals, squatted down before the
fire, and lit his pipe. La Bonte was a true philosopher. Notwithstanding that his house, his squaws, his peltries, were gone
” at one fell swoop,” the loss scarcely disturbed his equanimity

and before the tobacco in his pipe was half smoked out he had
ceased to think of his misfortune. Certes, as he turned his apolla of tender-loin, he sighed as he thought of the delicate manipula-
tions with which his Shoshone squaw, Sah-qua-manish, was wont
to beat to tenderness the toughest bull meat—and missed the tend- ing care of Yute Chil-co-the, or the ” reed that bends,” in patching the holes worn in his neatly fitting moccasins, the work of her nimble fingers. However, he ate and smoked, and smoked
and ate, and slept none the worse for his mishap ; thought, before he closed his eyes, a little of his lost wives, and more perhaps of the ” Bending Reed” than of Sah-qua-manish, or ” she who runs with the stream,” drew his blanket tightly round hmi, felt his rifle handy to his grasp, and was speedily asleep.
, While the tired mountaineer breathes heavily in his dream,
careless and unconscious that a living soul is near, his mule on a sudden pricks her ears and stares into the gloom, whence a figure soon emerges, and Avith noiseless steps draAvs near the sleeping hunter. Taking one look at the slumbering form, the same figure
approaches the fire and adds a log to the pile ; which done, it quietly seats itself at the feet of the sleeper, and remains motionless as a statue. Toward morning the hunter awoke, and, rubbing his eyes was astonished to feel the glowing warmth of the fire striking on his naked feet, which, in Indian fashion, were stretched toAvard
it ; as by this time he knew, the fire he left burning must long
since have expired. Lazily raising himself on his elbow, he saw a
figure sitting near it with the back turned to him, which, although
his exclamatory wagh was loud enough in all conscience, remain- ed perfectly motionless, until the trapper, rising, placed his hand
upon the shoulder : then turning up it^ face, the features displayed
to his wondering eye were those of Chil-co-the, his Yuta M’ife. Yes, indeed, ” the reed that bends” had escaped from her Arapaho captors, and made her way back to her Avhite husband, fasting
and alone. The Indian women who follow the fortunes of the white hunters are remarkable for their affection and fidelity to their hus- bands, the which virtues, it must be remarked, are all on their
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 107 own side ; for, with very few exceptions, the mountaineers seldom
scruple to abandon their Indian wives, whenever the fancy takes them to change their harems ; and on such occasions the squaws,
thus cast aside, wild with jealousy and despair, have been not unfrequently known to take signal vengeance both on their faithless husbands and on the successful beauties who have supplanted
them in their affections. There are some honorable exceptions,
however, to such cruelty, and many of the mountaineers stick to their red-skinned wives for better and for worse, often suffering
them to gain the upper hand in the domestic economy of the lodges,
and being ruled by their better halves in all things pertaining to family affairs ; and it may be remarked, that, when once the lady dons the unmentionables, she becomes the veriest termagant that ever henpecked an unfortunate husband. Your refined trappers, however,’ who, after many years of bachelor life, incline to take to themselves a better half, often under- take an expedition into the settlements of New Mexico, where not unfrequently they adopt a very “Young Lochinvar” system in procuring the required rib ; and have been known to carry off, vi
et armis, from the midst of a fandango in Fernandez, or El Rancho
of Taos, some dark-skinned beauty—wdth or without her own consent is a matter of unconcern—and bear the ravished fair one
across the mountains, where she soon becomes inured to the free and roving life fate has assigned her. American women are valued at a low figure in the mountains. They are too fine and ” fofarraw.” Neither can they make moccasins, or dress skins ; nor are they so schooled to perfect obedience
to their lords and masters as to stand a “lodge-poling,” which
the western lords of the creation not unfrequently deem it their bounden duty to inflict upon their squaws for some dereliction of domestic duty.
To return, however, to La Bonte. That worthy thought himself a lucky man to have lost but one of his wives, and she the
worst of the two. “Here’s the beauty,” he philosophized “of
having two ‘ wiping-sticks’ to your rifle ; if one breaks while ram- ming down a ball, there’s still hickory left to supply its place.”
Although, with animals and peltry, he had lost several hundred
dollars’ worth of ” possibles,” he never groaned or grumbled.
” There’s redskin will pay for this,” he once muttered, and was
done. Packing all that was left on the mule, and mounting Ghil-co- the on his buffalo horse, he shouldered his rifle and struck the Indian trail for Platte. On Horse Creek they came upon a party
of French * trappers and hunters, who were encamped with their lodges and Indian squaws, and formed quite a village. Several
old companions were among them ; and, to celebrate the arrival of a “camarade,” a splendid dog-feast was prepared in honor of the event. To efiect this, the squaws sallied out of their lodges to
seize upon sundry of the younger and plumper of the pack, to fill the kettles for the approaching feast. With a presentiment of the fate in store for them, the curs slunk away with tails between
their legs, and declined the pressing invitations of the anxious squaws. These shouldered their tomahawks and gave chase ; but
the cunning pups outstripped them, and would have fairly beaten
the kettles, if some of the mountaineers had not stepped out with
their rifles and quickly laid half-a-dozen ready to the knife. Acayeute, attracted by the scent of blood, drew near, unwitting of the canine feast in progress, and was likewise soon made dog of, and thrust into the boiling kettle with the rest. The feast that night was long protracted ; and so savory was
the stew, and so agreeable to the palates of the hungry hunters, that at the moment the last morsel was drawn from the pot, when
all were regretting that a few more dogs had not been slaughtered, a wolfish-looking cur, who incautiously poked his long nose and
” Creoles of St. Louis, and Freuch Ca«adians.
head under the lodge skin, was pounced upon by the nearest
hunter, who in a moment drew his knife across the animal’s
throat, and threw it to a squaw to skin and prepare for the pot. The wolf had long since been vigorously discussed, and voted by
all hands to be ” good as dog.”
” Meat’s meat,” is a common saying in the mountains, and from
the buffalo down to the rattlesnake, including every quadruped
that runs, every fowl that flies, and every reptile that creeps, nothing comes amiss to the mountaineer. Throwing aside all the qualms and conscientious scruples of a fastidious stomach, it must
be confessed that dog-meat takes a high rank in the wonderful
variety of cuisine afforded to the gourmand and the gourmet by
the prolific “mountains.” Now, when the bill of fare offers such tempting viands as buffalo beef, venison, mountain mutton, turkey,
grouse, Avildfowl, hares, rabbits, beaver and their tails, &c., &c., the
station assigned to ” dog” as No. 2 in the list can be well appreciated—No. 1, in delicacy of flavor, richness of meat, and other good qualities, being the flesh of ^:>a/i^Ac/’S, which surpaises every
other, and all put together.
‘• Painter meat can’t ‘ sliine’ with this,” says a hunter, to ex- press the delicious flavor of an extraordinary cut of ” tender-loin,” or delicate fleece. La Bonte started with his squaw for the North Fork early in November, and arrived at the Laramie at the moment that the
big village of the Sioux came up for their winter trade. Twoother villages were encamped lower down the Platte, including the Brule s and the Yanka-taus, who were now on more friendly terms with the whites. The first band numbered several hundred
lodges, and presented quite an imposing appearance, the village
being laid out in parallel lines, the lodge of each chief being marked
with his particular totem. The traders had a particular portion of the village allotted to them, and a line was marked out which was strictly kept by the soldiers appointed for the protection of
the whites. As there were many rival traders, and numerous
coureurs, cles bois, or peddling ones, the market promised to be
brisk, the more so as a large quantity of ardent spirits was in their
possession, which would be dealt with no unsparing hand to put
down the opposition of so many competing traders. In opening a trade a quantity of liquor is first given ” on the
prairie,”^ as the Indians express it in words, or by signs in rub- bing the palm of one hand quickly across the other, holding both
flat. Having once tasted the pernicious liquid, there is no fear but they will quickly come to terms ; and not unfrequently the
spirit is drugged, to render the unfortunate Indians still more helpless. Sometimes, maddened and infuriated by drink, they commit
the most horrid atrocities on each other, murdering and mutilating in a barbarous manner, and often attempting the lives of the traders themselves. On one occasion a band of SioRx, while imder the influence of hquor, attacked and took possession of a
trading fort of the American Fur Company, stripping it of every
thing it contained, and roasting the trader himself over his own fire. The principle on which the nefarious trade is conducted is this, that the Indians, possessing a certain quantity of bufTalo robes, have to be cheated out of them, and the sooner the better. Al- though it is explicitly prohibited by the laws of the United States
to convey spirits across the Indian frontier, and its introduction among the Indian tribes subjects the offender to a heavy penalty ; yet the infraction of this law is of daily occurrence, perpetrated almost in the very presence of the government officers, who are
stationed along the frontier for the purpose of enforcing the laws
for the protection of the Indians. The misery entailed upon these unhappy people by the illicit traffic must be seen to be fully appreciated. Before the effects of the poisonous ” fire-water,” they disappear from the earth like
• ” On the prairie,” is the Indian term for a free gift.
LIFEINTHEFARWEST. Ill “snow before the sun.” Although aware of the destruction it entailr: ^iVpon them, the poor wretches have not moral courage to shun the fatal allurement it holds out to them, of wild excitement and a temporary oblivion of their many sufferings and privations. “With such palpable effects, it appears only likely that the illegal trade is connived at by those whose policy it has ever been, gradually but surely, to exterminate the Indians, and by any means to extinguish their title to the few lands they now own on the ‘outskirts of civilization. Certain it is that large quantities of liquor
find their way annually into the Indian country, and as certain
are the fatal results of the pernicious system, and that the American government takes no steps to prevent it. There are some
tribes who have as yet withstood the great temptation, and have
resolutely refused to permit liquor to be brought into their villages.
The marked difference between the improved condition of these, and the moral and physical abasement of those which give way to the fatal passion for drinking, sufficiently proves the pernicious
effects of the liquor trade on the unfortunate and abused aborigines ; and it is matter of regret that no philanthropist has sprung up in the United States to do battle for the rights of the Redmen, and call attention to the wrongs they endure at the hands of
their supplanters in the lands of their fathers. Robbed of their homes and hunting-grounds, and driven by the encroachments of the whites to distant regions, which hardly sup- port existence, the Indians, day by day, gradually decrease before the accumulating evils, of body and soul, which their civilized persecutors entail upon them. With every man’s hand against
them, they drag on to their final destiny ; and the day is not far distant when the American Indian will exist only in the traditions of his pale-faced conquerors. The Indians trading at this time on the Platte were mostly of the Sioux nation, including the tribes of Burnt-woods, Yanka-taus,
Pian-Kashas, Assinaboins, Oglallahs, Broken Arrows, all of which
belong to the great Sioux nation, or La-cotahs, as they call themselves, and which means cut-throats. There were also some
Cheyennes allied to the Sioux, as well as a small band of Republican Pawnees.
Horse-racing, gambling, and ball-play, served to pass away the time until the trade commenced, and many packs of dressed robes changed hands among themselves. When playing at the usual game of ”hand,” the stakes, comprising all the valuables the
players possess, are piled in two heaps close at hand, the winner
at the conclusion of the game sweeping the goods toward him,
and often returning a small portion ” on the prairie,” with which
the loser may again commence operations with another player.
The game of ” hand” is played by two persons. One, who
commences, places a plum or cherry-stone in the hollow formed by joining the concaved palms of the hands together, then shak- ing the stone for a few moments, the hands are suddenly separated, and the other player must guess which hand now contains the stone. Large bets are often wagered on the result of this favorite game, which is also often played by the squaws, the men stand- ing round encouraging them to bet, and laughing loudly at their grotesque excitement. A Burnt-wood Sioux, Tah-tunganisha, one of the bravest chiefs of his tribe, was out, when a young man, on a solitary war expedition against the Crows. One evening he drew near a certain “medicine” spring, where, to his astonishment, he encountered a Crow warrior in the act of quenching his thirst. He was on the
point of drawing his bow upon him, when he remembered the
sacred nature of the spot, and making the sign of peace, he fearlessly drew near his foe, and proceeded likewise to slake his thirst. •A pipe of kinnik-kinnik being produced, it was proposed to pass away the early part of the night in a game of “hand.” They
accordingly sat down beside the spring, and commenced the game.
Fortune favored the Crow. He won arrow after arrow from
tlie Burnt- wood brave ; then his bow, his club, his knife, his robe,
all followed, and the Sioux sat naked on the plain. Still he pro- posed another stake against the other’s winnings—his scalp. He
played, and lost ; and bending forward his head, the Crow warrior drew his knife, and quickly removed the bleeding prize. Without
a murmur the luckless Sioux rose to depart, but first exacted a
promise from his antagonist that he would meet him once more
at the same spot, and engage in another trial of skill. On the day appointed, the Burnt-wood sought the spot, with a new equipment, and again the Crow made his appearance, and
they sat down to play. This time fortune changed sides ; the Sioux won back his former losses, and in his turn the Crow was
stripped to his skin. Scalp against scalp was now the stake, and this time the Crow
submitted his head to the victorious Burnt-wood’s knife ; and both
the warriors stood scalpless on the plain.
And now the Crow had but one single stake of value to offer, and the offer of it he did not hesitate to make. He staked his
life against the other’s winnings. They played ; and fortune still being adverse, he lost. He offered his breast to his adversary.
The Burnt-wood plunged his knife into his heart to the very hilt-; and, laden with his spoils, returned to his village, and to this day wears suspended from his ears his own and enemy’s scalp.
The village presented the usual scene of confusion as long as the trade lasted. Fighting, brawling, yelling, dancing, and all the concomitants of intoxication, continued to the last drop of the
liquor-keg, when the reaction after such excitement was almost worse than the evil itself. During this time, all the work de- volved upon the squaws, who, in tending the horses, and in packing wood and water from a long distance, had their time sufficiently
occupied. As there was little or no grass in the vicinity, the ani- mals were supported entirely on the bark of the cotton-wood ; and
to procure this, the women were daily engaged in felling huge trees, or climbing them fearlessly, chopping off the upper limbs—springing like squirrels from branch to branch, which, in their confined costume, appeared matter of considerable difficulty. The most laughter-provoking scenes, however, w^ere when a number of squaws sallied out to the grove, with their long-nosed,
wolfish-looking dogs harnessed to their travees or trabogans, on which loads of cotton-wood were piled. The dogs, knowing full well the duty required of them, refuse to approach the coaxing
squaws, and at the same time are fearful of provoking their anger by escaping and running off. They therefore squat on
their haunches, with tongues hanging out of their long mouths,
the picture of indecision, removing a short distance as the irate squaw approaches. When once harnessed to the travee, however, which is simply a couple of lodge-poles lashed on either side of the dog, with a couple of cross-bars near the ends to support
the freight, they follow quietly enough, urged by bevies of chil- dren, who invariably accompany the women. Once arrived at the scene of their labors, the reluctance of the curs to draw near
the piles of cotton- wood is most comical. They will lie down
stubbornly at a little distance, whining their uneasiness, or sometimes scamper off bodily, Avith their long poles trailing after them,
pursued by the yelling and half frantic squaws. When the travees are laden, the squaws, bent double under
loads of wood sufficient to break a porter’s back, and calling to the dogs, which are urged on by the buffalo-fed urchins in rear, lead the line of march. The curs, taking advantage of the helpless state of their mistresses, turn a deaf ear to their coaxings,
lying down every few yards to rest, growling and fighting with
each other; in which encounters every cur joins the melee, charging pell-mell into the yelping throng, upsetting the squalling chil- dren, and making confusion worse confounded. Then, armed with
lodge-poles, the squaws, throwing down their loads, rush to the
rescue, dealing stalwart blows on the pugnacious curs, and finally
restoring something like order to the march.
” Tszoo —tszoo I” they cry, ” wah, kashne, ceitcha—get on, you devihsh beasts—tszoo —tszoo I” and belaboring them Avithout mercy, they start them into a gallop, which, once commenced, is generally continued till they reach their destination. The Indian dogs are, however, invariably well treated by the squaws, since they assist materially the every-day labors of these
patient, over-worked creatures, in hauling firewood to the lodge,
and, on the line of march, carrying many of the household goods
and chattels, which otherwise the squaw herself M’ould have to carry on her back. Every lodge possesses from half-a-dozen to a
score ; some for draught and others for eating—for dog meat forms
part and parcel of an Indian feast. The former are stout, wiry
animals, half wolf half sheep-dog, and are regularly trained to draught ; the latter are of a smaller kind, more inclined to fat, and embrace every variety of the genus cur. Many of the southern tribes possess a breed of dogs entirely divested of hair, which evidently have come from South America, and are highly esteemed for the kettle. Their meat, in appearance and flavor, resembles young pork, but far surpasses it in richness and delicacy.
The Sioux are very expert in making their lodges comfortable,
taking more pains in their construction than most Indians. They
are all of conical form : a framework of straight, slender poles, resembling hop-poles, and from twenty to twenty-five feet long,
is first erected, round which is stretched a sheeting of buflalo
robes, softly dressed, and smoked to render them water-tight.
The apex, through whi«h the ends of the poles protrude, is left open to allow the smoke to escape. A small opening, sufficient to permit the entrance of a man, is made on one side, over which
is hung a door of buffalo hide. A lodge of the common size contains about twelve or fourteen skins, and contains comfortably a
family of twelve in number. The fire is made in the center, im-
mediately under the aperture in the roof, and a flap of the upper
skins is closed or extended at pleasure, serving as a cowl or chimney-top to regulate the draught, and permit the smoke to escape
freely. Round the fire, with their feet toward it, the inmates
sleep on skins and buffalo rugs, which are rolled up during the
day, and stowed at the back of the lodge. In traveling, the lodge-poles are secured half on each side a
horse, and the skins placed on transversal bars near the ends,
which trail along the ground—two or three squaws or children mounted on the same horse, or the smallest of the latter borne in the dog travees. A set of lodge-poles will last from three to seven years, unless the village is constantly on the move, when
they are soon worn out in trailing over the gravelly prairie. They
are usually of ash, which grows on many of the mountain creeks, and regular expeditions are undertaken when a supply is required,
either for their own lodges, or for trading with those tribes who
inhabit the prairies at a great distance from the locality where
the poles are procured.
There are also certain creeks where the Indians resort to lay in a store of kinnik-kinnik (the inner bark of the red willow), which
they use as a substitute for tobacco, and which has an aromatic and very pungent flavor. It is prepared for smoking by being
scraped in thin curly flakes from the slender saplings, and crisped
before the fire, after which it is rubbed between the hands into a form resembling leaf-tobacco, and stored in skin bags for use. It has a highly narcotic effect on those not habituated to its use, and
produces a heaviness sometimes approaching stupefaction, alto- gether different from the soothing effects •f tobacco. Every year, owing to the disappearance of the buffalo from their former haunts, the Indians are compelled to encroach upon each
other’s hunting-grounds, which is a fruitful cause of war between
the different tribes. It is a curious fact, that the buffalo retire before the whites, while the presence of Indians in their pastures
appears in no degree to disturb them. Wherever a few white
hunters are congregated in a trading post, oi* elsewhere, so sure it is that, if they remain in the same locahty, the buffalo will desert the vicinity, and seek pasture elsewhere. In this, the Indians
affirm, the wah-keitcha, or ” bad medicine,” of the pale-faces is very apparent ; and they ground upon it their well-founded complaints of the encroachments made upon their hunting-grounds by
the white hunters. In the winter, many of the tribes are reduced to the very verge
of starvation—the buffalo having passed from their country into that of their enemies, when no other alternative is offered them,
but to remain where they are and starve, or to follow the game
into a hostile region, a move entaijing war and all its horrors. Reckless, moreover, of the future, in order to prepare robes for the traders, and to procure the pernicious fire-water, they wantonly
slaughter, every year, vast numbers of buffalo cows (the skins of which sex only are dressed), and thus add to the evils in store for them. When questioned on this subject, and reproached with
such want of foresight, they answer, that however quickly the
buffalo disappears, the Red man ” goes under” more quickly still; and that the Great Spirit has ordained that both shall be “rubbed
out” from the face of nature at one and the same time—” that arrows and bullets are not more fatal to the bufiaio than the
sniall-pox and fire-water to them, and that before many winters’ snows have disappeared, the buffalo and the Red man will only be remembered by their bones, which will strew the plains.”—” They
look forward, however, to a future state, when, after a long jour- ney, they will reach the happy hunting-grounds, where buffalo
will once more blacken the prairies ; where the pale-faces dare not come to disturb them ; where no winter snows cover the ground,
and the buffalo are always plentiful and fat.” As soon as the streams opened, La Bonte, now reduced to two
animals and four traps, sallied forth again, this time seeking the
dangerous country of the Blackfeet, on the head waters of the Yellow Stone and Upper Missouri. He was accompanied hy
three others, a man named Wheeler, and one Cross-Eagle, a Swede, who had been many years in the western country. Pveach- ing the forks of a small creek, on both of which appeared plenty
of beaver sign. La Bonte followed the left-hand one alone, while
the others trapped the right in company, the former leaving his squaw in the company of a Sioux woman, who followed the for- tunes of Cross-Eagle, the party agreeing to rendezvous at the junction of the two forks as soon as they had trapped to their heads and again descended them. The larger party were the first to reach the rendezvous, and camped on the banks of the main
stream to await the arrival of La Bonte. The morning after their return, they had just risen from their blankets, and were lazily stretching themselves before the fire, when a volley of fire-arms rattled from the bank of the creek, and two of their number fell dead to the ground, while at the same moment the deafening yells of Indians broke upon the ears of the
frightened squaws. Cross-Eagle seized his rifle, and, though
severely wounded, rushed to the cover of a hollow tree which
stood near, and crawling into it, defended himself the whole day
with the greatest obstinacy, killing five Indians outright, and
wounding several more. Unable to drive the gallant trapper from
his retreat, the savages took advantage of a favorable wind which
suddenly sprang up, and fired the long dry grass surrounding the
tree. The rotten log catching fire, at length compelled the hunter
to leave his retreat. Clubbing his rifle, he charged among the
Indians, and fell at last, pierced through and through with wounds,
but not until two more of his assailants had fallen by his hand. The two squaws were carried off, and one was sold shortly afterward to some white men at the trading posts on the Platte ; but La Bonte never recovered the ” Bending Reed,” nor even
heard of her existence from that day. So once more was the
mountaineer bereft of his better half; and when he returned to the rendezvous, a troop of wolves were feasting on the bodies of
his late companions, and of the Indians killed in the affray, of which he only heard the particulars a long time after from a trapper, who had been present when one of the squaws was offered at the trading post for sale, and had heard her recount the miserable
fate of her husband and his companions on the forks of the creek which, from the fact of La Bonte being the leader of the party has
since borne his name. Undaunted by this misfortune, the trapper continued his solitary
hunt, passing through the midst of the Crow and Blackfeet country ; encountering many perils, often hunted by the Indians, but always escaping. He had soon loaded both his animals with
beaver, and then thought of bending his steps to some of the trading rendezvous on the other side of the mountains, where employes of the Great Northwest Fur Company meet the trappers with the produce of their hunts, on Lewis’s fork of the Columbia, or one of
its numerous affluents. His intention was to pass the winter at some of the company’s trading posts in Oregon, into which country
he had never yet penetrated.
We have said that La Bonte was a philosopher : he took the
streaks of ill luck which checkered his mountain life with perfect
carelessness, if not with stoical indifference. Nothing ruffled his danger- steeled equanimity of temper ; no sudden emotion disturbed
his mind. We have seen how wives were torn from him withouteliciting a groan or grumble (but such contretemps, it may be said, can scarcely find a place in the category of ills) ; how the loss of mules and mustangs, harried by horse-stealing Indians, left him in the ne-iolus-ultra of mountain misery—” afoot ;” how packs andpeltries, the hard-earned ” beaver” of his perilous hunts, were” raised” at one fell swoop by freebooting bands of savages. Hunger and thirst, we know, were common-place sensations to the mountaineer. His storm-hardened flesh scarce felt the pingingwounds of arrow-point or bullet ; and when in the midst of Indianfight, it is not probable that any tender qualms of feeling wouldallay the itching of his fingers for his enemy’s scalp-lock, norwould any remains of civilized fastidiousness prevent his buryinghis knife again and again in the life-blood of an Indian savage.
Still, in one dark corner of his heart, there shone at intervals afaint spark of what was once a fiercely-burning fire. Neither time, that corroder of all things, nor change, that ready abettor of oblivion, nor scenes of peril and excitement, which act as dampers to more quiet memories, could smother this little smoldering spark,
which now and again—when rarely-coming calm succeeded somestirring passage in the hunter’s life, and left him, for a brief time, devoid of care, and victim to his thoughts—would flicker suddenly.
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 121 and light up all the nooks and corners of his rugged breast, and
discover to his mind’s eye that one deep-rooted memory clung there
still, though long neglected ; proving that, spite of time and change,
of life and fortune.
” On revient toujours a ses premiers amours.” Often and often as La Bonte sat cross-legged before his soHtary
camp-fire, and, pipe in mouth, watched the blue smoke curHng
upward in the clear cold sky, a well-remembered form appeared
to gaze upon him from the vapory wreaths. Then would old
recollections crowd before him, and old emotions, long a stranger
to his breast, shape themselves, as it were, into long-forgotten but now familiar pulsations. Again he felt the soft, subduing influence which once, in days gone by, a certain passion exercised over his rnmd and body ; and often a trembling seized him, the same he
used to experience at the sudden sight of one Mary Brand, whos;i
dim and dreamy apparition so often watched his lonely bed, oi.. unconsciously conjured up, cheered him in the dreary watches oi the long and stormy winter nights.
At first he only knew that one face haunted his dreams by night,
and the few moments by day when he thought of any thing, and
this face smiled lovingly upon him, and cheered him mightily.
Name he had quite forgotten, or recalled it vaguely, and, setting small store by it, had thought of it no more. For many years after he had deserted his home. La Bonte had
cherished the idea of again returning to his country. During this period he had never forgotten his old flame, and many a choico
fur he had carefully laid by, intended as a present for Mary Brand ; and many a gdge cVamour of cunning shape and device, worked in stained quills, of porcupine and bright-colored beads—the handi- work of nimble-fingered squaws—he had packed in his possible sack for the same destination, hoping a time would come when ht might lay them at her feet. F
Year after year wore on, however, and still found liim, with
traps and rifle, following his perilous avocation ; and each succeed- ing one saw him more and more wedded to the wild mountain-life. He was conscious how unfitted he had become again to enter the
galling harness of conventionality and civilization. He thought,
too, how changed in manners and aj)pearance he now must be, and could not believe that he would again find favor in the eyes of
his quondam love, who, he judged, had long since forgotten him ; and inexperienced as he was in such matters, yet he knew enough
of womankind to feel assured that time and absence had long since done the work, if even the natural fickleness of Avoman’s nature had lain dormant. Thus it was that he came to forget MaryBrand, but still remembered the all-absorbing feeling she had once
created in his breast, the shadow of which still remained, and often took form and feature in the smoke-wreaths of his solitary campfire.If truth be told, La Bonte had his failings as a mountaineer,
and—sin unpardonable in hunter law—still possessed, in holes and
corners of his breast seldom explored by his inward eye, much of the leaven of kindly human nature, which now and again involuntarily peeped out, as greatly to the contempt of his comrade trap- pers as it was blushingly repressed by the mountaineer himself Thus, m his various matrimonial episodes, he treated his dusky
sjposas with all the consideration the sex could possibly demandfrom hand of man. No squaw of his ever humped shoulder to re- ceive a castigatory and marital “lodge-poling” for ofiense domestic ; but often has his helpmate blushed to see her pale-face lord and master devote himself to the feminine labor of packing huge
piles of fire-wood on his back, felling trees, butchering unwieldy
bufialo—all which are included in the Indian category of female
duties. Thus he was esteemed an excellent parti by all the marriageable young squaws of Blackfbot, Crow, and Shoshone, of lYutah, Shian, and Arapaho ; but after his last connubial catastro-
phe, he steeled his heart against all the charms and coquetry of Indian belles, and persevered in unblessed widowhood for many
a long day.
From the point where we left him on his way to the waters of the Columbia, we must jump with him over a space of nearly two
years, during which time he had a most uninterrupted run of good
luck ; trapping with great success on the head streams of the Co- lumbia and Yellow Stone—the most dangerous of trapping ground —and finding good market for his peltries at the ” Northwest”
posts—beaver fetching as high a price as five and six dollars a “plew”—the “golden age” of trappers, now, alas, never to return, and existing only in the fond memory of the mountaineers. This
glorious time, however, was too good to last. In mountain lan- guage, ” such heap of fat meat was not going to ‘ shine’ much
La Bonte was at this time one of a band of eight trappers,
whose hunting ground was about the head waters of the Yellow
Stone, Avhich we have before said is in the country of the Blackfeet. With him were Killbuck, Meek, Marcellin, and three others

and the leader of the party was Bill Wilhams, that old ” hard
case” who had spent forty years and more in the mountains, until he had become as tough as the parfleche soles of his moccasins. They were all good men and true, expert hunters, and well-trained mountaineers. After having trapped all the streams they were
acquainted with, it was determined to strike into the mountains,
at a point where old Williams affirmed, from the “run” of the
hills, there must be plenty of water, although not one of the party
had before explored the country, or knew any thing of its nature,
or of the likelihood of its afibrding game for themselves or pasture
for their animals. However, they packed their peltry, and put
out for the land in view—a lofty peak, dimly seen above the more
regular summit of the chain, being their landmark. For the first day or two their rout lay between two ridges of
mountains, and by following the little valley which skirted a creek, they kept on level ground, and saved their animals considerable
labor and fatigue. Williams always rode ahead, his body bent
over his saddle-horn, across which rested a long heavy rifle, his keen gray eyes peering from under the slouched brim of a flexible
felt-hat, black and shining with grease. His buckskin huntingshirt, bedaubed until it had the appearance of polished leather,
hung in folds over his bony carcass ; his nether extremities being
clothed in pantaloons of the same material (with scattered fringes
down the outside of the leg—which ornaments,. however, had been
pretty well thinned to supply ” whangs” for mending moccasins or pack-saddles), which, shrunk with wet, clung tightly to his long, spare, sinewy legs. His feet were thrust into a pair of Mexican
stirrups made of wood, and as big as coal-scuttles ; and iron spurs of incredible proportions, with tinkling drops attached to the
rowels, were fastened to his heel—a bead-worked strap, four inches
broad, securing them over the instep. In the shoulder-belt which
sustained his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, were fastened the
various instruments essential to one pursuing his mode of life. Anawl, with deer-horn handle, and the point defended by a case of cherry-wood carved by his own hand, hung at the back of the belt, side by side with a worm for cleaning the rifle ; and under this was a squat and quaint-looking bullet-mold, the handles guarded
by strips of buckskin to save his fingers from burning when running
balls, having for its companion a little bottle made from the point of an antelope’s horn, scraped transparent, which contained the “medicine” used in baiting the traps. The old coon’s face was
sharp and thin, a long nose and chin hob-nobbing each other ; and
his head was always bent forward giving him the appearance of being hump-backed. He appeared to look neither to the right nor
left, but, in fact, his little twinkling eye was every where. Helooked at no one he was addressing, always seeming to be thinking
of something else than the subject of his discourse, speaking in a
whining, thin, cracked voice, and in a tone that left the hearer in doubt whether he was laughing or crying. On the present occasion he had joined this hand, and naturally assumed the leadership
(for Bill ever refused to go in harness), in opposition to his usual
practice, which was to hunt alone. His character was well known. Acquainted with every inch of the Far West, and with
all the Indian tribes who inhabited it, he never failed to outwit his Red enemies, and generally made his appearance at the rendezvous, from his solitary expeditions, with galore of beaver, when
numerous bands of trappers dropped in on foot, having been de- spoiled of their packs and animals by the very Indians through the midst of whom old Williams had contrived to pass unseen and
immolested. On occasions when he had been in company with
others, and attacked by Indians, Bill invariably fought manfully,
and with all the coolness that perfect indifierence to death or danger could give, but always ” on his own hook.” His rifle cracked away merrily, and never spoke in vain ; and in a charge
if ever it came to that—his keen-edged butcher-knife tickled the
fleece of many a Blackfoot. But at the same time, if he saw that
discretion was the better part of valor, and afiairs wore so cloudy an aspect as to render retreat advisable, he would first express his opinion in curt terms, and decisively, and, charging up his rifie, would take himself off and ” cache”* so effectually that to search
for him was utterly useless. Thus, when with a large party of
trappers, when any thing occurred which gave him a hint that
trouble was coming, or more Indians were about than he con- Bidered good for his animals. Bill was wont to exclaim

“Do’ee hyar now, boys, thar’s sign about? this hos feels hke
caching ;” and, without more words, and stoically deaf to all remonstrances, he would forewith proceed to pack his animals,
talking the while to an old, crop-eared, raw-boned Nez-perce pony,
* Hide—fram cdcher.
his own particular saddle-horse, who in dogged temper and iron
hardiness, was a worthy companion of his self-willed master. This beast, as Bill seized his apishamore to lay upon its galled
back, would express displeasure by humping its back and shaking
its withers with a wincing motion, that always excited the ire of the old trapper ; and no sooner had he laid the apishamore
smoothly on the chafed skin, than a wriggle of the animal shook
it off. “Do’ee hyar now, you darned crittur?” he would whine out, ” can’t ‘ee keep quiet your old fleece now ? Isn’t this old coon
putting out to save ‘ee from the darned Injuns now, do ‘ee hyar ?” And then, continuing his work and taking no notice of his comrades, who stood by bantering the eccentric old trapper, he would
soliloquize—” Do ‘ee hyar, now ? This niggur sees sign ahead
he does ; he’ll be afoot afore long, if he don’t keep his eye skinned —he will. Injuns is all about, they ar’ : Blackfoot at that. Can’t come round this child—they can’t, wagh I” And at last, his pack animals securely tied to the tail of his horse, he would
mount, and throwing the rifle across the horn of his saddle, and
without noticing his companions, would drive the jingling spurs
into his horse’s gaunt sides, and muttering, ” Can’t come round this child—they can’t I” would ride away ; and nothing more would
be seen or heard of him perhaps for months, when they would not
unfrequently, themselves bereft of animals in the scrape he had
foreseen, find him located in some solitary valley, in his lonely
camp, with his animals securely picketed around, and his peltries
safe.However, if he took it into his head to keep company with a
party, all felt perfectly secure under his charge. His iron frame
defied fatigue, and, at night, his love for himself and his ownanimals was sufficient guarantee that the camp would be well guarded. As he rode away, his spurs jingling, and thumping the
sides of his old horse at every step, he managed, with admirable
dexterity, to take advantage of the best line of country to follow
avoiding the gulHes and caiions and broken ground which would
otherwise have impeded his advance. This tact appeared instinctive, forJie looked neither right nor left, while continuing a course
as straight as possible at the foot of the mountains. In selecting a camping site, he displayed equal skill : wood, water, and grass began to fill his thoughts toward sundown, and when these three
requisites for a camping ground presented themselves, old Bill sprang from his saddle, unpacked his animals in a twinkling, and
hobbled them, struck fire and ignited a few chips (leaving the rest to pack in the wood), lit his pipe, and enjoyed himself. On one
occasion, when passing through the valley, they had come upon a band of fine buffalo cows, and, shortly after camping, two of the party
rode in with a good supply of fat fleece. One of the party was a
” greenhorn” on his first hunt, fresh from a fort on Platte, and as yet uninitiated in the mysteries of mountain cooking. Bill, lazily
smoking his pipe, called to him as he happened to be nearest, to butcher off’ a piece of meat and put it in his pot. Markhead
seized the fleece, and commenced innocently carving off’ a hugo
ration, when a gasping roar from the old trapper caused him to drop his knife. ” Ti-ya,” growled Bill, ” do ‘ee hyar, now, you darned greenhorn, do ‘ee spile fat cow like that whar you was raised ? Them
doins won’t shine in this crowd, boy, do ‘ee hyar, darn you ?
What ! butcher meat across the grain I why, whar’ll the blood be goin’ to, you precious Spaniard? Down the grain, I say,” he
continued, in a severe tone of rebuke, ” and let your flaps be long, or out the juice ’11 run slick—do ‘ee hyar, now ?” But this heretical error nearly cost the old trapper his appetite, and all night
long he grumbled his horror at seeing ” fat cow spiled in that
fashion.” When two or three days’ journey brought them to the end of
the valley, and they comm.enced the passage of the mountain,
their march was obstructed by all kinds of obstacles ; although
they had chosen what appeared to be a gap in the chain, andwhat was in fact the only practicable passage in that vicinity.
They followed the caiion of a branch of the Yellow Stone, whereit entered the mountain ; but from this point it became a torrent, and it was only by dint of incredible exertions that they reached
the summit of the ridge. Game was exceedingly scarce in the
vicinity, and they suffered extremely from hunger, having, onmore than one occasion, recourse to the parfleche soles of their moccasins to allay its pangs. Old Bill, however, never grumbled : he chewed away at his shoes with relish even, and as long as hehad a pipeful of tobacco in his pouch, was a happy man. Starvition was as yet far off, for all their animals were in existence ; but as they were in a country where it was difficult to procure a
remount, each trapper hesitated to sacrifice one of liis horses to his appetite.
From the summit of the ridge, Bill recognized the country onihe opposite side to that whence they had just ascended as familiar to him, and pronounced it to be full of beaver, as well as abounding in the less desirable commodity of Indians. This wasthe valley lying about the lakes now called Eustis and Biddle, in Y/hich are many thermal and mineral springs, well known to the
trappers by the names of the Soda,* Beer, and Brimstone Springs,
and regarded by them with no little awe and curiosity, as being
the breathing places of his Satanic majesty—considered, moreover,
to be the ” biggest kind” of ” medicine” to be found in the mountains. If truth be told, old Bill hardly relished the idea of enter- vig this country, which he pronounced to be of “bad medicine”
Lotoriety, but nevertheless agreed to guide them to the best trap-
_ -ing ground.
One day they reached a creek full of beaver sign, and determinv.-d to halt here and establish their headquarters, while they trap- ped in the neighborhood. We must here observe that at this pe-
riod—which was one of considerable rivalry among the various trading companies in the Indian territory—the Indians, having
become possessed of arms and ammunition in great quantities, had
grown unusually daring and persevering in their attacks on the white hunters who passed through their country, and consequently the trappers were compelled to roam about in large bands for mutual protection, which, although it made them less liable to open
attack, yet rendered it more difficult for them to pursue their call- ing without being discovered ; for, where one or two men might
pass unseen, the broad trail of a large party, with its animals, was
not likely to escape the sharp eyes of the cunning savages. They had scarcely encamped when the old leader, who had sal- lied out a short distance from camp to reconnoiter the neighborhood, returned with an Indian moccasin in his hand, and informed
his companions that its late owner and others were about.
” Do ‘ee hyar now, boys, thar’s Injuns knocking round, and
Blackfoot at that ; but thar’s plenty of beaver too, and this child means trapping any how.”
His companions were anxious to leave such dangerous vicinity ; but the old fellow, contrary to his usual caution, determined to remain where he was—saying that there were Indians all over the
country, for that matter ; and as they had determined to hunt here,
he had made up his mind too—which Avas conclusive, and all agreed to stop where they were, in spite of the Indians. La
Bonte killed a couple of mountain sheep close to camp, and they
feasted rarely on the fat mutton that night, and were unmolested by marauding Blackfeet. The next morning, leaving two of their number in camp, they
started in parties of two, to hunt for beaver sign and set their traps. Markhead paired with one Batiste, Killbuck and La
Bonte formed another couple. Meek and Marcellin another ; two
Canadians trapped together, and Bill Williams and another re- mamed to guard the camp : but this last, leaving Bill mending
his moccasins, started off to kill a mountain sheep, a band of which animals was visible, Markhead and his companion, the first couple on the list, fol- lowed a creek, which entered that on which they had encamped, about ten miles distant. Beaver sign was abundant, andthey had set eight traps, when Markhead came suddenly uponfresh Indian sign, where squaws had passed through the shrub- bery on the banks of the stream to procure water, as he knewfrom observing a large stone placed by them in the stream, onwhich to stand to enable them to dip their kettles in the deepest water. Beckoning to his companion to follow, and cocking his
rifle, he carefully pushed aside the bushes, and noiselessly proceed- ed up the bank, when, creeping on hands and knees, he gained
the top, and, looking from his hiding-place descried three Indian
huts standing on a little plateau near the creek. Smoke curled from the roofs of branches, but the skin doors were carefully closed, so that he was unable to distinguish the number of the inmates. At a little distance, however, he observed two or three squawsgathering wood, with the usual attendance of curs whose acute- ness in detecting the scent of strangers was much to be dreaded. Markhead was a rash and daring young fellow, caring no morefor Indians than he did for prairie dogs, and acting ever on the spur of the moment, and as his inclination dictated, regardless of consequences. He at once determined to enter the lodges, andattack the enemy, should any be there ; and the other trapper was fain to join him in the enterprise. The lodges proved empty,
but the fires were still burning, and meat cooking upon them, to which the hungry hunters did ample justice, besides helping themselves to whatever goods and chattels, in the shape of leather andmoccasins, took their fancy.
Gathering their spoil into a bundle, they sought their horses, which they had left tied under cover of the timber on the banks
of the creek ; and, mounting, took the back trail, to pick up their
traps and remove from so dangerous a neighborhood. They were
approaching the spot where the first trap was set, si thick growth
of ash and quaking-ash conceaUng the stream, when Markhead,
who was riding ahead, observed the bushes agitated, as if some
animal was making its way through them. He instantly stopped
his horse, and his companion rode to his side, to inquire the cause
of this abrupt halt. They were within a few yards of the belt of shrubs which skirted the stream ; and before Markhead had time
to reply, a dozen swarthy heads and shoulders suddenly protruded
from the leafy screen, and as many rifle-barrels and arrows were
pointing at their breasts. Before the trappers had time to turn
their horses and fly, a cloud of smoke burst from the thicket almost
in their faces. Batiste, pierced with several balls, fell dead, and
Markhead felt himself severely wounded. However, he struck the spurs into his horse ; and as some half-score Blackfeet jumped
with loud cries from their cover, he discharged his rifle among
them, and galloped ofl^, a volley of balls and arrows whistling
after him. He drew no bit until he reined up at the camp-fire,
where he found Bill quietly dressing a deer-skin. That worthy
looked up from his work ; and seeing Markhead’s face streaming
with blood, and the very unequivocal evidence of an Indian
rencounter in the shape of an arrow sticking in his back, he asked —”Do ‘ee feel bad now, boy ? Whar away you see them darned
” Well, pull this arrow out of my back, and may be I’ll feel like telling,” answered Markhead.
” Do ‘ee hyar now I hold on till I’ve grained this cussed skin, will ‘ee I Did ‘ee ever see sich a darned pelt, now ? it won’t take the smoke any how I fix it.” And Markhead was fain to wait the
leisure of the imperturbable old trapper, before he was eased of
his annoying companion.
Old Bill expressed no surprise or grief when informed of the fate of poor Batiste, He said it was “just like greenhorns, runnni’
into lliem cussed Blackfoot ;” and observed that the defuncl
trapper, being only a Vide-poche, was ” no account anyhow.”
Presently Killbuck and La Bonte galloped into camp with anotlier alarm of Indians. They had also been attacked suddenly by a band of Blackfeet, but, being in a more open country, had got
clear off, after killmg two of their assailants, whose scalps hung at the horns of their saddles. They had been in a different direction io’that in which Markhead and his companion had proceeded, and,
from the signs they had observed, expressed their belief that the country was alive with Indians. Neither of these men had been wounded. Presently the two Canadians made their appearance on the bluff, galloping with might and main to camp, and shouting
” Indians, Indians,” as they came. All being assembled, and a
council held, it was determined to abandon the camp and neigh- borhood immediately. Old Bill was already packing his animals,
find as he pounded the saddle down on the withers of liis old Hosinante, he muttered—” Do ‘ee hyar, now I this coon ‘ull cache, he will.” So mounting his horse, and leading his pack-mule by
a lariat, he bent over his saddle-horn, dug his ponderous rowels
into the lank sides of his beast, and, without a word, struck up the
bluff and disappeared.
The others hastily gathering up their packs, and most of them
having lost their traps, quickly followed his example, and ” put
out.” On cresting the high ground which rose from the creek, they observed thin columns of smoke mounting into the air from many different points, the meaning of which they were at no loss to guess. However they were careful not to show themselves on
elevated ground, keeping as much as possible under the banks of the creek, when such a course was practicable; but, the bluffs sometimes rising precipitously from the water, they were more
Ihan once compelled to ascend the banks, and continue their course along the uplands, whence they might easily be discovered by the Indians. It was nearly sundown when they left their
camp, but they proceeded daring the greater part of the night
at as rapid a rate as possible ; their progress, however, beino- greatly retarded as they advanced into the mountain, their route
lying up stream. Toward morning they halted for a brief space, but started again as soon as daylight permitted them to see their way over the broken ground.
The creek now forced its way through a narrow canon, the banks being thickly clothed with a shrubbery of cotton-wood and
quaking ash. The mountain rose on each side, but not abruptly,
being here and there broken into plateaus and shelving prairies. In a very thick bottom, sprinkled with coarse grass, they halted about noon, and removed the saddles and packs from their wearied
animals, picketing them in the best spots of grass. La Bonte and Killbuck, after securing their animals, left the camp to hunt, for they had no provisions of any kind ; and a short distance beyond it, the former came suddenly upon a recent moccasin track in the timber. After examining it for a moment,
he raised his head with a broad grin, and turning to his companion, pointed into the cover, where, in the thickest part, they dis- cerned the well known figure of old Bill’s horse browsing upon
the cherry bushes. Pushing through the thicket in search of the
brute’s master,- La Bonte suddenly stopped short as the muzzle of a rifle-barrel gaped before his eyes at the distance of a few inches, while the thin voice of Bill muttered

” Do ‘ee hyar now, I was nigh giving ‘ee h—: I ivas now. If I didn’t, think ‘ee was Blackfoot, I’m dogged now.” And not a
little indignant was the old fellow that his cache had been so easily, though accidentally, discovered. However, he presently made
his appearance in camp, leading his animals, and once more joined
his late companions, not deigning to give any explanation as to why or wherefore he had deserted them the day before, merely
muttering, “Do ‘ee hyar now, thar’s trouble comin.’ ” The two hunters returned after sundown with a black-tailed
deer : and after eating the better part of the meat, and setting aguard, the party were glad to roll in their blankets and enjoy therest they so much needed. They were undisturbed during thenight ; but at dawn of day the sleepers were roused by a hundredfierce yells from the mountains inclosing the creek on which theyhad encamped. The yells were instantly followed by a rmgingvolley, the bullets thudding into the trees, and cutting the branches near them, but without causing any mischief Old Bill rosefrom his blanket and shook himself, and exclaimed “Wagh I” as atthat moment a ball plumped into the fire over which he wasstanding, and knocked the ashes about in a cloud. All the mountaineers seized their rifles and sprang to cover ; but as yet it wasnot sufficiently light to show them their enemy, the bright flashesfrom the guns alone indicating their position. As morning dawned, however, they saw that both sides of the caiion were occupiedby the Indians ; and, from the firing, judged there must be at leasta hundred warriors engaged in the attack. Not a shot had yetbeen fired by the trappers, but as the light increased, they eagerlywatched for an Indian to expose himself, and offer a mark to theirtrusty rifles. La Bonte, Killbuck, and old Bill, lay a few yards dis- tant from each other, flat on their faces, near the edge of the thicket, their rifles raised before them, and the barrels resting in the forksof convenient bushes. From their place of concealment to theposition of the Indians—who, however, were scattered here andthere, wherever a rock afforded them cover—was a distance ofabout a hundred and fifty yards, or within fair rifle-shot. Thetrappers were obliged to divide their force, since both sides of thecreek were occupied ; but, such was the nature of the ground, andthe excellent cover afforded by the rocks and boulders, and clumpsof dwarf pine and hemlock, that not a hand’s breadth of an Indian’s body had yet been seen. Nearly opposite La Bonte, a shelv-ing glade in the mountain side ended in an abrupt precipice, and atthe very edge, and almost toppling over it, were several boulders
just of sufficient size to afford cover to a man’s body. As this bluff overlooked the trappers’ position, it was occupied by the Indians, and every rock covered an assailant. At one point, just over where La Bonte and Killbuck were lying, two boulders lay
together, with just sufficient interval to admit a rifle-barrel be- tween them, and from this breastwork an Indian kept up a most
annoying fire. All his shots fell in dangerous propinquity to one
or other of the trappers, and already Killbuck had been grazed by
one better directed than the others. La Bonte watched for some
time in vain for a chance to answer this persevering marksman,
and at length an opportunity offered, by which he was not long in
The Indian, as the light increased, was better able to discern
his mark, and fired, and yelled every time he did so, with re- doubled vigor. In his eagerness, and probably while in the act
of taking aim, he leaned too heavily against the rock which cover- ed him, and detaching it from its position, down it rolled into the
caiion, exposing his body by its fall. At the same instant a wreath of smoke pufied from the bushes which concealed the trappers, and the crack of La Bonte’s rifle spoke the first word of re- ply to the Indian challenge. A few feet behind the rock, fell the
dea-d body of the Indian, rolling down the steep sides of the caiion, and only stopped by a bush at the very bottom, withhi a few
yards of the spot where Markhead lay concealed in some high
grass. That daring fellow instantly jumped from his cover, and drawing his knife, rushed to the body, and in another moment held
aloft the Indian s scalp, giving, at the same time, a triumphant
whoop. A score of rifles were leveled and discharged at the in- trepid mountaineer ; but in the act many Indians incautiously ex- posed themselves, every rifle in the timber cracked simultaneously,
and for each report an Indian bit the dust. Now, however, they changed their tactics. Finding they were
unable to drive the trappers from their position, they retired fromthe mountain and the firing suddenly ceased. In their retreat they were forced to expose themselves, and again the w^hites dealt destruction among them. As the Indians retired, yelling loudly, the hunters thought they had given up the contest ; but presently a cloud of smoke rising from the bottom immediately below them,at once discovered the nature of their plans. A brisk wind wasblowing up the canon ; and favored by it, they fired the brush onthe banks of the stream, knowing that before this the huntersmust speedily retreat. Against such a result, but for the gale of wind which drove the
fire roaring before it, they could have provided—for your mountaineer never fails to find resources on a pinch. They would havefixed the brush to leeward of their position, and also carefully
ignited that to windward, or between them and the advancingflame, extinguishing it immediately when a sufficient space hadthus been cleared, over which the flame could not leap, and thuscutting themselves off from it both above and below their position. In the present instance they could not profit by such a course, as the wind was so strong that, if once the bottom caught fire, theywould not be able to extinguish it ; besides which, in the attempt,they would so expose themselves that they would be picked ofi’ bythe Indians without difficulty. As it was, the fire came roaringbefore the wind with the speed of a race-horse, and, spreadingfrom the bottom, licked the mountain sides, the dry grass burninglike tinder. Huge volumes of stifling smoke rolled before it, and,in a very few minutes, the trappers were hastily mounting their animals, driving the packed ones before them. The dense cloudsof smoke concealed every thing from their view, and, to avoid this, they broke from the creek and galloped up the sides of the canonon to the more level plateau. As they attained this, a band ofmounted Indians charged them. One, waving a red blanket,dashed through the cavallada, and was instantly followed by all
the loose animals of the trappers, the rest of the Indians pursuing
with loud shouts. So sudden was the charge, that the whites had
not power to prevent the stampede. Old Bill, as usual, led his pack -mules by the lariat ; but the animals, mad with terror, at the shouts of the Indians, broke from him, nearly pulling him out
of his seat at the same time. To cover the retreat of the others with their prey, a band of mounted Indians now appeared, threatening an attack in front, while their first assailants, rushing from the bottom, at least a hundred strong, assaulted in rear. ” Do ‘ee hyar, boys I” shouted
old Bill, ” break, or you’ll go under. This child’s goin’ to cache !” and saying the word, off^ he went, ^auve-qui-i^eut was the order of the day, and not a moment too soon, for overwhelming numbers
were charging upon them, and the mountain resounded with
savage yells. La Bonte and Killbuck stuck together : they saw
old Bill, bending over his saddle, dive right into the cloud of smoke, and apparently make for the creek bottom—their other companions scattering each on his oM^n hook, and saw no more of them for many a month; and thus was one of the most daring
and successful bands broken up that ever trapped in the mountains
of the Far West.
It is painful to follow the steps of the poor fellows who, thus
despoiled of the hardly-earned produce of their hunt, saw all their wealth torn from them at one swoop. The two Canadians were
killed upon the night succeeding that of the attack. Worn with
fatigue, hungiy and cold, they had built a fire in what they thought was a secure retreat, and, rolled in their blankets, were soon buried
in a sleep from w^iich they never awoke. An Indian boy tracked them, and watched their camp. Burning with the idea of signalizing himself thus early, he awaited his opportunity, and noiselessly approaching their resting-place, shot them both with arrows, and returned in triumph to his people with their horses and
La Bonte and Killbuck sought a passage in the mountain bywhich to cross over to the head waters of the Columbia, and therefall in with some of the traders or trappers of the Northwest.They became involved in the mountains, in a part where was nogame of any description, and no pasture for their miserable ani-mals. One of these they killed for food ; the other, a bag ofbones, died from sheer starvation. They had very httle ammunition, their moccasins were worn out, and they were unable to pro-cure skins to supply themselves with fresh ones. Winter was fastapproaching ; the snow already covered the mountains ; andstorms of sleet and hail poured incessantly through the valleys,benumbing their exhausted limbs, hardly protected by scanty andragged covering. To add to their miseries, poor Killbuck wastaken ill. He had been wounded in the groin by a bullet, sometime before, and the ball still remained. The wound, aggravatedby walking and the excessive cold, assumed an ugly appearance,and soon rendered him incapable of sustained exertion, all motioneven being attended with intolerable pain. La Bonte had madea shanty for his suffering companion, and spread a soft bed of pinebranches for him, by the side of a small creek at the point whereit came out of the mountain and followed its course through a little prairie. They had been three days without other food than apiece of parfleche, which had formed the back of La Bonte’sbullet-pouch, and which, after soaking in the creek, they eagerlydevoured. Killbuck was unable to move, and sinking fast fromexhaustion. His companion had hunted from morning till night,as well as his failing strength would allow him, but had not seenthe traces of any kind of game, with the exception of some oldbuffalo tracks, made apparently months before by a band of bullscrossing the mountain. The morning of the fourth day La Bonte, as usual, rose at day-break from his blanket, and was proceeding to collect wood for thefire during his absence while hunting, when Killbuck called to
him, and in an almost inarticulate voice desired him to seat himself hy his side. ” Boy,” he said, ” this old hos feels like goin’ under, and that
afore long. You’re stout yet, and if thar was meat handy, you’d
^ome round slick. Now, boy, I’ll be under, as I said, afore many
lours, and if you don’t raise meat you’ll be in the same fix. I never eat dead meat* myself, and wouldn’t ask no one to do it neither ; but meat fair killed is meat any way ; so, boy, put your
knife in this old niggur’s lights, and help yourself. It’s ‘ poor bull,’ I know, but maybe it’ll do to keep life in ; and along the fleece thar’s meat yet, and maybe my old hump ribs has picking on
‘era.” ” You’re a good old hos,” answered La Bonte, ” but this child
ain’t turned niggur yet.”
Killbuck then begged his companion to leave him to his fate, and strive himself to reach game ; but this alternative La Bonte
likewise generously refused, and faintly endeavoring to cheer the
sick man, left him once again to look for game. He was so weak
that he felt difficulty in supporting himself, and knowing how
futile would be his attempts to hunt, he sallied from the camp
convinced that a few hours more would see the last of him. He had scarcely raised his eyes, when, hardly crediting hia
senses, he saw within a few hundred yards of him an old bull, worn with age, lying on the prairie. Two wolves were seated on
their haunches before him, their tongues lolling from their mouths,
while the buffalo was impotently rolling his ponderous head from
side to side, his blood-shot eyes glaring fiercely at his tormentors,
and flakes of foam, mixed with blood, dropping from his mouth
over his long shaggy beard. La Bonte was transfixed ; he
scarcely dared to breathe, lest the animal should be alarmed and
escape. Weak as it was, he could hardly have followed it, and,
** Carrion.
knowing that liis own and companion’s life hung upon the successof his shot, he scarcely had strength to raise his rifle. By dint ofextraordinary exertions and precautions, which were totally unnecessary, for the poor old bull had not a move in him, the hunterapproached within shot. Lying upon the ground, he took a long,steady aim, and fired. The hufTalo raised its matted head, tossedit wildly for an instant, and, stretching out its limbs convulsively,turned over on its side and was dead. Killbuck heard the shot, and crawling from under the little shanty which covered his bed, saw, to his astonishment, La Bontein the act of butchering a bufialo within two hundred yards ofcamp. ” Hurraw for you I” he faintly exclaimed; and exhaustedby the exertion he had used, and perhaps by the excitement of ananticipated feast, fell back and fainted. However, the killing was the easiest matter, for when the hugecarcass lay dead upon the ground, our hunter had hardly strengthto drive the blade of his knife through the tough hide of the oldpatriarch. Then having cut off as much of the meat as he couldcarry, eating the while sundry portions of the liver, which hedipped in the gall-bladder by way of relish. La Bonte cast a wistful look upon the half-starved wolves, who now loped round andround, licking their chops, only waiting until his back was turnedto fall to with appetite equal to his own, and capabilities of swal-lowing and digesting far superior. La Bonte looked at the bufTaloand then at the wolves, leveled his rifle and shot one dead, atwhich the survivor scampered ofT without delay. Arrived at camp, packing in a tolerable load of the best part ofthe animal—for hunger lent him strength—he found poor Killbucklying on his back, deaf to time, and to all appearance gone under.Having no sal-volatile or vinaigrette at hand. La Bonte flapped alump of raw fleece into his patient’s face, and this instantly revivedhim. Then taking the sick man’s shoulder, he raised him tenderlyinto a sitting posture, and invited, in kindly accents, ” the old hos
to feed,” thrusting at the same time a tolerable slice of liver into
his hand, which the patient looked at wistfully and vaguely for a few short moments, and then greedily devoured. It was nightfall
by the time that La Bonte, assisted by many intervals of hard
eating, packed in the last of the meat, which formed a goodly pile around the fire. “Poor bull” it was, in all conscience : the labor of chewing a
mouthful of the ” tender-loin” was equal to a hard day’s hunt

but to them, poor starved fellows, it appeared the richest of meat. They still preserved a small tin pot, and in this, by stress of eternal
boiling. La Bonte contrived to make some strong soup, which soon
restored his sick companion to marching order. For himself, as soon as a good meal had filled him, he was strong as ever, and
employed himself in drying the remainder of the meat for future
use. Even the wolf, bony as he was, was converted into meat,
and rationed them several days. Winter, however, had set in with such severity, and Killbuck was still so weak, that La Bonte
determined to remain in his present position until spring, as he now found that buffalo frequently visited the valley, as it was
more bare of snow than the loAvlands, and afforded them better pasture ; and one morning he had the satisfaction of seeing a band
of seventeen bulls within long rifle-shot of the camp, out of which
four of the fattest were soon laid low by his rifle. They still had hard times before them, for toward spring the
buffalo again disappeared ; the greater part of their meat had been
spoiled, owing to there not being sufficient sun to diy it thoroughly ; and when they resumed their journey they had nothing to carry with them, and had a desert before them without game of any kind. We pass over what they suffered. Hunger and thirst were their portion, and Indians assaulted them at times, and
many miraculous and hair-breadth escapes they had from these enemies.
The trail to Oregon, followed by traders and emigrants, crossesthe Rocky Mountains at a point known as the South Pass, wherea break in the chain occurs of such moderate and gradual elevation,as to permit the passage of wagons with tolerable facility. TheSweet Water Valley runs nearly to the point where the dividingridge of the Pacific and Atlantic waters throws off its streamstotheir respective oceans. At one end of this valley, and situated onthe right bank of the Sweet Water, a huge isolated massofgranitic rock rises to the height of three hundred feet, abruptlyfrom the plain. On the smooth and scarped surface presented byone of its sides, are rudely carved the names and initials of traders,trappers, travelers, and emigrants, who have here recorded thememorial of their sojourn in the remote wilderness of the Far West.The face of the rock is covered with names familiar to the mountaineers as those of the most renowned of their hardy brotherhood; while others again occur, better known to the science and literatureof the Old World than to the unlearned trappers of the RockyMountains. The huge mass is a well-known landmark to theIndians and mountaineers : and travelers and emigrants hail it asthe half-way beacon between the frontiers of the United Statesand the still distant goal of their long and perilous journey.
It was a hot sultry day in July. Not a breath of air relievedthe intense and oppressive heat of the atmosphere, unusual here,where pleasant summer breezes, and sometimes stronger gales,blow over the elevated plains with the regularity of trade-winds.The sun, at its meridian height, struck the dry sandy plain and
parched the drooping buffalo-grass on its surface, and its rays, refracted and reverberating from the heated ground, distorted every object seen through its lurid medium. Straggling antelope,
leisurely crossing the adjoining prairie, appeared to be gracefully
moving in mid-air ; while a scattered band of buffalo bulls loomed
huge and indistinct in the vapory distance. In the timbered
valley of the river, deer and elk were standing motionless in the
water, under the shade of the overhanging cotton-woods, seeking a
respite from the persevering attacks of swarms of horse-flies and
musquitos ; and now and then a heavy splash was heard, as they
tossed their antlered heads into the stream, to free them from the venomous insects that buzzed incessantly about them. In the sandy prairie, beetles of an enormous size were rolling in every
direction huge balls of earth, pushing them with their hind legs
with comical perseverance ; cameleons darted about, assimilating the hue of their grotesque bodies with the color of the sand : groups
of prairie-dog houses were seen, each with its inmate barking lustily on the roof; while under cover of nearly every bush of sage or cactus a rattlesnake lay glittering in lazy coil. Tantalizing the parched sight, the neighboring peaks of the lofty Wind River
Mountains glittered in a mantle of sparkling snow, while Sweet
Water Mountain, capped in cloud, looked gray and cool, in
striking contrast to the burned up plains which lay basking at its foot.Resting their backs against the rock (on which, we have said, are tww carved the names of many travelers), and defended from
the powerful rays of-^the sun by its precipitous sides, two white men
quietly slept. They were gaunt and lantern-jawed, and clothed
in tattered buckskin. Each held a rifle across his knees, but
strange sight in this country—one had its pan thrown open, which was rust-eaten and contained no priming ; the other’s hammer
was without a flint. Their faces were as if covered with mahogany-colored parchment ; their eyes were sunken ; and as their jaws
fell listlessly on their breasts, their cheeks were hollow, with thebones nearly protruding from the skin. One was in the prime ofmanhood, with handsome features ; the other, considerably pastmiddle age, was stark and stern. Months of dire privation hadbrought them to this pass. The elder of the two was Killbuck,of mountain fame ; the other was hight La Bonte. The former opened his eyes, and saw the buffalo feeding on theplain. ” Ho, boy,” he said, touching his companion, ” thar’s meata-runnin.” La Bonte looked in the direction the other pointed, stood upand hitching round his pouch and powder-horn, drew the stopperfrom the latter with his teeth, and placing the mouth in the palmof his left hand, turned the horn up and shook it. ” Not a grain,” he said—” not a grain, old hos.”
” Waghl” exclaimed the other, ” we’ll have to eat afore long,”and rising, walked into the prairie. He had hardly stepped twopaces, when, passing close to a sage bush, a rattlesnake whizzedanote of warning with its tail. Killbuck grinned, and taking thewiping-stick from his rifle-barrel, tapped the snake on the head,and, taking it by the tail, threw it to La Bonte, saying, ” hyar’smeat, any how.” The old fellow followed up his success by slay-ing half-a-dozen more, and brought them in skewered through thehead on his wiping-stick. A fire was soon kindled, and the snakesroasting before it ; when La Bonte, who sat looking at the buffalowhich fed close to the rock, suddenly saw them raise their heads,snuff the air, and scamper toward him. A few minutes afterwarda huge shapeless body loomed in the refracted air, approaching thespot where the buffalo had been grazing. The hunters looked atit and then at each other, and ejaculated ” Wagh !” Presentlyalong white mass showed more distinctly, followed by another, andbefore each was a string of animals. “Wagons, by hos and beaver I Hurrah for Conostoga !” ex-claimed the trappers in a breath, as they now observed two white-
tilted wagons, drawn by several pairs of mules, approaching the very spot where they sat. Several mounted men were, riding about the wagons, and two on horseback, in advance of all, were
approaching the rock, when they observed the smoke curling from
the hunters’ fire. They halted at sight of this, and one of the two,
drawing a long instrument from a case, which Killbuck voted a
rifle, directed it toward them for a moment, and then, lowering it, again moved forward. As they drew near, the two poor trappers, although half-dead with joy, still retained their seats with Indian gravity and immobihty of feature, turning now and then the crackling snakes which
lay on the embers of the fire. The two strangers approached.
One, a man of some fifty years of age, of middle height and stoutly
built, was clad in a white shooting-jacket, of cut unknown in mountain tailoring, and a pair of trowsers of the well-known
material called ” shepherd’s plaid ;” a broad-brimmed Panama
shaded his face, which was ruddy with health and exercise ; a belt round the waist supported a handsome bowie-knife, and a doublebarreled fowling-piece was dung across his shoulder. His companion was likewise dressed in a light shooting-jacket, of many pockets and dandy cut, rode on an English saddle and in
boot’i, and was armed with a superb double rifle, glossy from the
case, and bearing few marks of use or service. He was a tall, fine-looking fellow of thirty, with hght hair and complexion ; a
scrupulous beard and mustache ; a wide-awake hat, with a short pipe stuck in the band, not very black with smoke ; an elaborate powder-horn over his shoulder, with a Cairngorm in the butt as large as a plate ; a blue handkerchief tied round his throat in a
sailor’s knot, and the collar of his shirt turned carefully over it. He had, moreover, a tolerable idea of his very correct appearance, and wore Woodstock gloves.
The trappers looked at them from head to foot, and the more
they looked, the less could they make them out. G
“H—I” exclaimed La Bonte emphatically.
” This beats grainin’ bull-hide slick,” broke from Killbuck asthe strangers reined up at the fire, the younger dismounting, andstaring with wonder at the weather-beaten trappers. ” Well, my men, how are you ?” he rattled out. ” Any gamehere ? By Jove I” he suddenly exclaimed, seizing his rifle, as atthat moment a large buzzard, the most unclean of birds, flew intothe topmast branch of a cotton-wood, and sat, a tempting shot.” By Jove, there’s a chance I” cried the mighty hunter ; and,bending low, started ofi^ to approach the unwary bird in the mostapproved fashion of northern deer-stalkers. The buzzard satquietly, and now and then stretched its neck to gaze upon theadvancing sportsman, who on such occasions threw himself flat onthe ground, and remained motionless, in dread of alarming thebird. It was worth while to look at the countenance of old Kill-buck, as he watched the antics of the ” bourgeois” hunter. Hethought at first that the dandy rifleman had really discoveredgame in the bottom, and was nothing loth that there was a chanceof his seeing meat ; but when he understood the object of suchmancEuvres, and saw the quarry the hunter was so carefully ap-proaching, his mouth grinned from ear to ear, and, turning to LaBonte, he said, ” Wagh ! he-s some

he is I” Nothing doubting, however, the stranger approached the treeon which the bird was sitting, and, getting well under it, raisedhis rifle and fired. Down tumbled the bird ; and the successfulhunter, with a loud shout, rushed frantically toward it, and bore itin triumph to the camp, earning the most sovereign contemptfrom the two trappers by the achievement. The other stranger was a quieter character. He, too, smiled ashe witnessed the exultation of his younger companion, (M^hose’lorse, by the way, was scampering about the plain), and spokekindly to the mountaineers, whose appearance was clear CAadenceof the sufierings they had endured. The snakes by this time were
cooked, and the trappers gave their new acquaintances the never- faihng invitation to “sit and eat,” When the latter, however,
understood what the viands were, their looks expressed the horror and disgust they felt. ” Good God I ” exclaimed the elder, ” you surely can not eat such
disgusting food ?”
” This niggur doesn’t savy what disgustin is,” gruffly answered
Killbuck ; ” but them as carries empty paunch three days an’ more, is glad to get * snake-meat ,’ I’m thinkin.”
” What I you’ve no ammunition, then ?”
” Well, we haven’t.”
” Wait till the wagons come up, and throw away that abominable stuff, and you shall have something better, I promise,” said the elder of the strangers. ” Yes,” continued the younger, ” some hot preserved soup, hotchpotch, and a glass of porter, will do you good.”
The trappers looked at the speaker, who was talking Greek
(to them). They thought the bourgeois were making fun, and
did not half like it, so answered simply, ” Wagh I h—’s full of hosh-posh and porter.”
Two large wagons presently came up, escorted by some eight
or ten stout Missourians. Sublette was among the number, well known as a mountain trader, and under whose guidance the
present party, which formed a pleasure expedition at the expense
of a Scotch sportsman, was leisurely making its way across the mountains to the Columbia. As several mountaineers were in company, Killbuck and La Bonte recognized more than one friend, and the former and Sublette were old compaiieros. As soon as the animals were unliitched, and camp formed on the banks of the
creek, a black cook set about preparing a meal. Our two trapping friends looked on with astonishment as the sable functionary
drew from the wagon the different articles he required to furnish
forth a feed. Hams, tongues, tins of preserved meats, bottles of
pickles, of porter, brandy, coffee, sugar, flour, were tumbled pro- miscuously on the prairie ; while pots and pans, knives, forks, spoons, plates, &c., &c., displayed their unfamiliar faces to themountaineers. ” Hosh-posh and porter” did not now appear suchUtopian articles as they had first imagined ; but no one but thosewho have fared for years on simple meat and water, can under-stand the relish with which they accepted the invitation of theCapen (as they called the Scotchman) to “take a horn of liquor.” Killbuck and La Bonte sat in the same position as when we first surprised them asleep under the shadow of Independence Rock,regarding the profuse display of comestibles with scarce-believingeyes, and childishly helpless from the novelty of the scene. Eachtook the proffered half-pint cup, filled to the brim with excellentbrandy—(no tee-totalers they !) —looked once more at the ambercolored surface, and with the usual mountain pledge of ” here’s luck I” tossed off the grateful liquor at a breath. This preparedthem in some measure for what was yet in store’ for them. TheScotchman bestirred the cook in his work, and soon sundry steaming pots were lifted from the fire, and the skillets emptied of their bread—the contents of the former poured in large flat pans, whilepanikins were filled with smoking coffee. The two trappersneeded no second invitation, but, seizing each a panful of steaming stew, drew the butcher-knives from their belts, and fell to
lustily—the hospitable Scotchman plying them with more andmore, and administering corrective noggins of brandy the while

until at last they were fain to cry enough, wiped their knives onthe grass, and placed them in their sheaths—a sign that humannature could no more. How can pen describe the luxury of thesmoke that followed, to lips which had not kissed pipe for manymonths, and how the fragrant honey-dew from Old Virginia wasrelishingly puffed.
But the Scotchman’s bounty did not stop here. He soon elicited from the lips of the hunters the narrative of their losses and pri-
vations, and learned that they now, without ammunition and
scarcely clothed, were on their way to Platte Fort, to hire themselves to the Indian traders in order to earn another outfit, where- with once more to betake themselves to their perilous employment
of trapping. What was their astonishment to see their entertainer presently lay out upon the ground two piles of goods, each consisting of a four-point Mackinaw, two tin canisters of powder,
with corresponding lead and flints, a pair of moccasins, a shirt, and sufficient buckskin to make a pair of pantaloons ; and how
much the more was the wonder increased Avhen two excellent Indian horses were presently lassoed from the cavallada, and with
r|K)untain saddle, bridle, and lariats complete, together with the two piles of goods described, presented to them “on the prairie”
or “gift-free,” by the kind-hearted stranger, who would not even
listen to thanks for the most timely and invaluable present.
Once more equipped, our two hunters, filled with good brandy
and fat buffalo meat, again wended on their way ; their late entertainers continuing their pleasure trip across the gap of the South Pass, intending to visit the Great Salt Lake, or Timponogos, of the West. The former were bound for the North Fork
of the Platte, with the intention of joining one of the numerous
trapping parties which rendezvous at the American Fur Conjpany’s post on that branch of the river. On a fork of Sweet
Water, however, not two days after the meeting with the Scotch- man’s wagons, they encountered a band of a dozen mountaineers,
mounted on fine horses, and well armed and equipped, traveling
along without the usual accompaniment of a mulada of packanimals, two or three mules alone being packed with meat and
spare ammunition. The band was proceeding at a smart rate, the horses moving with the gait peculiar to American animals,
known as ”’pacing” or ” racking,”’ in Indian file—each of the mountaineers with a long, heavy rifle resting across the horn of
his saddle. Among them our two friends recognized Markhead,
who had been one of the party dispersed months before by the
Blackfeet on one of the head streams of the Yellow Stone, whichevent had been the origin of the dire sufferings of Killbuck andLa Bonte. Markhead, after running the gauntlet of numerousIndians, through the midst of whose country he passed with his usual temerity and utter disregard to danger, suffering hunger,
thirst, and cold—those every-day experiences of mountain life
riddled with balls, but with three scalps hanging from his belt, made his way to a rendezvous on Bear River, whence he struck out for the Platte in early spring, in time to join the band henow accompanied, who were on a horse-stealing expedition to tha Missions of Upper California. Little persuasion did either Kill- buck or La Bonte require to join the sturdy freebooters. In five minutes they had gone ”iiles-about,” and at sundown were camping on the well-timbered bottom of ” Little Sandy,” feasting once more on delicate hump-rib and tender-loin. For California, ho ! Fourteen good rifles in the hands of fourteen mountain men,stout and true, on fourteen strong horses, of true Indian blood and training ; fourteen cool heads, with fourteen pairs of keeneyes in them, each head crafty as an Indian’s, directing a right arm strong as steel, and a heart as brave as grizzly bear’s. Before them a thousand miles of dreary desert or wilderness, overrun by hostile savages, thirsting for the white man’s blood ; famine
and drought, the arrows of wily hordes of Indians—and, these dangers past, the invasion of the civilized settlements of whites, the least numerous of which contained ten times their number of armed and bitter enemies ; the sudden swoop upon their countless herds of mules and horses, the fierce attack and bloody slaughter

such were the consequences of the expedition these bold mountaineers were now engaged in. Fourteen lives of any fourteen enemies who would be rash enough to stay them, were, any dayyou will, carried in the rifle barrels of these stout fellows ; who,
in all the proud consciousness of their physical qualities, neither
^ thought nor cared to think of future perils ; and rode merrily on
their way, rejoicing in the dangers they must necessarily meet. Never a more daring band crossed the mountains : a more than
ordinary want of caution characterized their march, and dangers
recklessly and needlessly invited, which even the older and more
cold-blooded mountaineers seemed not to care to avoid. They
had, each and all, many a debt to pay the marauding Indians. Grudges for many privations, for wounds and loss of comrades, rankled in their breasts ; and not one but had suffered more or
less in property and person at the hands of the savages, within a few short months. Threats of vengeance on every Redskin they
met were loud and deep ; and the wild war-songs round their nightly camp-fires, and grotesque scalp-dances, borrowed from the
Indians, proved to the initiated that they were, one and all, “halffroze for hair.” Soon after Killbuck and La Bonte jonied them,
they one day suddenly surprised a band of twenty Sioux, scattered on a small prairie and butchering some buffalo they had just
killed. Before they could escape, the whites were upon them
with loud shouts, and in three minutes the scalps of eleven were
dangling from their saddle-horns. Struggling up mountains, slipping down precipices, dashing ovfer prairies which resounded with their Indian songs, charging the Indians wherever they met them, and without regard to their numbers ; frightening with their lusty war-whoops the miserable
Diggers, who were not unfrequently surprised while gathering
roots in the mountain plains, and who, scrambling up the rocks and concealing themselves, like sage rabbits, in holes and corners, peered, chattering with fear, as the wild and noisy troop rode by. Scarce drawing rein, they passed rapidly the heads of Green and
Grand Rivers, through a country abounding in game and in
excellent pasture ; encountering in the upland valleys, through
which meandered the well-timbered creeks on which they made
their daily camps, many a band of Yutas, throufrli whom they dashed at random, caring not whether they were friends or foes. Passing many other heads of streams, they struck at last the edge
of the desert, lying along the southeastern base of the Great Salt Lake, and which extends in almost unbroken sterility to the foot of the range of the Sierra Nevada—a m.ountain chain, capped
with perpetual snow, that bounds the northern extremity of a
singular tract of country, walled by mountains and utterly desert, whose salt lagoons and lakes, although fed by many streams, find no outlet to the ocean, but are absorbed in the spongy soil or thirsty sand, which characterizes the different portions of this deserted tract. In the ” Grand Basin,” it is reported, neither human nor animal life can be supported. No oases cheer the wanderer in the unbroken solitude of the vast wilderness. Morethan once the lone trapper has penetrated, with hardy enterprise, into the salt plains of the basin ; but no signs of beaver or fur- bearing animal rewarded the attempt. The ground is scantily covered with coarse, unwholesome grass that mules and horses
refuse to eat ; and the water of the springs, impregnated with
the impurities of the soil through which it percolates, affords but
nauseating draughts to the thirsty traveler. In passing from the more fertile uplands to the lower plains, as they descended the streams, the timber on their banks becamescarcer, and the groves more scattered. The rich buffalo or gramagrass was exchanged for a coarser species, on which the hard-worked animals soon grew poor and weak. The thickets of plum andcherry, of box-alder and quaking ash, which had hitherto fringed the creeks, and where the deer and bear loved to resort—the former to browse on the leaves and tender shoots, the latter to devour the fruit—now entirely disappeared, and the only shrub
seen was the eternal sage-bush, which flourishes every where in the western regions in uncongenial soils where other vegetation
refuses to grow. The visible change in the scenery had also a
sensible effect on the spirits of the mountaineers. They traveled on in silence through the deserted plains ; the hi-hi-hiya of their Indian chants were no longer heard enlivening the line of march. More than once a Digger of the Piyutah tribe took himself and
hair, in safety, from their path, and almost unnoticed ; but as they advanced they became more cautious in their movements,
and testified, by the vigilant watch they kept up, that they anticipated hostile attacks even in these arid wastes. They had
passed without molestation through the country infested by the
bolder Indians. The mountain Yutas, not relishing the appear- ance of the hunters, had left them unmolested ; but they were now entering a country inhabited by the most degraded and abject of the western tribes ; who, nevertheless, ever suffering from
the extremities of hunger, have their brutish wits sharpened by
the necessity of procuring food, and rarely fail to levy a contri- bution of rations, of horse or mule flesh, on the passenger in their inhospitable country. The brutish cunning and animal instinct of these wretches is such, that although arrant cowards, their attacks are more feared than those of bolder Indians. These
people —called the Yamparicas, or Root Diggers—are, nevertheless, the degenerate descendants of those tribes which once overran
that portion of the continent of North America now comprehended
within the boundaries of Mexico, and who have left such start- ling evidences in their track of a comparatively superior state of
civilization. They now form an outcast tribe of the great nation
of the Apache, which extends under various names from the Great
Salt Lake along the table-lands on each side the Sierra Madre to the tropic of Cancer, where they merge into what are called the Mexican Indians. The whole of this nation is characterized by
most abject cowardice ; and they even refuse to meet the helpless
Mexicans in open fight—unlike the Yuta or Camanche, who carry bold and open warfare into the territories of their civilized enemy, and never shrink from hand to hand encounter. The Apaches
and the degenerate Diggers pursue a cowardly warfare, hiding in ambush, and shooting the passer-by with arrows ; or dashing uponhim at night when steeped in sleep, they bury their arrow to thefeather in his heaving breast. As the Mexicans say, ” Sm ventaja, no s,alenf’ they never attack without odds. But they are not the less dangerous enemies on this account ; and by the smallbands of trappers who visit their country, they are the more dreadedby reason of this cowardly and wolfish system of warfare. To provide against surprise, therefore, as the hunters rode along, flankers were extended en gicerilla on each side, mounting the high points to reconnoiter the country, and keeping a sharp look- out for Indian sign. At night the animals were securely hobbled,
and a horse-guard posted round them—a service of great danger,
as the stealthy, cat-like Diggers are often known to steal upsilently, under cover of the darkness, toward the sentinel, shoot him with their arrows, and approaching the animals, cut the hobbles and drive them away unseen. One night they encamped on a creek where was but little of the coarsest pasture, and that little scattered here and there ; so that they were compelled to allow their animals to roam farther than usual from camp in search of food. Four of the hunters,
however, accompanied them to guard against surprise ; while buthalf of those in camp lay down to sleep, the others, with rifles in
their hands, remained prepared for any emergency. This daythey had killed one of their two pack-mules for food, game not having been met with for several days ; but the animal was so poor, that it scarcely afforded more than one tolerable meal to the whole party.
A short time before the dawn of day, an alarm was given ; the animals were heard to snort violently ; a loud shout was heard, followed by the sharp crack of a rifle, and the tramp of galloping
horses, plainly showed that a stampede had been effected. Thewhites instantly sprang to their arms, and mshed in the direction
of the sounds. The body of the cavallada, however, had luckily
turned, and, being headed by the mountaineers, were surrounded and secured, with the loss of only three, which had probably been mounted by the Indians. Day breaking soon after, one of their band was discovered to be
missing ; and it was then found that a man who had been stand- ing horse-guard at the time of the attack, had not come into camp
with his companions. At that moment a thin, spiral column of smoke was seen to rise from the banks of the creek, telling but too surely the fate of the missing mountaineer. It was the signal of the Indians to their people that a ” coup” had been struck, and
that an enemy’s scalp remained in their triumphant hands.
” H— I” exclaimed the trappers in a breath ; and soon imprecations and threats of revenge, loud and deep, were showered upon
the heads of the treacherous Indians. Some of the party rushed
to the spot where the guard had stood, and there lay the body of
their comrade, pierced with lance and arrow, the scalp gone, and
the body otherwise mutilated in a barbarous manner. Five were
quickly in the saddle, mounted upon the strongest horses, and fly- ing along the track of the Indians, who had made off toward the mountains with their prize and booty. We will not follow them
in their work of bloody vengeance, save by saying that they fol* lowed the savages to their village, into which they charged headlong, recovered their stolen horses, and returned to camp at sun- down with thirteen scalps dangling from their rifles, in payment
for the loss of their unfortunate companion.* In their further advance, hunger and thirst were their daily
* In rremont’s expedition to California, on a somewhat similar occasion, two
mountaineers, one the celebrated Kit Carson, the other a St. Louis Frenchman named Grodey, and both old trappers, performed a feat surpassing the one de- scribed above, inasmuch as they were but two. They charged into an Indian
village to rescue some stolen horses, and avenge the slaughter of two New Mexicans who had been butchered by the Indians ; both which objects they effected, returning to camp with the lost animals and a couple of propitiatory scalps.
companions ; they were compelled to kill several of their animals
for food, but were fortunate enough to replace them by a stroke of good luck in meeting a party of Indians returning from an excursion against one of the Californian settlements with a tolerably
large band of horses. Our hunters met this band one fine morning, and dashed into the midst at once ; half a dozen Indians bit the dust, and twenty horses were turned over from red to white
masters in as many seconds, which remounted those whose ani- mals had been eaten, and enabled the others to exchange their worn-out steeds for fresh ones. This fortunate event was consid- ered a coup, and the event was celebrated by the slaughter of a
fat young horse, which furnished an excellent supper that night
a memorable event in these starveling regions.
They were now devouring their horses and mules at the rate of one every alternate day ; for, so poor were the animals, that one
scarcely furnished an ample meal for the thirteen hungry hunters. They were once more reduced to the animals they rode on ; and,
after a fast of twenty-four hours’ duration, were debating on the
propriety of drawing lots as to whose llosinante should fill the kettle, when some Indians suddenly appeared, making signs of peace upon the bluffy and indicating a disposition to enter the camp for the purpose of trading. Being invited to approach, they offered to trade a few dressed elk-skins ; but being asked for meat, they
said that their village was a long way off. and they had nothing
with them but a small portion of some game they had lately kill- ed. When requested to produce this, they hesitated, but the
trappers looking hungry and angry at the same moment, an old Indian drew from under his blanket several flaps of portable dried meat, which he declared was bear’s. It was but a small ration among so many ; but, being divided was quickly laid upon the
fire to broil. The meat Avas stringy, and of a whitish color, alto- gether unlike any flesh the trappers had before eaten. Killbuck was the first to discover this. He had been quietly masticating
the last mouthful of his portion, the stringiness of which required more than usual dental exertion, when the novelty of the flavor struck him as something singular. Suddenly his jaws ceased
their work, he thought a moment, took the morsel from his mouth,
looked at it intently, and dashed it into the fire. ” Man-meat, by G— I” he cried out ; and at the words every jaw stopped work : the trappers looked at the meat and each
” I’m dog-gone if it ain’t I” cried old Walker, looking at his
piece, ” and white meat at that, wagh I” (and report said it was
not the first time he had tasted such viands 😉 and the conviction
seizing each mind, every mouthful was quickly spat into the fire, and the ire of the deceived whites Avas instantly turned upon the
luckless providers of the feast. They saw the storm that was
brewing, and without more ado turned tail from the camp, and
scuttled up the bluffs, where, turning round, they fired a volley of arrows at. the tricked mountaineers, and instantly disappeared.
However, the desert and its nomade pilferers were at length
passed ; the sandy plains became grass covered prairies ; the monstrous cotton- wood on the creeks was replaced by oak and ash ; the
surface of the countiy grew more undulating, and less broken up
into carions and ravines ; elk and deer leaped in the bottoms, and
bands of antelope dotted the plains, with occasional troops of wild
horses, too wary to allow the approach of man. On the banks of a picturesque stream called the San Joaquim, the party halted a few days to recruit themselves and animals, feasting the while on
the fattest of venison and other game. They then struck to the
southeast for two days, until they reached a branch of the “Las
Animas,” a clear stream running through a pretty valley, well
timbered, and abounding in game. Here, as they wound along
the river-banks, a horseman suddenly appeared upon the bluff’ above them, galloping at a furious rate along the edge. His dress approached in some degree to civilized attire. A bi’Qad-brimmed
sombrero surmounted his swarthy face ; a colored blanket, through
a slit in which his head was thrust, floated in the air from his shoulders ; leathern leggings encased his lower limbs ; and huge
spurs jingled on his heels. He rode in a high-peaked Mexican
saddle, his feet thrust in ponderous stirrups, and in his hand
swung a coil of ready lasso, his only offensive arm. One of the trappers knew a little Spanish, and instantly hailed him.
” Cojnpadre,'” he shouted, ” j:ior onde va V The Californian reined in suddenly, throwing the horse he rode on its very haunches,
and darting down the bluff, galloped unhesitatingly into the midst
of the hunters.
” Americanos ‘.’^ he exclaimed, glancing at them ; and continued,
smiling—” Y caballos quieren, j)or eso vienen tan lejitos. Jesus, que viola gentel”—” It’s horses you want, and for this you come
all this way. Ah, what rogues you are I” He was an Indian, employed at the mission of San Fernando,
distant three days’ journey from their present position, and was now searching for a band of horses and mules which had strayed.
San Fernando, it appeared, had once before been visited by a party
of mountain freebooters, and the Indian therefore divined the
object of the present one. He was, he told them, ” un Indio,pero
niansito ;” an Indian, but a tame one ;* ” de oitas, Christiano ;” a Christian moreover (exhibiting a small cross which hung round
his neck). There were many people about the mission, he said, who knew how to fight, and had plenty of arms ; and there were
enough to ” eat up” the ” Americanos, sin frijoles^’ without
beans, as he facetiously observed. For his part, however, he was
very friendly to the Asniericanos ; he had once met a man of that nation who was a good sort of fellow, and had made him a present
of tobacco, of which he was particularly fond. Finding this hint
did not take, he said that the horses and mules belonging to the
* The Mexicans call the Indians living near the missions and engaged in agri- culture, maTisos, or mansilos, tame.
mission were innnmerable—” like that,” he added, sweeping his hand to all points of the compass over the plain, to intimate that they would cover that extent ; and he could point out a large herd grazing nearer at hand than the mission, and guarded but by three vaqueros. Regaled with venison, and with a smoke of his coveted
tobacco, he rode off, and made his way to the mission without
delay, conveying the startHng intelligence that a thousand Americans were upon them. The next morning the thirteen doughty mountaineers quietly
resumed their journey, moving leisurely along toward the object of their expedition.
It will not be out of place here to digress a little, in order to describe the singular features of the establishments formed in these remote regions by the Catholic church, as nuclei round which to concentrate the wandering tribes that inhabit the country, with a view to give them the benefit of civilized example, and to wean
them from their restless nomadic habits. The establishment of missions in Upper California is coeval with the first settlement of Southern Mexico. No sooner had
Spanish rule taken a firm foothold in the Aztec empire, than the avowed primary object of the military expedition began to be
carried into efTect. ” To save the souls” of the savage and bar- barous subjects of their most Catholic majesties was ever incul- cated upon the governers of the conquered country as the grand
object to be sought after, as soon as tranquillity was partially re- stored by the submission of the Mexicans ; and the Cross, the
sacred emblem of the Catholic faith, was to be upraised in the
remotest corners of the country, and the natives instructed and
compelled to worship it, in lieu of the grotesque images of their own idolatrous religion.
To carry into effect these orthodox instructions, troops of pious
priests, of friars, and monks of every order, and even of saintly nuns, followed in the wake of the victorious armies of Cortez

and, girding up their loins with zealous fervor and enthusiasm,
and with an enterprise and hardihood worthy of bucaniers, they
pushed their adventurous way far into the bowels of the land,
preaching devoutly and with commendable perseverance to savages who did not understand a syllable of what they so eloquently dis- coursed ; and returning, after the lapse of many months passed in
this first attempt, with glowing accounts of the ” mmj hucnindole^ the very ductile disposition of the savages, and of tlie thousands they had converted to ” Za santa fe catolica.'” Ferdinand and Isabel, of glorious memory, at once beat up for volunteers. Crowds of Franciscan monks, greasy Capuchinos, andnuns of orthodox odor, joined the band ; and saints even of the feminine gender, long since canonized and up aloft among the goodly muster of saints and martyrs, put foot once more on terra
JiTina, and, rosary in hand, crossed the seas to participate in the good work. As proof of this latter fact, one Venabides, a Franciscan, whose veracity is beyond impeachment, declared that, while preaching in the regions now known as New Mexico, onemillion Indians from the ” rumbo” known as Cibolo, a mightynation, approached his temporary pulpit on the Pvio Grande, andrequested in a body the favor of being baptized. Struck with the
singularity of this request from Indians with whom he had as yet held no communication, and with conscientit«JS scruples as to whether he would be justified in performing such ceremony without their having received previous instruction, he hesitated a fewmoments before making an answer. At this juncture the Indiansespied a medallion which hung around his neck, bearing the efhgyof a certain saint of extraordinary virtue. At sight of this theyfell on their knees before it ; and it was some time before theyfound words (in what language does not appear) to explain to the holy father that the original of that eiiigy, which hung pendentfrom his neck, had been long among them instructing them in the elements of the Christian religion, and had only lately disappeared

informing them that certain reverend men would shortly appear in. the land, who would finish the good work she had devoutly commenced, and clench the business by baptizing the one million miserable sinners who now knelt before El Padre Venabides.
” Valgame Dios I” reverently exclaimed that worthy man, ” qui
milagro es este ;” [what a miracle is this I hear ;] and casting up
his eyes, and speaking slowly, as if he weighed every word, and
taxing his memory of the historical calendar of saints, continued
‘* Se murio—aquella—santissima—muger—en el ano 175
es decir—ya liacen—mil—qiiatro—cientos—anos.'” [That most
holy woman died in the year 175, that is to say, one thousand
four hundred years ago.] ” Oh, what a strange thing is this I” the padre continues de- voutly. ” After so many ages spent in heaven in company of the
angels, of most holy men, and of virgins the most pure ; and, per- haps, also in the company of my worthy and esteemed friend and
patron, Don Vincente Carvajal y Calvo, who died a few years ago
in San Lucar of Xeres (bequeathing me certain arrobas of dry
wine, of a class I greatly esteem—for which act he deserved to be
canonized, and, I have no doubt, is), the said Don Vincente Carvajal y Calvo being, moreover, a man of the purest and holiest thoughts (Dios mio ! what a puchero that man always had on his table I) this holy woman comes here—to these wild and remote
regions ; this holy woman (who died fifteen hundred years ago),
abandoning the company of angels, of holy men, and sanctified women and virgins, and also of Don Vincente Carvajal y Calvo
(that worthy man !)—comes here, I say, where there are neither pucheros, nor garbanzos, nor dry wine, nor sweet wine, neither of Xeres, nor of Val de Peiias, nor of Peralta ; where” (sobbed the
padre, and bellowed the last word) ” there is—nothing either to eat
or to drink. Valgame Purissiraa Maria I And what is the name
of this holy woman ? the world will ask,” continues Venabides.
” Santa Clara of Carmona is her name, one well known in my
native countr}’-, who leaves heaven and all its joys, wends her wayto the distant wilds of New Spain, and spends years in inducting the savage people to the holy faith. Truly a pious work, andpleasing to God I” * Thus spoke Venabides the Franciscan, and no doubt he believed what he said ; and many others in old Spain were fools enough to beheve it too, for the shaven heads flocked over in greater numbers, and the cry was ever ” still they come.” Along the whole extent of the table-lands, not an Indian tribe but was speedily visited by the preaching friars and monks ; and,
in less than a century after the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, these hardy and enthusiastic frayles had pushed their wayinto the inhospitable regions of New Mexico, nearly two thousandmiles distant from the valley of Anahuac. How they succeededin surmounting the natural obstacles presented by the wild andbarren deserts they traversed ; how they escaped the infinite peril
they encountered at every step, at the hands of the savage inhabitants of the country, with whose language they were totally unacquainted, is sufficient puzzle to those who, in the present day, haveattempted a journey in the same regions.
However, it is impossible not to admire the hardihood of theseholy pioneers of civilization, who, totally unfitted by their formermode of life for undergoing such hardships as they must have anticipated, threw themselves into the wilderness with fearless andstubborn zeal. For the most part, however, they found the Indians exceedinglyhospitable and well disposed ; and it was not until some time after —when, receiving from the missionary monks glowing, and not al- ways very truthful accounts of the riches of the country in whichthey had located themselves, the governors of Mexico dispatched* From a manuscript obtained in Santa Fe of New Mexico, describing the
labors of the missionaries Fray Augustin Ruiz, Venabides, and Marcos, in the year 1585.
armed expeditions under adventurous desperadoes to take and re- tain possession of the said country, with orders to compel the sub- mission of the native tribes, and enforce their obedience to the authority of the whites—that the simple and confiding Indians began to see the folly they had committed in permitting the resi- dence among them of these superior beings, whom they had first looked upon as more than mortal, but who, when strong enough to do so, were not long in throwing off the mask, and proving to the simple savages that they w’ere much ” more human than divine.” Thus, in the province of New Mexico, Fray Augustin Ruiz,
with his co-preachers, Marcos and Venabides, were kindly received by the inhabitants, and we have seen how one million (?) Indians came from the “rumbo” of the cibolo, ready and willing to receive the baptismal sacrament. This Cibolo, or Sivulo, as it is written
in some old MSS., is, by the way, mysteriously alluded to by the monkish historians who have written on this region, as being a kingdom inhabited by a very superior class of Indians to any met
with between Anahuac and the Vale of Taos—in the enjoyment
of a high state of civihzation, inhabiting a well-built city, the houses of which were three stories high, and having attained considerable perfection in the domestic arts. This, notwithstanding
the authority of Don Francisco Vasquez Coronado, who visited’ Cibolo, and of Solis and Venegas, who have guaranteed the assertion, must be received cum grano sails; but, at all events, the
civilization of the mysterious Cibolo may be compared to that of the Aztec empire, under Montezuma, at the time of the Spanish
Conquest, both being egregiously exaggerated by the historians of the day. Cibolo was situated on a river called Tegue. At this day, neither name is known to the inhabitants of New Mexico.
If pate-shaven Venabides had held his tongue. New Mexico might now be in the peaceful possession of the Catholic Missions, and the property of the Church of Mexico pretty considerably enhanced by
the valuable ^Zaceres, or gold washings, which abound in that prov-
ince. Full, however, of the wonderful miracle of Santa Clara ofCarmona, which had been brought to light through the agency ofthe medallion at the end of his rosario, Fray Venabides mustneeds return to Spain, and humbug poor old Fernando, and eventhe more sensible Isabel, with wonderful accounts of the riches ofthe country he had been instrumental in exploring, and of the excellent disposition of the natives to receive the word of God. DonJuan Onate was, therefore, quickly dispatched to take possession ; and in his train followed twelve Castilian families of sangre azul,to colonize the newly acquired territory. The names of these still remain, disgraced by the degenerate wretches who now bear them,but in whom scarce a drop of blood remains which ever filteredfrom the veins of the paladins of Old Castile. Then commenced the troublous times. The missions were up-held by dint of steel alone ; and frequently the Indians rose, andoften massacred their white persecutors. The colonists were morethan once driven bodily from New Mexico, and were only rein-stated by the aid of large bodies of armed men. In California, however, they managed these things better. Thewily monks took care to keep all interlopers from the country, es-tablished themselves in snug quarters, instructed the Indians inagi’iculture, and soon gained such an ascendency over them, thatno difficulty was experienced in keeping them under proper andwholesome restraint. Strong and commodious missions were builtand fortified, well stored with arms and ammunition, and contain-ing sufficient defenders to defy attack. Luxuriant gardens andthriving vineyards soon surrounded these isolated stations : theplains waved with golden corn ; while domestic cattle, thriving onthe rich pasture, and roaming far and near, multiplied and in-creased a hundred fold. Nothing can be more beautiful than the appearance of oneof these missions, to the traveler who has lately passed the aridand barren wilderness of the Northwest. The adobe walls of
the convent-looking building, surmounted by cross and belfry, are
generally hidden in a mass of luxuriant vegetation. Fig-trees,
bananas, cherry, and apple, leaf-spreading platanos, and groves
of olives, form umbrageous vistas, under which the sleek monks
delight to wander ; gardens, cultivated by their own hands, testify to the horticultural skill of the worthy padres ; while vineyards
yield their grateful produce to gladden the hearts of the holy exiles in these western solitudes. Vast herds of cattle roam half-wild on the plains, and bands of mules and horses, whose fame has even. reached the distant lable-lands of the Rocky Mountains, and excit- ed the covetousness of the hunters—and thousands of which, from
the day they are foaled to that of their death, never feel a saddle on their backs—cover the country. Indians (Mansitos) idle round
the skirts of these vast herds (whose very numbers keep them to- gether), living, at their own choice, upon the flesh of mule, or ox, or horse.
CHAPTER VII. The Mission of San Fernando is situated on a small river calledLas Animas, a branch of the Los Martires. The convent is builtat the neck of a large plain, at the point of influx of the streamfrom the broken spurs of the sierra. The savanna is covered withluxuriant grass, kept down, however, by the countless herds ofcattle which pasture on it. The banks of the creek are covered witha lofty growth of oak and poplar, which near the Mission havebeenconsiderably thinned for the purpose of affording fuel and buildingmaterials for the increasing settlement. The convent standsinthe midst of a grove of fruit-trees, its rude tower and cross peep-ing above them, and contrasting picturesquely with the wildnessof the surrounding scenery. Gardens and orchards lie immediately in front of the building, and a vineyard stretches away to theupland ridge of the valley. The huts of the Indians are scatteredhere and there, built of stone and adobe, sometimes thatched withflags and boughs, but comfortable enough. The convent itselfisa substantial building, of the style of architecture characterizingmonastic edifices in most parts of the world. Loopholes peerfrom its plastered walls, and on a flat portion of the roof a comicallymounted gingall or wall-piece, carrying a two-pound ball, threat-ens the assailant in time of war. At one end of the oblong building, a rough irregular arch of sun-burned bricks is surmountedbya rude cross, under which hangs a small but deep toned bell—thewonder of the Indian peones, and highly venerated by the fraylesthemselves, who received it as a present from a certain venerablearchbishop of Old Spain, and who, while guarding it with rever-
ential awe, tell wondrous tales of its adventures on the road to its present abiding place.
Of late years the number of the canonical inmates of the con- vent has been much reduced—there being but four priests now to do the duties of the eleven who formerly inhabited it : Fray Augustin, a Capuchin of due capacity of paunch, being at the head
of the holy quartette. Augustin is the conventual name of the reverend father, who fails not to impress upon such casual visitants to that ultima Thule as he deems likely to appreciate the information, that, but for his humility, he might add the sonorous appellations of Ignacio Sabanal-Morales-y Fuentes—his family being
of the best blood of Old Castile, and known there since the days
of Ruy Gomez—el Campeador—possessing, moreover, half the
” vega” of the Ebro, &:c., where, had fate been propitious, he
would now have been the sleek superior of a rich capuchin convent, instead of vegetating, a leather-clad frayle, in the wilds of
California Alta. Nevertheless, his lot is no bad one. With plenty of the best and fattest meat to eat, whether of beef or venison, of bear or mountain mutton ; with good wine and brandy of home make, and
plenty of it ; fruit of all climes in great abundance ; wheaten or corn bread to suit his palate ; a tractable flock of natives to guide,
and assisted in the task by three brother shepherds ; far from the
strife of politics or party—secure from hostile attack (not quite,
by-the-by), and eating, drinking, and sleeping away his time, one would think that Fray Augustin Ignacio Sabanal-Morales-y Fuentes had little to trouble him, and had no cause to regret even the vega
of Castilian Ebro, held by his family since the days of el Campeador.
One evening Fray Augustin sat upon an adobe bench, under the
fig-tree shadowing the porch of the Mission. He was dressed in a
goat-skin jerkin, softly and beautifully dressed, and descending to his hips, under which his only covering—tell it not in Gath I

was a long linen shirt, reaching to his knees, and lately procuredfrom Puebla de los Angeles, as a sacerdotal garment. Boots,stockings, or unmentionables, he had none. A cigarito, of tobaccorolled in corn shuck, was occasionally placed between his lips

whereupon huge clouds of smoke rushed in columns from his mouthand nostrils. His face was of a golden yellow color, relieved byarched and very black eyebrows ; his shaven chin was of mostrespectable duplicity —his corporation of orthodox dimensions.Several Indians and half-breed Mexican won^en were poundingIndian corn on metates near at hand ; while sundry beef-fedurchins of whitey-brown complexion sported before the door, exhibiting, as they passed Fray Augustin, a curious resemblance tothe strongly marked features of that worthy padre. They wereprobably his nieces and nephews—a class of relations often possessed in numbers by priests and monks. The three remaining brothers were absent from the Mission; Fray Bernardo, hunting elk in the sierra ; Fray Jose, gallivantingat Puebla de los Angeles, ten days’ journey distant ; Fray Cristoval, lassoing colts upon the plain. Augustin, thus left to his ownresources, had just eaten his vespertine frijolitos and chile Colorado,and was enjoying a post-coenal smoke of fragrant pouche under theshadow of his own fig-tree. While thus employed, an Indian dressed in Mexican attireapproached him hat in hand, and, making a reverential bow, askedhis directions concerning domestic business of the Mission.
” Hola I friend Jose,” cried Fray Augustin in a thick gutturalvoice, ” pensaba yo—I was thinking that it was very nearly thistime three years ago when those ‘ malditos Americanos’ camebyhere and ran off with so many of our cavallada.” “True, reverend father,” answered the administrador, “justthree years ago, all but fifteen days : I remember it well. Malditossean—curse them !” ” How many did we kill, Jose ?”
” Quizas moochos—a great many, I dare say. But they did not fight fairly—charged right upon us, and gave us no time to do any thing. They don’t know how to fight, these Mericanos : come right at you, before you can swing a lasso, hallooing like Indios Bravos.”
” But, Jose, how many did they leave dead on the field ?” ” Not one.” “And we?”
” Valgame Dios I thirteen dead, and many more wounded.”
” That’s it I Now if these savages come again (and the Chemeguaba, who came in yesterday, says he saw a large trail), we must fight adentro—within—outside is no go ; for as you very
properly say, Jose, these Americans don’t know how to fight, and
kill us before—before we can kill them I Vaya I” At this moment there issued from the door of the Mission Don
Antonio Velez Trueba, a Gachupin—that is, a native of Old
Spain—a wizened old hidalgo refugee, who had left the mother
country on account of his political opinions, which were stanchly
Carlist, and had found his way—how, he himself scarcely knew
from Mexico to San Francisco in Upper California, where, having
a most perfect contempt for every thing Mexican, and hearing
that in the Mission of San Fernando, far away, were a couple of Spanish padres of ” sangre regular,” he had started into the
wilderness to ferret them out ; and having escaped all danofers on
the route (which, however, were hardly dangers to the Don, who
could not realize the idea of scalp-taking savages), had arrived with
a whole skin at the Mission. There he was received with open arms by his countryman Fray Augustin, who made him welcome
to all the place afibrded, and there he harmlessly smoked away his time ; his heart far away on the banks of the Geni] and in the grape-bearing vegas of his beloved Andalusia, his withered cuerpo
in the sierras of Upper California. Don Antonio was the walking
essence of a Spaniard of the ancien regime. His family dated H
from the Flood, and with the exception of sundry refreshing jets ofMoorish blood, injected into the Truebas during the Moorish epoch,no strange shoot was ever engrafted on their genealogical tree.The marriages of the family were ever confined to the family itself—never looking to fresh blood in a station immediately belowit,which was not hidalgueno ; nor above, since any thing higher inrank than the Trueba y Trueba family, no habia, there was not.Thus, in the male and female scions of the house, were plainlyvisible the ill eflects of breeding ” in and in.” The male Truebaswere sadly degenerate Dons, in body as in mind—comparedtotheir ancestors of Boabdil’s day ; and the sennoritas of the namewere all eyes, and eyes alone, and hardly of such stamp as wouldhave tempted that amorous monarch to bestow a kingdom for akiss, as ancient ballads tell.
” Duena de la negra toca, Por uii beso de tu boca, Diera uii reyno, Boabdil Y yo por ello, Cristiana, Te diera de buena gana
Mil cellos, si fueran mil.” Come of such poor stock, and reared on tobacco smoke and*’ gazpacho,” Don Antonio would not have shone, even amongpigmy Mexicans, for physical beauty. Five feet high, a frame-work of bones covered with a skin of Andalusian tint, the Truebastood erect and stiff in all the consciousness of his ” sangre regular.” His features were handsome, but entirely devoid of flesh,his upper lip was covered with a jet-black mustache mixed withgray, his chin was bearded ” like the pard.” Every one aroundhim clad in deer and goat-skin, our Don walked conspicuous inshining suit of black—much the worse for wear, it must be confessed—with beaver hat sadly battered, and round his body andover his shoulder an unexceptionable ” capa” of the amplest di-mensions. Asking, as he stepped over him, the pardon of an
Indian urchin who blocked the door, and bowing with punctilious politeness to the sturdy mozas who were grinding corn, Don. Antonio approached our friend Augustin, who was discussing warlike matters with his admiiiistrador.
” Hola I Don Antonio, how do you find yourself, sir ?”
” Perfectly well, and your very humble servant, reverend father

and your worship also, I trust you are in good health ?”
” Sin novedad—without novelty ;” which, since it was one hour and a half since our friends had separated to take their
siestas, was not impossible.
” Myself and the worthy Jose,” continued Fray Augustin,
” were speaking of the vile invasion of a band of North American robbers, who three years since fiercely assaulted this peaceful
Mission, killing many of its inoffensive inhabitants, wounding
many more, and carrying off several of our finest colts and most
promising mules to their dens and caves in the Rocky Mountains.
Not with impunity, however, did they eflect this atrocity. Jose
informs me that many of the assailants were killed by my brave
Indians. How many said you, Jose ?”
” Quizas mo-o-ochos,” answered the Indian.
” Yes, probably a great multitude,” continued the padre; “but,
unwarned by such well-merited castigation, it has been reported
to me by a Chemeguaba mansito, that a band of these audacious marauders are now on the road to repeat the ofTense, numbering
many thousands, well mounted and armed ; and to oppose these white barbarians it behoves us to make every preparation of de- fense.”*
” There is no cause for alarm,” answered the Andaluz. ” I (tapping his breast) have served in three wars : in that glorious one ‘ de la Independencia,’ when our glorious patriots drove the French like sheep across the Pyrenees ; in that equally glorious
* From the report to the Governor of California by the Head of the Mission,
in reference to the attacks by the American mountaineers.
one of 1621 ; and in the late magnanimous struggle for the legiti*mate rights of his majesty Charles V., king of Spain (doffing hishat), whom God preserve. With that right arm,” cried the spiritedDon, extending his shriveled member, ” I have supported thethrone of my kings—have fought for my country, mowing downits enemies before me ; and with it,” vehemently exclaimed theGachupin, working himself into a perfect frenzy, ” I will slaythese Norte Americanos, should they dare to show their facesin my front. Adios, Don Augustin Ignacio Sabanal-Morales-yFuentes,” he cried, doffing his hat with an earth-sweeping bow;” I go to grind my sword. Till then, adieu I” ” A countryman of mine I” said the frayle, admiringly, to theadministrador. ” With him by our side we need not to fear

neither Norte Americanos, nor the devil himself, can harm uswhen he is by.”
While the Trueba sharpens his Tizona, and the priest puffsvolumes of smoke from his nose and mouth, let us introduce tothe reader one of the muchachitas, who knelt grinding corn onthe metate, to make tortillas for the evening meal. Juanita wasa stout wench from Sonora, of Mexican blood, hardly as dark asthe other women who surrounded her, and with a drop or two ofthe old Spanish blood struggling with the darker Indian tint tocolor her plump cheeks. An enagua (a short petticoat) of redserge was confined round her waist by a gay band ornamentedwith beads, and a chemisette covered the upper part of the body,permitting, however, a prodigal display of her charms. Whilepounding sturdily at the corn, she laughed and joked with herfellow-laborers upon the anticipated American attack, which ap-peared to have but few terrors for her. ” Que vengan,” she ex-claimed, “let them come; they are only men, and will not molestus women. Besides, I have seen these white men before—in myown country, and they are fine fellows, very tall, and as white asthe snow on the sierras. Let them come, say 1
” Only hear the girl I” cried another ; “if these savages come, then will they kill Pedrillo, and what will Juanita say to lose her
sweetheart ?”
” Pedrillo I” sneered the latter ; ” what care I for Pedrillo ? Soy Mejicana, yo—a Mexican girl am I, I’d have you know, and
don’t demean me to look at a wild Indian. Not I, indeed, by
my salvation ! What I say is, let the Norte Americanos come.” At this juncture Fray Augustin called for a glass of aguardiente,
which Juanita was dispatched to bring, and on presenting it, the churchman facetiously inquired why she wished for the Americans,
adding, ” Don’t think they’ll come here—no, no ; here we are brave men, and have Don Antonio with us, a noble fellow, well used to arms.” As the words were on his lips, the clattering of a
horse’s hoofs was heard rattling across the loose stones and pebbles
in the bed of the river, and presently an Indian herder galloped
up to the door of the Mission, his horse covered with foam, and
its sides bleeding from spur-wounds.
” Oh, padre mio I” he cried, as soon as he caught sight of his reverence, ” vienen los Americanos—the Americans, the Americans
are upon us. Ave Maria purissima I —more than ten thousand
are at my heels I” Up started the priest, and shouted for the Don. That hidalgo presently appeared, armed with the sword that had graced his thigh in so many glorious encounters—the sword
with which he had mowed down the enemies of his country, and
by whose aid he now proposed to annihilate the American savages, should they dare to appear before him. The alarm Avas instantly given ; peones, vaqueros hurried from
the plains ; and milpas, warned by the deep-toned bell, which
soon rung out its sonorous alarum. A score of mounted Indians,
armed with gun and lasso, dashed off to bring intelligence of the enemy. The old gingall on the roof was crammed with powder
and bullets to the very muzzle, by the frayle’s own hand. Arms
were brought and’ piled in the sala, ready for use. The padreexhorted, the women screamed, the men grew pale and nervous,and thronged within the walls. Don Antonio, the fiery Andaluz,alone remained outside, flourishing his whetted saber, and roaringto the padre, who stood on the roof with lighted match, by theside of his formidable cannon, not to be affrighted.. ” That he, the Trueba, was there, with his Tizona, ready to defeat the devilhimself should he come on.” He was deaf to the entreaties of the priest to enter. ” Siempre en el frente—Ever in the van,” he said, “was thewar cry of the Truebas.” But now a cloud of dust was seen approaching from the plain,
and presently a score of horsemen dashed headlong toward theMission. ” El enemigo,” shouted Fray Augustin ; and withoutwaiting to aim, he clapped his match to the touch-hole of thegun, harmlessly pointed to the sky, and crying out ” In el nombrede Dios”—in God’s name—as he did so, was instantly knockedover and over by the recoil of the piece, then was as instantly
seized by some of the Indian garrison, and forced through thetrap-door into the building ; while the horsemen (who were his own scouts) galloped up with the intelligence that the enemy wasat hand, and in overwhelming force. Thereupon the men were all mounted, and formed in a bodybefore the building, to the amonnt of more than fifty, well armedwith guns or bows and arrows. Here the gallant Don haranguedthem, and infusing into their hearts a little of his own courage, they eagerly demanded to be led against the enemy. Fray Augustin re-appeared on the roof, gave them his blessing, advisedthem to give no quarter, and, with slight misgivings, saw themride off to the conflict. About a mile from the Mission, t-he plain gradually ascended to a ridge of moderate elevation, on which was a growth of dwarfoak and ilex. To this point the eyes of the remaining inmates of
the convent were earnestly directed, as here the enemy was first expected to make his appearance. Presently a few figures were
seen to crown the ridge, clearly defined against the clear evening
sky. Not more than a dozen mounted men composed this party,
which all imagined must be doubtless the vanguard of the thou- sand invaders. On the summit of the ridge they halted a few
minutes, as if to reconnoiter ; and by this time the Californian horsemen were halted in the plain, midway between the Mission and the ridge, and distant from the former less than half-a-mile,
so that all the operations were clearly visible to the lookers-on. The enemy wound slowly, in Indian file, down the broken ground
of the descent ; but when the plain was reached, they formed into something like a line, and trotted fearlessly toward the Califoniians. These began to sit uneasily in their saddles ; nevertheless they made a forward movement, and even broke into a gallop, but
soon halted, and again huddled together. Then the mountaineers
quickened their pace, and their loud shout was heard as they dashed into the middle of the faltering troop. The sharp cracks
of the rifles followed, and the duller reports of the smooth-bored
pieces of the Californians, flying like mad across the level. The
little steady line of the mountaineers advanced, and puffs of smoke
arose, as they loaded and discharged their rifles at the flying horse- men. As the Americans came on, however, one was seen to totter in his saddle, the rifle fell from his grasp, and he tumbled headlong to the ground. For an instant his companions surrounded
the fallen man, but again forming, dashed toward the Mission,
shouting fierce war-whoops, and brandishing aloft their long and
heavy rifles. Of the defeated Californians some jumped off their horses at the door of the Mission, and sought shelter within

others galloped off toward the sierra in panic-striken flight. Before the gate, however, still paced valiantly the proud hidalgo,
encumbered with his cloak, and waving with difficulty his sword
above his head. To the priest and women, who implored him
to enter, he replied with cries of defiance, ” Viva Carlos Quinto,”and, ” Death or glory.” He shouted in vain to the flying crowdto halt ; but, seeing their panic was beyond hope, he clutched his weapon more firmly as the Americans dashed at him, closed his teeth and his eyes, thought once of the vega of his beloved Genii,
and of Granada la Florida, and gave himself up for lost. Thoseinside the mission, when they observed the flight of their cavalry,
gave up the defense as hopeless ; and already the charging mountaineers were almost under the walls, when they observed thecurious figure of the little Don making demonstrations of hostility. ” Wagh I” exclaimed the leading hunter (no other than ourfriend La Bonte), ” here’s a little crittur as means to do all thefighting ;” and seizing his rifle by the barrel he poked at theDon with the butt-end, who parried the blow, and with sucha sturdy stroke, as nearly severed the stock in two. Anothermountaineer rode up, and, swinging his lasso overhead, threw thenoose dexterously over the Spaniard’s head, and as it fell over his shoulders, drew it taut, thus securing the arms of the pugnaciousDon as in a vice. ” Quartel !” cried the latter; ” por Dios, quartel I” ” Quarter be d— I” exclaimed one of the whites, who understood Spanish ; ” who’s a-goin’ to hurt you, you little crittur ?” By this time Fray Augustin was waving a white flag from theroof, in token of surrender ; and soon after he appeared tremblingat the door, beseeching the victors to be merciful and to spare thelives of the vanquished, when all and every thing in the Missionwould be freely placed at their disposal.
*’ What does the niggur say I” asked old Walker, the leader ofthe mountaineers, of the interpreter. ” Well, he talks so queer, this hos can’t rightly make it out.”
*’ Tell the old coon then to quit that, and make them darnedgreasers clear out of the lodge, and pock some corn and shuckshere for the animals, for they’re nigh give out.”
This being conveyed to him in mountain Spanish, which fear alone made him understand, the padre gave orders to the men to leave the Mission, advising them moreover, not to recommence
hostilities, as himself was kept as hostage, and if a finger was lift- ed against the mountaineers, he would be killed at once, and the Mission burned to the ground. Once inside, the hunters had no
fear of attack, they could have kept the building against all California ; so, leaving a guard of two outside the gate, and first seeing their worn-out animals supplied with piles of corn and
shucks, they made themselves at home, and soon were paying at- tention to the hot tortillas, meat, and chile Colorado, which were
quickly placed before them, washing down the hot-spiced viands with deep draughts of wine and brandy. It would have been
amusing to have seen the faces of these rough fellows as they gravely pledged each other in the grateful liquor, and looked askance at the piles of fruit served by the attendant Hebes. These came in
for no little share of attention, it may be imagined ; but the utmost
respect was paid to them, for your mountaineer, rough and bearlike though he be, never, by word or deed, offends the modesty of a woman, although sometimes obhged to use a compulsory wooing,
when time is not allowed for regular courtship, and not unfre- quently known to jerk a New Mexican or Californian beauty be- hind his saddle, should the obdurate parents refuse consent to their immediate union. It tickled the Americans not a little to have
all their wants supplied, and to be thus waited upon, by what they
considered the houris of paradise ; and after their long journey, and
the many hardships and privations they had suffered, their present luxurious situation seemed scarcely real. The hidalgo, released from the durance vile of the lasso, as- sisted at the entertainment ; his sense of what was due to the
” sangre regular” which ran in his veins being appeased by the
fact, that he sat above the wild, uncouth mountaineers, these pre- ferring to squat crosslegged on the floor in their own fashion, to the
uncomfortable and novel luxury of a chair. Killbuck, indeed,
seemed to have quite forgotten the use of such pieces of furniture. On Fray Augustin offering him one, and begging him, with manyprotestations, to be seated, that old mountain w^orthy looked at it, and then at the padre, turned it round, and at length comprehending the intention, essayed to sit. This he effected at last, and sat grimly for some moments, when seizing the chair by the back, hehurled it out of the open door, exclaiming—” Wagh ! this coonaint hamshot anyhow, and don’t want such fixins, he don’t ;” andgathering his legs under his body, reclined in the manner cus- tomary to him. There was a prodigious quantity of liquor con- sumed that night, the hunters making up for their many banyans ; but as it was the pure juice of the grape, it had little or no effect upon their hard heads. They had not much to fear from attacks on the part of the Californians ; but, to provide against all emergencies, the padre and the Gachupin were ” hobbled,” and confined in an inner room, to which there was no ingress nor egress save through the door which opened into the apartment where the mountaineers lay sleeping, two of the number keeping watch. Afandango with the Indian girls had been proposed by some of them,but Walker placed a decided veto on this. He said ” they hadneed of sleep now, for there was no knowing what to-morroAV might bring forth ; that they had a long journey before them, andwinter was coming on ; they would have to ‘ streak’ it night andday, and sleep when their journey was over, which would not beuntil Pike’s Peak was left behind them. It was now October,
and the way they’d have to hump it back to the mountains wouldtake the gristle off a painter’s tail.” Young Ned “Wooton was not to the fore when the roll wascalled. He was courting the Sonora wench Juanita, and to somepurpose ; for we may at once observe, that the maiden accompanied the mountaineer to his distant home, and at the present mo-ment is sharing his lodge on Hard-scrabble creek of the upper
Arkansas, having been duly and legally married by Fray Augustin
before their departure.
But now the snow on the ridge of the Sierra Madre, and the
nightly ftosts ; the angular flights of geese and ducks constantly
passing overhead ; the sober tints of the foliage, and the dead
leaves that strew the ground ; the withering grass on the plain,
and the cold gusts, sometimes laden with snow and sleet, that sweep from the distant snow-clad mountains ; —all these signs warn us to linger no longer in the tempting valley of San Fer- nando, but at once to pack our mules to cross the dreary and
desert plains and inhospitable sierras ; and to seek with our booty one of the sheltered bayous of the Rocky Mountains.
On the third day after their arrival, behold our mountaineers
again upon the march, driving before them—with the assistance of half a dozen Indians, impressed for the first few days of the journey until the cavallada get accustomed to travel without confusion—a band of four hundred head of mules and horses, themselves mounted on the strongest and fleetest they could select from
at least a thousand. Fray Augustin and the Hidalgo, from the house-top, watched
them depart : the former glad to get rid of such unscrupulous
guests at any cost, the latter rather loth to part with his boon
companions, with whom he had quafled many a quartillo of Cali; fornian wine. Great was the grief, and violent the sobbing, when
all the girls in the Mission surrounded Juanita to bid her adieu ; as she, seated en cavalier o|i an easy pacing mule, bequeathed her
late companions to the keeping of every saint in the calendar, and
particularly to the great St. Ferdinand himself, under whose
especial tutelage all those in the Mission were supposed to live. Pedrillo, poor forsaken Pedrillo, a sullen, sulky half-breed, was
overcome, not with grief, but with anger at the slight put upon
him, and voM^ed revenge. He of the ” sangre regular,” having
not a particle of enmity in his heart, waved his arm^that arm
with which he had mowed down the enemies of Carlos Quinto
and requested the mountaineers, if ever fate should carry them toSpain, not to fail to visit his quinta in the vega of Genii, which,with all in it, he placed at their worships’ disposal—con muchis-sima franqueza.
Fat Fray Augustin likewise waved his arm, but groaned inspirit as he beheld the noble band of mules and horses, throwingback clouds of dust on the plain where they had been bred. Onenoble roan stallion seemed averse to leave his accustomed pasture,and again and again broke away from the band. Luckily oldWalker had taken the precaution to secure the ” bell-mare’ ofthe herd, and mounted on her rode ahead, the animals all follow-ing their well-known leader. As the roan galloped back, thepadre was in ecstasy. It was a favorite steed, and one he wouldhave gladly ransomed at any price. ” Ya viene, ya viene I” he cried out, “now, now it’s coming!hurra for the roan I” but, under the rifle of a mountaineer, one ofthe Californians dashed at it, a lasso whirling round his head, andturning and twisting like a doubhng hare, as the horse tried to avoidhim, at last threw the open coil over the animal’s head, and ledhim back in triumph to the band.
” Maldito sea aquel Indio—curse that Indian I” quoth the padre,and turned away. And now our sturdy band—less two who had gone under
wore fairly on their way. They passed the body of their comradewho had been killed in the fight before the Mission ; the wolves,or Indian dogs, had picked it to the bones ; but a mound near by^surmounted by a rude cross, showed where the Californians (sevenof whom were killed) had been interred—the pile of stones at thefoot of the cross testifying that many an ave Maria had alreadybeen said by the poor Indians, to save the souls of their slaughtcred companions from the pangs of purgatory. For the first few days progress was slow and tedious. The
confusion attendant upon driving so large a number of animals
over a country vi^ithout trail or track of any description, was suf- ficient to prevent speedy traveling ; and the mountaineers, desirous of improving the pace, resolved to pursue a course more
easterly, and to endeavor to strike the great Spanish Trail,
which is the route followed by the New Mexicans in their jour- neys to and from the towns of Puebla de los Angeles and Santa
Fe. This road, however, crosses a long stretch of desert country,
destitute alike of grass and water, save at a few points, the regular
halting-places of the caravans ; and as but little pasture is to be found at these places at any time, there was great reason to doubt,
if the Santa Fe traders had passed this season, that there Avould not be sufficient grass to support the numerous cavallada, after the herbage had been laid under contribution by the traders’ animals. However, a great saving of time would be effected by
taking this trail, although it wound a considerable distance out
of the way to avoid the impassable chain of the Sierra Nevada
the gap in those mountains through which the Americans had come being far to the southward, and at this late season probably
obstructed by the snow. Urged by threats and bribes, one of the Indians agreed to guide
the cavallada to the trail, which he declared was not more than
five days distant. As they advanced, the country became wilder and more sterile—the valleys, through which several small streams
coursed, alone being capable of supporting so large a number of animals. No time was lost in hunting for game ; the poorest of the mules and horses were killed for provisions, and the diet was
improved by a little venison when a deer casually presented itself near the camping ground. Of Indians they had seen not one ; but they now approached the country of the Diggers, who infest the district through which the Spanish trail passes, laying contributions on the caravans of traders, and who hav^ been, not maptly, termed the ” Arabs of the American desert.” The Call-
fornian guide now earnestly entreated permission to retrace his
steps, saying, that he should lose his life if he attempted to pass the Digger country alone on his return. He pointed to a snowcovered peak, at the foot of which the trail passed ; and leave being accorded, he turned his horse’s head toward the Mission of San Fernando. Although the cavallada traveled, by this time, with much less confusion than at first, still, from the want of a track to follow, great trouble and exertion were required to keep the proper direction. The bell-mare led the van, carrying Walker, who was bet- ter acquainted with the country than the others ; another hunter, of considerable distinction in the band, on a large mule, rode byhis side. Then followed the cavallada, jumping and frisking witheach other, stopping whenever a blade of grass showed, and constantly endeavoring to break away to green patches which sometimes presented themselves in the plains. Behind the troop, urg- ing them on by dint of loud cries and objurgations, rode six mountaineers, keeping as much as possible in a line. Two others wereon each flank to repress all attempts to wander, and keep the herdin a compact body. In this order the caravan had been crossing a broken country, up and down ridges, all day, the animals giving infinite trouble to their drivers, when a loud shout from the advanced guard put them all upon the qui-vive. Old Walkerwas seen to brandish the rifle over his head and point before him,
and presently the cry of ” The trail I the trail I” gladdened all hearts with the anticipation of a respite from the harassing labor
of mule-driving. Descending a broken ridge, they at once struck
into a distinct and tolerably well-worn track, into which the cavallada turned as easily and instinctively as if they had all their
lives been accustomed to travel on beaten roads. Along this they
traveled merrily—their delight being, however, alloyed by frequent
indications that hunger and thirst had done their work on the mules and horses of the caravans wliich had preceded them on the
trail. They happened to strike it in the center of a long stretch of desert, extending sixty miles without either water or pasture ; and many animals had perished here, leaving their bones to bleach upon the plain. The soil was sandy, but rocks and stones covered the surface, disabli’ng the feet of many of the young horses and mules ; several of which, at this early stage of the journey, were already abandoned. Traces of the wretched Diggers be- came very frequent ; these abject creatures resorting to the sandy
plains for the purpose of feeding upon the lizards which there abound. As yet they did not show ; only at night they prowled around the camp, waiting a favorable opportunity to run the ani- mals. In the present instance, however, many of the horses having been left on the road, the Diggers found so plentiful a supply
of meat as to render unnecessary any attack upon the formidable mountaineers. One evening the Americans had encamped, earlier than usual, on a creek well-timbered with willow and quaking-ash, and afford- ing tolerable pasture ; and although it was still rather early, they
determined to stop here, and give the animals an opportunity to fill themselves. Several deer had jumped out of the bottom as they
entered it ; and La Bonte and Killbuck had sallied from tho camp with their rifles, to hunt and endeavor to procure some
venison for supper. Along the river banks, herds of deer were
feeding in every direction, within shot of the belt of timber ; and
the two hunters had no difficulty in approaching and knocking
over two fine bucks within a few paces of the thicket. They
were engaged in butchering the animals, when La Bonte, looking
up from his work, saw half a dozen Indians dodging among the
trees, within a few yards of himself and Killbuck. At the same
instant two arrows thudded into the carcass of the deer over which he knelt, passing but a few inches from his head. Hollowing to his companion, La Bonte immediately seized the deer, and,
lifting it with main strength, held it as a shield before him, but
not before an arrow had struck him in the shoulder. Rising ironthe ground he retreated behind cover, yelling loudly to alarm thtcamp, which was not five hundred yards’ distant on the otherside of the stream. Killbuck when apprized of the danger, rarbodily into the plain, and, keeping out of shot of the timber, joinet*La Bonte, who now, out of arrow-shot, threw down his shield ofvenison, and fired his rifle at the assailants. The Indians appear-ed at first afraid to leave the cover ; but three or four more joiningthem, one a chief, they advanced into the plain, with drawn bows,scattering wide apart, and running swiftly toward the whites, ina zigzag course, in order not to present a steady mark to theirunerring rifles. The latter were too cautious to discharge theirpieces, but kept a steady front with rifle at shoulder. TheIn-dians evidently disliked to approach nearer ; but the chief, an oldgrizzled man, incited them by word and gesture—running in ad-vance, and calling upon the others to follow him.
” Ho, boy I” exclaimed Killbuck to his companion, ” that oldcoon must go under, or we’ll get rubbed out by these darned crit-turs.” La Bonte understood him. Squatting on the ground, he plant-ed his wiping-stick firmly at the extent of his left arm, and restingthe long barrel of his rifle on his left hand, which was supportedby the stick, he took a steady aim and fired. The Indian, throwing out his arms, staggered and let fall his bow—tried hard to re-cover himself, and then fell forward on his face. The others, see-ing the death of their chief, turned and made again for the cover.”You darned critturs,” roared Killbuck, “take that I” and firedhis rifle at the last one, tumbling him over as dead as a stone.The camp had also been alarmed. Five of them waded acrossthe creek and took the Indians in rear ; their rifles cracked withinthe timber, several more Indians fell, and the rest quickly bea.t aretreat. The venison, however, was not forgotten ; the two deerwere packed into cainp, and did the duty of mule-meat that night.
This lesson had a seasonable effect upon the Diggers, who
made no attempt on the cavallada that night or the next ; for the camp remained two days to recruit the animals. We will not follow the party through all the difficulties and
perils of the desert route, nor detail the various deviltries of the
Diggers, who constantly sought opportunities to stampede the ani- mals, or, approaching them in the night as they grazed, fired their arrows indiscriminately at the herd, trusting that dead or disabled ones would be left behind, and afford them a good supply of meat. In the month of December the mountaineers crossed the great di- viding ridge of the Rocky Mountains, making their way through
the snowy barrier with the utmost difficulty, and losing many mules
and horses in the attempt. On passing the ridge, they at once struck the head-springs of the Arkansas river, and turned into the Bayou
Salade. Here they found a village of Arapahos, and were in no
little fear of leaving their cavallada with these dexterous horsethieves. Fortunately, the chief in command was friendly to the
whites, and restrained his young men ; and a present of three
horses insured his good offices. Still, the near neighborhood of these Indians being hardly desirable, after a few days’ halt the Americans were again on their way, and halted finally at the juncture of the Fontaine-qui-bout with the Arkansas, where they
determined to construct a winter camp. They now considered themselves at home, and at once set about building a log-shanty
capable of containing them all, and a large corral for securing the animals at night, or in case of Indian alarms. This they effected by felHng several large cotton-woods, and throwing them in the form of a horse-shoe : the entrance, however, being narrower than
in that figure, and secured by upright logs, between which poles were fixed to be withdrawn at pleasure. The house, or ” fort”
as any thing in the shape of a house is called in these parts, where, indeed, every man must make his house a castle—was
loopholed on all sides, and boasted a turf chimney of rather primi-
tive construction ; but which answered the purpose of drawingthe smoke from the interior. Game was plentiful all around ;
bands of buffalo were constantly passing the Arkansas ; and therewere always deer and antelope within sight of the fort. The pasture, too, was good and abundant—being the rich grama or buffalo grass, which, although rather dry at this season, still retainsits fattening qualities ; and the animals soon began to improvewonderfully in condition and strength.
Of the four hundred head of m.ules and horses with which theyhad started from California, but one-half reached the Arkansas.Many had been killed for food (indeed they had furnished the onlyprovisions during the journey), many had been stolen by the Indians,or shot by them at night ; and many had strayed off and not beenrecovered. We have omitted to mention that the Sonora girl, Juanita, and her spouse, Ned Wooton, remained behind at R-ou-bideau’s Fort and Rendezvous on the Uintah, which our band hadpassed on the other side of the mountains, whence they proceededwith a party to Taos in New Mexico, and resided there for someyears, blessed with a fine family, &c., &:c., &c., as the novels end.As soon as the animals were fat and strong, they were takendown the Arkansas to Bent’s Indian trading fort, about sixtymiles below the mouth of Fontaine-qui-bout. Here a ready sale was found for them, mules being at that time in great demand onthe frontier of the United States, and every season the Bentscarried across the plains to Independence a considerable numbercollected in the Indian country, and in the upper settlements ofNew Mexico. While the mountaineers were descending theArkansas, a little incident occurred, and some of the party veryunexpectedly encountered an old friend. Killbuck and La Bonte,who were generally compaiieros, were riding some distance aheadof the cavallada, passing at the time the mouth of the Huerfanoor Orphan Creek, when, at a long distance before them, they sawthe figure of a horseman, followed by two loose animals, descending
the bluff into the timbered bottom of the river. Judging the
stranger to be Indian, they spurred their horses and galloped in
pursuit, but the figure ahead suddenly disappeared. However,
they quickly followed the track, which was plain enough in the sandy bottom, that of a horse and two mules. Killbuck scrutinized the ” sign,” and puzzled over it a considerable time ; and at last exclaimed—” Wagh ! this sign’s as plain as mon beaver to me ; look at that hos-track, boy ; did ye ever see that afore ?”
” Well, I have I” answered La Bonte, peering down at it ; ” that
ar shuffle-toe seems handy to me now, I tell you.”
” The man as used to ride that hos is long gone under, but the
hos, darn the old crittur, is old Bill Williams’s, I’ll swar by
” Well, it aint nothin else,” continued La Bonte, satisfymg himself by a long look ; ” It’s the old boy’s hos as sure as shootin : and them Rapahos has rubbed him out at last, and raised his animals. Ho, boy I let’s lift their hair.”
” Agreed,” answered Killbuck ; and away they started in pursuit, determined to avenge the death of their old comrade. They followed the track through the bottom and into the
stream, which it crossed, and, passing a few yards up the bank,
entered the water again, when they could see nothing more of it. Puzzled at this, they sought on each side the river, but in vain ; and, not wishing to lose more time in the search, they proceeded
through the timber on the banks to find a good camping-place for the night, which had been their object in riding in advance of the
cavallada. On the left bank, a short distance before them, was a heavy growth of timber, and the river ran in one place close to a high blufT^ between which and the water was an almost impervious
thicket of plum and cherry trees. The grove of timber ended
before it reached this point, and but few scattered trees grew in the little glade which intervened, and which was covered with
tolerable grass. This being fixed upon as an excellent camp, the
two mountaineers rode into the glade, and dismounted close to theplum and cherry tliicket,which formed almost a wall before them,and an excellent shelter from the wind. Jumping off their horses,they were in the act of removing the saddles from their backs,when a shrill neigh burst from the thicket not two yards behindthem ; a rustling in the bushes followed, and presently a mandressed in buck-skin, and rifle in hand, burst out of the tangledbrush, exclaiming in an angry voice

” Do’ee hy’ar now ? I was nigh upon gut-shootin some of ‘ee—I was now ; thought ‘ee was darned R-apahos, I did, andcached right off.” ” Ho, Bill 1 what, old hos I not gone under yet ?” cried boththe hunters, ” Give us your paw.”
” Do’ee now, if hy’ar ar’nt them boys as was rubbed out onLodge Pole (creek) a time ago. Do’ee hyar ? if this aint ‘ some’now, I would’nt say so.” Leaving old Bill Williams and our two friends to exchangetheir rough but hearty greetings, we will glance at that oldworthy’s history since the time when we left him caching in thefire and smoke on the Indian battle-ground in the Rocky Mountains, He had escaped fire and smoke, or he would not have beenhere on Arkansas with his old grizzled Nez-perce steed. On thatoccasion, the veteran mountaineer had lost his two pack-animalsand all his beaver. He was not the man, however, to wantahorse or mule as long as an Indian village was near at hand.Skulking, therefore, by day in caiions and deep gorges of themountains, and traveling by night, he followed closely on the trailof the victorious savages, bided his time, struck his ” coup,” andrecovered a pair of pack-horses, which was all he required. Eversince, he had been trapping alone in all parts of the mountains;had visited the rendezvous but twice for short periods, and thenwith full packs of beaver ; and Avas now on his way to Bent’s.Fort, to dispose of his present loads of peltry, enjoy one good
carouse on Taos whisky, and then return to some hole or corner in the mountains which he knew of, to follow in the spring his soli- tary avocation. He, too, had had his share of troubles, and had
many Indian scrapes, but passed safely through all, and scarcely cared to talk of what he had done, so matter-of-fact to him were
the most extraordinary of his perilous adventures. Arrived at Bent’s Fort, the party disposed of their cavallada,
and then—respect for the pardonable weaknesses of our mountain
friends prompts us to draw a vail over the furious orgies that ensued. A number of hunters and trappers were “in” from their hunting-grounds, and a village of Shians and some lodges of Kio- ways were camped round the fort. As long as the liquor lasted, and there was good store of alcohol as well as of Taos whisky, the Arkansas resounded with furious mirth—not unmixed with graver
scenes ; for your mountaineer, ever quarrelsome in his cups, is quick to give and take offense, when rifles alone can settle the
difference, and much blood is spilt upon the prairie in his wild and
frequent quarrels. Bent’s Fort is situated on the left or northern bank of the river Arkansas, about one hundred miles from the foot of the Rocky
Mountains—on a low and level bluff of the prairie which here
slopes gradually to the water’s-edge. The walls are built entirely, of adobes—or sun-burned bricks—in the form of a hollow square,
at two corners of which are circular flanking towers of the same
material. The entrance is by a large gateway into the square, round which are the rooms occupied by the traders and employes
of the host. These are small in size, with walls colored by a
white-wash made of clay found in the prairie. Their flat roofs are defended along the exterior by parapets of adobe, to serve as a
cover to marksmen firing from the top ; and along the coping
grow plants of cactus of all the varieties common in the plains. In the center of the square is the press for packing the furs ; and
there are three large rooms, one used as a store and magazine,
another as a council-room, where the Indians assemble for their” talks,” while the third is the common dining-hall, where thetraders, trappers, and hunters, and all employes, feast upon thebest provender the game-covered country affords. Over the culin-ary department presided of late years a fair lady of color, Charlotteby name, who was, as she loved to say, ” de onlee lady in de damInjun country,” and who moreover was celebrated from Long’sPeak to the Cumbres Espanolas for slap-jacks and pumpkin pies. Here congregate at certain seasons the merchants of the plainsand mountains, with their stocks of peltry. Chiefs of the Shian,the Kioway, and Arapaho, sit in solemn conclave with the headtraders, and smoke the ” calumet” over their real and imaginarygrievances. Now O-cun-no-whurst, the Yellow Wolf, grand chiefof the Shian, complains of certain grave offenses against the dignityof his nation I A trader from the ” big lodge” (the fort) has beenin his village, and before the trade was opened, in laying thecustomary chief’s gift “on the prairie”* has not “opened hishand,” but “squeezed out his present between his fingers,” grudgingly, and with too sparing measure. This was hard to bear, butthe Yellow Wolf would say no more ! Tah-kai-buhl, or, ” he who jumps,” is deputed from the Kiowayto warn the white traders not to proceed to the Canadian to tradewith the Camanche. That nation is mad—a ” heap mad” withthe whites, and has ” dug up the hatchet” to ” rub out” all whoenter its country. The Kioway loves the pale-face, and gives himwarning (and “he who jumps” looks as if he deserves something” on the prairie” for his information).
Shawh-noh-qua-mish, “the peeled lodge-pole,” is there to excusehis Arapah6 braves, who lately made free with a band of horsesbelonging to the fort. He promises the like shall never happenagain, and he, Shawh-noh-qua-mish, speaks with a “single tongue.”* Indian expression fgr a free gift.
Over clouds of tobacco and kinnik-kinnk, these grave affairs are
settled and terms arranged. In the corral, groups of leather-clad mountaineers, with ” decks”
of ” euker” and ” seven up,” gamble away their hard-earned
peltries. The employes—mostly St. Louis Frenchmen and Canadian voyageurs—are pressing packs of buffalo skins, beating robes, or engaged in other duties of a trading fort. Indian squaws, the wives of mountaineers, strut about in all the pride of beads and
fofarrow, jingling with bells and bugles, and happy as paint can make them. Hunters drop in with animals packed with deer or
buffalo meat to supply the fort ; Indian dogs look anxiously in at the gate-way, fearing to enter and encounter their natural enemies,
the whites : and outside the fort, at any hour of the day or night, one may safely wager to see a dozen cayeutes or prairie wolves
loping round, or seated on their haunches, and looking gravely on, waiting patiently for some chance offal to be cast outside. Against
the walls, groups of Indians, too proud to enter without an invitation, lean, wrapped in their buffalo robes, sulky and evidently ill at ease to be so near the whites without a chance of fingering their scalp-locks ; their white lodges shining in the sun, at a httle distance from the river-banks ; their horses feeding in the plain
The appearance of the fort is very striking, standing as it does hundreds of miles from any settlement, on the vast and lifeless prairie, surrounded by hordes of hostile Indians, and far out of reach of intercourse with civilized man ; its mud-built walls in- closing a little garrison of a dozen hardy men, sufl^cient to hold in check the numerous tribes of savages ever thirsting for their blood. Yet the solitary stranger passing this lone fort, feels proudly secure when he comes within sight of the ” stars and stripes” which float above the walls.
CHAPTER VIII. Again we must take a jump with La Bonte over a space ofseveral months : when we find him, in company of half a dozentrappers, among them his inseparable companero Killbuck, campedon the Greenhorn Creek, en route to the settlements of NewMexico. They have a few mules packed with heaver for theTaos market : hut this expedition has been planned more forpleasure than profit—a journey to Taos valley being the onlycivilized relaxation coveted by the mountaineers. Not a few ofthe present band are bound thither with matrimonial intentions ; the belles of Nuevo Mejico being to them the ne ‘plu?> ultra offemale perfection, uniting most conspicuous personal charms (al-though coated with cosmetic alegria—an herb, with the juice ofwhich the women of Mexico hideously bedaub their faces), withall the hard-working industry of Indian squaws. The ladies, ontheir part, do not hesitate to leave the paternal abodes, and eternaltortilla-making, to share the perils and privations of the Americanmountaineers in the distant wilderness. Utterly despising theirown countrymen, whom they are used to contrast with the dashingwhite hunters who swagger in all the pride of fringe and leatherthrough their towns—they, as is but natural, gladly accept hus-bands from the latter class ; preferring the stranger, who possessesthe heart and strong right arm to defend them, to the miserablecowardly ” Pelados,” who hold what little they have on sufi^eranceof savage Indians, but one degree superior to themselves. Certainly no band of hunters that ever appeared in the vale of
Taos, numbered in its ranks a properer lot of lads than those now
camped on Greenhorn, intent on matrimonial foray into the settle- ments of New Mexico. There was yoimg Dick Wooton, who
was ” some” for his inches, being six feet six, and as straight anc- strong as the barrel of his long rifle. Shoulder to shoulder with
this “boy,” stood Rube Herring, and not a hair’s-breadth difier- ence in height or size was there between them. Killbuck, though
mountain winters had sprinkled a few snow-flakes on his head, looked up to neither ; and La Bonte held his own with any
mountaineer who ever set a trap in sight of Long’s Peak or the Snowy Range. MarceUin—who, though a Mexican, despised his people and abjured his blood, having been all his life in the mountains with the white hunters—looked down easily upon six
feet and odd inches. In form a Hercules, he had the symmetry
of an Apollo ; with strikingly handsome features, and masses of long black hair hanging from his slouching beaver over the
shoulders of his buckskin hunting shirt. He, as he was wont t^
say, was “no dam Spaniard, but ‘ mountainee man,’ wagh !” Chabonard, a half-breed, was not lost in the crowd ; —and, the
last in height, but the first in eveiy quality which constitutes excellence in a mountaineer, whether of indomitable courage, or perfect indiflence to death or danger ; with an iron frame capable
of withstanding hunger, thirst, heat, cold, fatigue, and hardships of* every kind ; of wonderful presence of mind, and endless resources
in times of peril ; with the instinct of an animal, and the^ moral
courage of a man—who was ” taller” for his inches than Kji
Carson, paragon of mountaineers?^ Small in stature, and
* Since the time of which we speak, Kit Carson has distinguished himself ri guiding the sevei-al U. S. exploring expeditions, under Fremont, across the Rocky
Mountains, and to all parts of Oregon and California; and for his services, the President of the United States presented the gallant mountaineer with the commission of lieutenant in a newly raised regiment of mounted riflemen, of which
his old leader Fremont is appointed colonel. I
slenderly limbed, but with muscles of wire, with a fair complexionand quiet intelligent features, to look at Kit none would supposethat the mild-looking being before him was an incarnate devil in Indian fight, and had raised more hair from head of Redskins thanany two men in the western country ; and yet, thirty winters hadscarcely planted a line or furrow on his clean-shaven face. Noname, however, was better known in the mountains—from YellowStone to Spanish Peaks, from Missouri to Columbia River—thanthat of Kit Carson, ” raised” in Boonlick county; of MissouriState, and a credit to the diggins that gave him birth. On Huerfano or Orphan Creek, so called from an isolated huttewhich stands on a prairie near the stream, our party fell in with avillage of Yuta Indians, at that time hostile to the whites. Bothparties were preparing for battle, when Killbuck, who spoke thelanguage, went forward with signs of peace, and after a talk withseveral chiefs, entered into an armistice, each party agreeing notto molest the other. After trading for a few deer-skins, which theYutas are celebrated for dressing delicately fine, the trappers movedhastily on out of such dangerous company, and camped under themountain on Oak Creek, where they forted in a strong position^
and constructed a corral in which to secure their animals at night.
At this point is a tolerable pass through the mountains, where abreak occurs in a range, whence they gradually decrease in magnitude until they meet the sierras of Mexico, which connect the twomighty chains of the Andes and the Rocky Mountains. From thesummit of the dividing ridge, to the eastward a view is had ofthe vast sea of prairie which stretches away from the base of themountains in dreary barrenness, for nearly a thousand miles, until
it meets the fertile valley of the great Missouri. Over tliis boundless expanse, nothing breaks the uninterrupted solitude of theview. Not a tree or atom of foliage relieves the eye ; for thelines of scattered timber which belt the streams running from themountains, are lost in the shadow of their stupendous height, and
beyond this nothing is seen but the bare surface of the rolling
prairie. In no other part of the cham are the grand characteristics of the Far West more strikingly displayed than from this pass. The mountains here rise, on the eastern side, abruptly from
the plain, and the view over the great prairies is not therefore obstructed by intervening ridges. To the westward the eye sweeps
over the broken spurs w^hich stretch from the main range in every
direction ; while distant peaks, for the most part snow-covered, are seen at mtervals rising isolated above the range. On all sides the
scene is wild and dismal. Crossing by this pass, the trappers followed the Yuta trail over a plain, skirting a pine-covered ridge, in which countless herds of
antelope, tame as sheep, were pasturing. Numerous creeks inter- sect it, well timbered with oak, pine, and cedar, and well stocked with game of all kinds. On the eleventh day from leaving the Huerfano, they struck the Taos valley settlement on Arroyo Hondo, and pushed on at once to the village of Fernandez—sometimes
but improperly, called Taos. As the dashing band clattered through the village, the dark eyes of the reboso-wrapped muchachas peered from the doors of the adobe houses, each mouth armed
with a cigarito, which was at intervals removed to allow utterance
to the salutation to each hunter as he trotted past of Adios Americmios—”Welcome to Fernandez I” and then they hurried off to prepare for the fandango, which invariably followed the advent of
the mountaineers. The men, however, seemed scarcely so well
pleased ; but leaned sulkily against the walls, their sarapes turned
over the left shoulder, and concealing the lower part of the face, the hand appearing from its upper folds only to remove the eternal
cigarro from their lips. They, from under their broad-brimmed
sombreros, scowled with little affection upon the stalwart hunters,
who clattered past them, scarcely deigning to glance at the sullen Pelados, but paymg incomprehensible compliments to the buxom
wenches who smiled at them from the doors. Thus exchangmg
salutations, they rode up to the house of an old mountaineer, whohad long been settled here with a New Mexican wife, and whowas the recognized entertainer of the hunters when they visited Taos valley, receiving in exchange such peltry as they broughtwith them. No sooner was it known that Los Americanos had arrived, thannearly all the householders of Fernandez presented themselves to
oiler the use of their “salas” for the fandango which invariably
celebrated their arrival. This was always a profitable event ; for as the mountaineers were generally pretty well “flush” of cash whenon their “spree,” and as open-handed as an Indian could wish, the
sale of whiskey, with which they regaled all comers, produced ahandsome return to the fortunate individual whose room was se- lected for the fandango. On this occasion the sala of the Alcalde Don Cornelio Vegil was selected and put in order ; a general invi- tation was distributed ; and all the dusky beauties of Fernandezwere soon engaged in arraying themselves for the fete. Off camethe coats of dirt and “alegria” which had bedaubed their faces
since the last “funcion,” leaving their cheeks clear and clean. Water was profusely used, and their cuerpos were doubtless aston- ished by the unusual lavation. Their long black hair was Avashed and combed, plastered behind their ears, and plaited into a long
queue, which hung down their backs. Enaguas of gaudy color, (red most affected) were donned, fastened round the waist with or- namented belts, and above this a snow white camisita of fine linen was the only covering, allowing a prodigal display of their charms. Gold and silver ornaments, of antiquated pattern, decorate their ears and necks ; and massive crosses of the precious metals,
wrought from the gold or silver of their own placeres, hang pen- dent on their breasts. The enagua or petticoat, reaching about
half-way between the knee and ankle, displays their well-turned
limbs, destitute of stockings, and their tiny feet, thrust into quaint
little shoes {zapatitos) of Cinderellan dimensions. Thus equipped,
with the reboso drawn over their heads and faces, out of the folds of which their brilHant eyes flash like lightning, and each pretty- mouth armed with its cigarito, they coquettishly enter the fandango.* Here, at one end of a long room are seated the musicians,
their instruments being generally a species of guitar, called he- aca, a bandolin, and an Indian drum, called tombe—one of each. Round the room groups of New Mexicans lounge, wrapped in the
eternal sarape, and smoking of course, scowling with jealous eyes
at the more favored mountaineers. These, divested of their hunting-coats of buckskins, appear in their bran-new shirts of gaudy
calico, and close fitting bucksldn pantaloons, with long fringes
down the outside seam from the hip to the ankle ; with moccasins, ornamented with bright beads and porcupine quills. Each,
round his waist, wears his mountain belt and scalp-knife, ominous
of the company he is in, and some have pistols sticking in their
belt.The dances—save the mark ! —are without form or figure, at
least those in which the white hunters sport the ” fantastic toe.” Seizing his partner round the waist with the gripe of a grisly bear, each mountaineer whirls and twirls, jumps and stamps ; intro- duces Indian steps used in the ” scalp” or ” bufialo” dances, whooping occasionally with unearthly cry, and then subsiding into the
jerking step, raising each foot alternately from the ground, so much
in vogue in Indian ballets. The hunters have the floor all to themselves. The Mexicans have no chance in such physical force dancing ; and if a dancing Pelade f steps into the ring, a lead-like thump from a galloping mountaineer quickly sends him sprawling, with the considerate remark-^” Quit, you darned Spaniard ! you can’t ‘ shine’ in this crowd.”
* The word fandango, in New Mexico, is not applied to the peculiar dance known in Spain by that name, but designates a ball or dancing meeting.
t A nickname for the idle fellows hanginj”: about a Mexican town, translated
into “Greasers” by the Americans.
During a lull, guages ^ filled with wliisky go the rounds—offer- ed to and seldom refused by the ladies—sturdily quaffed by the mountaineers, and freely swallowed by the Pelddos, who drowntheir jealousy and envious hate of their entertainers in potent
aguardiente. Now, as the guages are oft refilled and as often drained, and as night advances, so do the spirits of the mountaineers become more boisterous, while their attentions to their partners become warmer—the jealousy of the natives waxes hotter thereat—and they begin to show symptoms of resenting the endearments which the mountaineers bestow upon their wives andsweethearts. And now, when the room is filled to crowding
with two hundred people, swearing, drinking, dancing, and shout- ing—the half-dozen Americans monopolizing the fair, to the evidentdisadvantage of at least threescore scowling Pelados, it happensthat one of these, maddened by whisky and the green-eyed monster,suddenly seizes a fair one from the waist-encircling arm of a mountaineer, and pulls her from her partner. Wagh I —La Bonte—it
is he—stands erect as a pillar for a moment, then raises his hand to his mouth, and gives a ringing war-whoop—jumps upon the rashPelado, seizes him by the body as if he were a child, lifts himover his head, and dashes him with the force of a giant againstthe wall. The war, long threatened, has commenced ; twenty Mexicansdraw their knives and rush upon La Bonte, who stands his ground,and sweeps them down with his ponderous fist, one after anotheras they throng around him. ” Howgh-owgh-owgh-owgh-h I” thewell known war-whoop, bursts from the throats of his companions,and on they rush to the rescue. The women scream, and blockthe door in their eagerness to escape ; and thus the Mexicans arecompelled to stand their ground and fight. Knives glitter in thelight, and quick thrusts are given and parried. In the center of the* Cask-shaped gourds.
LIFE IN THE FAR WEST. 199 room the whites stand shoulder to shoulder—covering the floor with
Mexicans by their stalwart blows ; but the odds are fearful against
them, and other assailants crowd up to supply the place of those who fall. The alarm being given by the shrieking women, reinforcements of Pelados rushed to the scene of action, but could not enter the room, which, was already full. The odds began to tell against the mountaineers, when Kit Carson’s quick eye caught sight of a liigh stool or stone, supported by three long heavy legs. In a moment
he had cleared his way to this, and in another the three legs were
broken off and in the hands of himself, Dick Wooton, and La
Bonte. Sweeping them round their heads, down came the heavy
weapons among the Mexicans with wonderful effect—each blow,
dealt by the nervous arms of Wooton and La Bonte, mowing down
a good half-dozen of the assailants. At this the mountaineers
gave a hearty whoop, and charged the wavering enemy with such
resistless vigor, that they gave way and bolted through the door, leaving the floor strewed with wounded, many most dangerously

for, as may be imagined, a tlirust from the keen scalp-knife by the nervous arm of-a mountaineer was no baby blow, and seldom fail- ed to strike home—up to the ” Green River”^ on the blade. The field being won, the whites too, beat a quick retreat to the house where they were domiciled, and where they had left their
rifles. Without their trusty weapons they felt, indeed unarmed

and not knowing how the affair just over would be followed up,
lost no time in making preparations for defense. However, after great blustering on the part of the prefecto, who, accompanied
by a ‘pos&e comitatus of “Greasers,” proceeded to the house, and
demanded the surrender of all concerned in the affair—which prop-
* The knives used by the hunters and trappers are manufactured at the ” Green
E-iver” works, and have that name stamped upon the blade. Hence the moun- tam term for doing any thing effectually is ” up to Green River.”
osition was received with a yell of derision—the business was com-pounded by the mountaineers promising to give sundry dollars to the friends of two of the Mexicans, who died during the night of
their wounds, and to pay for a certain amount of masses to be sungfor the repose of their souls in purgatory. Thus the affair blewover; but for several days the mountaineers never showed themselves in the streets of Fernandez without their rifles on their shoulders, and refrained from attending fandangos for the present,
and until the excitement had cooled down.
A bitter feeling, however, existed on the part of the men ; and oneor two offers of a matrimonial nature were rejected by the papasof certain ladies who had been wooed by some of the white hunters, and their hands formally demanded from the respective padres.
La Bonte had been rather smitten with the charms of oneDolores Salazar—a buxom lass, more than three parts Indian in ner blood, but confessedly the ” beauty” of the Vale of Taos. She,
by dint of eye, and of nameless acts of elaborate coquetry, with^.vhich the sex so universally bait their traps, whether in the salons of Belgravia, or the rancherias of new Mexico, contrived to makeonsiderable havoc in the heart of our mountaineer ; and whenonjce Dolores saw she had made an impression, she followed upher advantage with all the arts the most civilized of her sex coulduse when fishing for a husband. La Bonte, however, was too old a hunter to be easily caught

and before committing himself, he sought the advice of his tried companion Killbuck. Taking him to a retired spot without thevillage, he drew out his pipe and charged it—seated himself cross- ‘ogged on the ground, and, with Indian gravity, composed himselfTor a
‘•’ talk.” – “Ho, Killbuck I” he began, touching the ground with the bowdof his pipe, and then turning the stem upward for ” inedicine” —”Hyar’s a child feels squamptious like, and nigh upon ‘goneboaver,’ he is—Wa^^h I”
” Wagh I” exclaimed Killbuck, all attention.
*’ Old hos,” continued the other, ” thay’s no use caching any- how what a niggur feels—so hyar’s to ‘put out.’ You’re good
for beaver / know ; at deer or buffler, or darned red Injun either, you’re ‘ some.’ Now that’s a fact. ‘ OfF-hand,’ or ‘ with a rest,’ you make ’em ‘ come.’ You knows the ‘ sign’ of Injuns slick
Blackfoot or Sioux, Pawnee or Burntwood, Zeton, Rapaho, Shian,
or Shoshonee, Yutah, Piyutah, or Yamhareek—their trail’s as plain as writin’, old hos, to you.”
” Wagh I” grunted Killbuck, blushing bronze at all these compliments.
” Your sight ain’t bad. Elks is elk ; black-tail deer ain’t whitetails ; and b’ar is b’ar to you, and nothin’ else, a long mile off and more.”
” Wa-gh 1″
*’ Thar ain’t a track as leaves its mark upon the plains or mountains but you can read off-hand ; that I’ve see’d myself But tell mo, old hos, can you make understand the ‘ sign’ as shows itself in a woman’s breast ?” Killbuck removed the pipe from his mouth, raised his head, and
puffed a rolling cloud of smoke into the air—knocked the ashes from the bowl, likewise made his “medicine”—and answered
thus :

” From Red River, away up north among the Britishers, to Heely (Gila) in the Spanish country—from old Missoura to the Sea of Californy, I’ve trapped and hunted. I knows the Injuns
and thar * sign,’ and they knows me, I’m thinkin’. Thirty winters has snowed on me in these hyar mountains, and a niggur or a Spaniard* would lam ‘some’ in that time. This old tool” (tapping his rifle) ” shoots ‘ center’ slie does ; and if thar’s game
afoot, this child knows ‘ bull’ from * cow,’ and ought to could.
* Always alluding to Mexicans, who are invariably called Spaniards by the Western Americans. 1#
That deer is deer, and goats is goats, is plain as paint to any but
a greenhorn. Beaver’s a cunning crittur, but I’ve trapped ‘ a heap ;’ and at kilHng meat when meat’s a running, I’ll ‘ shine’ in the biggest kind of crowd. For twenty year I packed a squaAV along.
Not one, but a many. First I had a Blackfoot—the darndest
slut as ever cried for fofarow. I lodge-poled her on Colter’s Creek,
and made her quit. My bufiler hos, and as good as four packs of beaver, I gave for old Bull-tail’s daughter. He was l;iead chief of the Bicaree, and ‘ came’ nicely ‘ round’ me. Thar wasn’t enoughscarlet cloth, nor beads, nor vermilion in Sublette’s packs for her. Traps wouldn’t buy her all the fofarrow she wanted ; and in twoyears I’d sold her to Cross-Eagle for one of Jake Hawkin’s guns—this very one I hold in my hands. Then I tried the Sioux, the Shian, and a Digger from the other side, who made the best moccasin as ever I wore. She was the best of all, and was rubbedout by the Yutas in the Bayou Salade. Bad Avas the best ; andafter she was gone under I tried no more.
” Afore I left the settlements I know’d a white gal, and she was some punkins. I have never seed nothing as ‘ould beat her. Pwed blood won’t ‘ shine’ any ways you fix it ; and though I’mh— for ‘ sign,’ a woman’s breast is the hardest kind of rock to me,and leaves no trail that I can see of. I’ve hearn you talk of agal, in Memphis county ; Mary Brand you called her oncost. Thegal I said / know’d, her name I disremember, but she stands
before me as plain as Chimbly Rock on Platte, and thirty yearand more har’nt changed a feature in her face, to me.
” If you ask this child, he’ll tell you to leave the Spanish slut to her Greasers, and hold on till you take the trail to old Missoura,
whar white and Christian gals are to be had for axing. WaghI” La Bontc rose to his feet. The mention of Mary Brand’s namedecided him ; and he said

” Darn the Spaniard I she can’t shine with me ; come, old hos ! let’s move.’*
And, shouldering their rifles, the two campaiieros returned to the Ranch. More than one of the mountaineers had fulfilled the
object of their journej^ and had taken to themselves a partner
from among the belles of Taos, and now they were preparing for their return to the m.ountains. Dick Wooton was the only unfortunate one. He had wooed a damsel whose parents peremptorily
forbade their daughter to wed the hunter, and he therefore made
ready for his departure with considerable regret. ‘ The day came, however. The band of mountaineers were
already mounted, and those with wives in charge were some hours on the road, leaving the remainder quaffing many a stirrup-cup before they left. Dick Wooton was as melancholy as a buffalo bull in spring ; and as he rode down the village, and approached
the house of his lady-love, who stood wrapped in reboso, and
cigarito in mouth, on the sill of the door, he turned away his head
as if dreading to say adios. La Bonte rode beside him, and a thought struck him. “Ho Dick I” he said, *’ thar’s the gal, and thar’s the mountains : shoot sharp’s the word.” Dick instantly understood him, and was ” himself again.” He
rode up to the girl as if to bid her adieu, and she came to meet
him. Whispering one w^ord, she put her foot upon his, was ini stantly seized round the waist, and placed upon the horn of his saddle. He struck spurs into his horse, and in a minute was out of sight, his three companions covering his retreat, and menacing
with their rifles the crowd which was soon drawn to the spot by
the cries of the girl’s parents, who had been astonished spectators of the daring rape. The trapper and his bride, however, escaped scatheless, and the whole party effected a safe passage of the mountains, and reached
the Arkansas, Avhere the band was broken up—some proceeding to Bent’s Fort, and others to the Platte, among whom were Killbuck and La Bonte, still in company.
These two once more betook themselves to trapping, the YellowStone being their chief hunting-ground. But we must again leapover months and years, rather than conduct the reader throughall their perilous wanderings, and at last bring him back to thecamp on Bijou, where we first introduced him to our mountaineers ; and as we have already followed them on the Arapahotrail, which they pursued to recover their stolen animals from aband of that nation, we will once again seat ourselves at the campon Boiling Spring, where they had met a strange hunter on asolitary expedition to the Bayou Salade, whose double-barreledrifle had excited their wonder and curiosity.
From him they learned also that a large band of Mormons werewintering on the Arkansas, en route to the Great Salt Lake andUpper Cahfornia ; and as our hunters had before fallen in withthe advanced guard of these fanatic emigrants, and felt no little wonder that such helpless people should undertake so long a journey through the wilderness, the stranger narrated to them theliistory of the sect, wliich we shall shortly transcribe for the”benefit of the reader.
CHAPTER IX. The Mormons were originally of the sect known as “Latter- day Saints,” which sect flourishes wherever Anglo-Saxon gulls are found in sufficient numbers to swallow the egregious nonsense
of fanatic humbugs who fatten upon their credulity. In the United States they especially abounded ; but, the creed becoming
“slow,” one Joe Smith, a smart man, arose from its ranks, and
instilled a little life into the decaying sect. Joe, better known as the ” Prophet Joe,” was taking his siesta one fine day, upon a hill in one of the New England States, whenan angel suddenly appeared to him, and made known the locality of a new Bible or Testament, which contained the history of the
lost tribes of Israel; that these tribes were no other than the Indian nations which possessed the continent of America at the time of its discovery, and the remains of which still existed in their savage state ; that, through the agency of Joe, these were to be
reclaimed, collected into the bosom of a church to be there established, according to. principles which would be found in the wonderful book—and which church was gradually to receive into its bosom all other churches, sects, and persuasions, with ” unanimity
of belief and perfect brotherhood.” After a certain probation, Joe was led in body and spirit to the mountain ; by the angel who first appeared to him, was pointed out the position of the wonderful book, which was covered by a
flat stone, on which would be found two round pebbles, called Urim and Thummim, and through the agency of which the mystic characters inscribed on the pages of the book were to be
deciphered and translated. Joe found the spot indicated withoutany difficulty, cleared away the earth, and discovered a hollowplace formed by four flat ston’es ; on removing the topmost one ofwhich sundry plates of brass presented themselves, covered withquaint and antique carving ; on the top lay Urim and Thummim(commonly known to the Mormons as Mummum and Thummum,the pebbles of wonderful virtue), through which the miracle ofreading the plates of brass was to be pe^i^ormed. Joe Smith, on whom the mantle of Moses had so suddenlyfallen, carefully removed the plates and hid them, burying himself in woods and mountains while engaged in the work of translation. However, he made no secret of the important task imposed upon him, nor of the great work to which he had beencalled. Numbers at once believed him, but not a few were deafto belief, and openly derided him. Being persecuted (as the sectdeclares, at the instigation of the authorities), and many attemptsbeing made to steal his precious treasure, Joe, one fine night,packed his plates in a sack of beans, bundled them into a Jerseywagon, and made tracks for the West. Here he completed thegreat work of translation, and not long after gave to the worldthe ” Book of Mormon,” a work as bulky as the Bible, and called” of Mormon,” for so was the prophet named by whose hand thehistory of the lost tribes had been handed down in the platesof brass thus miraculously preserved for thousands of years, andbrought to light through the agency of Joseph Smith. The fame of the book of Mormon spread over all America, andeven to Great Britain and Ireland. Hundreds of proselytes flockedto Joe, to hear from his lips the doctrine of Mormonism ; and ina very brief period, the Mormons became a numerous and recog-nized sect, and Joe was at once, and by universal acclamation,installed as the head of the Mormon church, and was ever after known by the name of the ” Prophet Joseph.”
However, from certain peculiarities in their social system, the
Mormons became rather unpopular in the settled States, and at length moved bodily into Missouri, where they purchased several
tracts of land in the neighborhood of Independence. Here they
erected a large building, which they called the Lord’s Store, where goods were collected on the common account, and retailed
to members of the church at moderate prices. All this time their numbers increased in a wonderful manner, and immigrants from
all parts of the States, as well as Europe, continually joined them. As they became stronger, they grew bolder and more arrogant
in their projects. They had hitherto been considered as bad
neighbors, on account of their pilfering propensities, and their utter disregard of the conventional decencies of society—exhibit- ing the greatest immorality, and endeavoring to establish among
their society an indiscriminate concubinage. This was sufficient to produce an ill feeling against them on the part of their neighbors, the honest Missourians ; but they still tolerated their pres- ence among them, until the Saints openly proclaimed their inten- tion of seizing upon the country, and expelling by force the present
occupants ; giving, as their reason, that it had been revealed to their prophets that the ” Land of Zion” was to be possessed by
themselves alone. The sturdy Missourians began to think this was a little too
strong, and that, if they permitted such aggressions any longer,
they would be in a fair way of being despoiled of their lands by the Mormon interlopers. At length matters came to a crisis, and the
Saints, emboldened by the impunity with which they had hitherto
carried out their plans, issued a proclamation to the effect that all in that part of the country, who did not belong to the Mormon
persuasion, must ” clear out,” and give up possession of their lands and houses. The Missourians collected in a body, burned
the printing-press from which the proclamation had emanated,
seized several of the Mormon leaders, and, after inflicting a sum- mary chastisement, ” tarred and feathered” them, and let them go.
To revenge this insult, the Mormons marshaled an armyofSaints, and marched upon Independence, threatening vengeanceagainst the town and people. Here they met, however, a bandof sturdy backwoodsmen, armed with rifles, determined to defendthe town against the fanatic mob, who, not relishing their appearance, refused the encounter, and surrendered their leaders at thefirst demand. The prisoners were afterward released, on conditionthat the Mormons left that part of the country without delay.
Accordingly, they once m.ore ” took up their beds and walked,”crossing the Missouri to Clay County, Avhere they establishedthemselves, and would finally have formed a thriving settlementbut for their own acts of willful dishonesty. At this time theirblasphemous mummery knew no bounds. Joe Smith, and otherprophets who had lately arisen, were declared to be chosen ofGod ; and it was the general creed that, on the day of judgment,the former would take his stand on the right hand of the judgment-seat, and that none would pass into the kingdom of heavenwithout his seal and touch. One of their tenets was the faith in” spiritual matrimony.” No woman, it appeared, would be ad-mitted into heaven unless ” passed” by a saint. To qualify themfor this, it was necessary that the woman should first be receivedby the guaranteeing Mormon as an ” earthly wife,” in order thathe did not pass in any of whom he had no knowledge. The con-sequence of this state of things may be imagined. The most de-basing immorality was a precept of the order, and an almost uni-versal concubinage existed among the sect, which at this timenumbered at least forty thousand. Their disregard to the lawsof decency and morality was such as could not be tolerated in anyclass of civilized society.
Again did the honest Missourians set their faces against thispernicious example, and when the county to which the Mormonshad removed became more thickly settled, they rose to a managainst the modern Gomorrah. The Mormons, by this time,
having on their part gained considerahle accession to their strength, thought to set the laws at defiance, organized and
armed large bodies of men, in order to maintain, the ascendency
over the legitimate settlers, and bid fair to constitute an ” im- perium in imperio” in the State, and become the sole possessors of the public lands. This, of course, could not be tolerated. Governor Boggs at once ordered out a large force of State militia to put down this formidable demonstration, marched against the Mormons, and suppressed the insurrectionary movement without
bloodshed. From Clay County they moved still farther into the wilds, and
settled at last in Caldwell County, where they built the town
of “Far West,” and here they remained for the space of three
years. During this time they were continually receiving converts to the faith, and many of the more ignorant country people were
disposed to join them, being only deterred by the fear of incur- ring ridicule from the stronger-minded. The body of the Mor- mons seeing this, called upon their prophet, Joe Smith, to perform
a miracle in public before all comers, which was to prove to those of their own people who still doubted the doctrine, the truth of what it advanced (the power of performing miracles was steadfastly declared to be in their hands by the prophets), and to enlist those who wavered in the Mormon cause. The prophet instantly agreed, and declared that, upon a certain day, he would walk across the broad waters of the Missouri without wetting the soles of his feet. On the appointed day, the river banks were thronged by an expectant crowd. The Mormons sang hymns of praise in honor of their prophet, and were proud of the forthcoming miracle, which was to set finally at rest all doubt as
to his power and sanctity.
This power of performing miracles and efiecting miraculous
cures of the sick, was so generally believed by the Mormons,
that physic was never used among them. The prophets visitedthe beds of the sick, and laid hands upon them, and if, as ofcourse was almost invariably the case, the patient died, it wasattributed to his or her want of faith ; but if, on the contrary, thepatient recovered, there was universal glorification on the miraculous cure. Joe Smith, was a tall, fine-looking man, of most plausible address, and possessed the gift of the gab in great perfection. Atthe time appointed for the performance of the walking-watermiracle, he duly attended on the river banks, and descended barefoot to the edge of the water.
” My brethren I” he exclaimed in a loud voice, ” this day is ahappy one to me, to us all, who venerate the great and only faith.The truth of our great and blessed doctrine will now be provedbefore the thousands I see around me. You have asked metoprove by a miracle that the power of the prophets of old has beengiven to me. I say unto you, not only to me, but to all who havefaith. I have faith, and can perform miracles—that faith empowers me to walk across the broad surface of that mighty riverwithout wetting the soles of my unworthy feet ; but if ye are tosee this miracle performed, it is necessary that ye have faith also,not only in yourselves, but in me. Have ye this faith in yourselves ?”
” We have, we have !” roared the crowd.
” Have ye the faith in me, that ye believe I can perform thismiracle ?”
” We have, we have !” roared the crowd.
” Then,” said Joe Smith, coolly walking away, ” with suchfaith do ye know well that I could, but it boots not that Ishould do it ; therefore, my brethren, doubt no more;” and Joeput on his boots and disappeared.
Being again compelled to emigrate, the Mormons proceededinto the state of Illinois, where, in a beautiful situation, they
founded the New Jerusalem, which, it had been declared by the prophet jMormon, should rise out of the wilderness of the west, and wJiere the chosen people should be collected under one church,
and governed by the elders after a ” spiritual fashion.” The city of Nauvoo soon became a large and imposing settle- ment. An enomious building, called the Temple of Zion, was
erected, half church half hotel, in which Joe Smith and the other prophets resided, and large storehouses were connected with it, in which the goods and chattels belonging to the community wero
kept for the common good.
However, here, as every Avhere else, they were continually
quarreling with their neighbors ; and as their numbers increased,
so did their audacity. A regular Mormon militia was again or- ganized and armed, under the command of experienced officers, who had joined the sect ; and now the authority of the State government was openly defied. In consequence, the executive
took measures to put down the nuisance, and a regular war
commenced, and was carried on for some time, with no little bloodshed on both sides ; and this armed movement is known in the United States as the Mormon war. The Mormons, however, who, it seemed, were much better skilled in the use of the tongue than the rifle, succumbed ; the city of Nauvoo was takeii.; Joe Smith and other ringleading prophets captured, and the
former, in an attempt to escape from his place of confinement, was seized and shot. The Mormons declare he had long foretold his own fate, and that when the rifles of the firing party who
were his executioners were leveled at the prophet’s breast, a flash of lightning struck the weapons from their hands, and blinded for a time the eyes of the sacrilegious soldiers. With the death of Joe Smith the prestige of the Mormon cause
declined ; but still thousands of proselytes joined them annually,
and at last the State took measures to remove them altogether, as a body, from the country.
Once again they fled, as they themselves term it, before thepersecutions of the ungodly I But this time their migration wasfar beyond the reach of their enemies, and their intention was toplace between them the impassable barrier of the Rocky Mountains, and to seek a home and resting-place in the remote regionsof the Far West.
This, the most extraordinary migration of modern times, com-menced in the year 1845 ; but it was not till the following yearthat the great body of the Mormons turned their backs upon thesettlements of the United States, and launched boldly out into thevast and barren prairies, without any fixed destination as a goalto their endless journey. For many months, long strings of Pitts-burg and Conostaga wagons, with herds of horses and domesticcattle, wound their way toward the Indian frontier, with the in-tention of rendezvousing at Council Bluffs on the Upper Missouri.Here thousands of wagons w^re congregated, with their tens ofthousands of men, women, and children, anxiously waiting theroute from the elders of the church, who on their parts scarcelyknew whither to direct the steps of the vast crowd they had set inmotion. At length the indefinite destination of Oregon and Cali-fornia was proclaimed, and the long train of emigrants took up theline of march. It was believed the Indian tribes would immediately fraternize with the Mormons, on their approaching theircountry ; but the Pawnees quickly undeceived them by runningoff with their stock on every opportunity. Besides these losses, atevery camp, horses, sheep, and oxen strayed away and were notrecovered, and numbers died from fatigue and want of provender; £0 that, before they had been many weeks on their journey, nearlyall their cattle, which they had brought to stock th,eir new country,were dead or missing, and those that were left were in most miser-able condition. They had started so late in the season, that the greater partwere compelled to winter on the Platte, on Grand Island, and in
the vicinity, where they endured the greatest privations and suffer- ing from cold and hunger. Many vv^ho had lost their stock lived upon roots and pig-nuts ; and scurvy, in a most malignant form,
and other disorders, carried off numbers of the wretched fanatics. Among them were many substantial farmers from all parts of the United States, who had given up their valuable farms, sold off all their property, and were dragging their irresponsible and
unfortunate families into the wilderness—carried away by their blind and fanatic zeal in this absurd and incredible faith. There
were also many poor wretches from different parts of England,
mostly of the farm-laboring class, with wives and families, crawling along with helpless and almost idiotic despair, but urged for- ward by the fanatic leaders of the movement, who promised them
a land flowing with milk and honey to reward them for all their
liardships and privations.
Their numbers were soon reduced by want and disease. When
too late, they often wished themselves back in the old country,
and sighed many a time for the beer and bacon of former days, now preferable to the dry buffalo meat, (but seldom obtainable) of the Far West.
Evil fortune pursued the Mormons, and dogged their steps. The year following, some struggled on toward the promised land,
and of these a few reached Oregon and California. Many were
killed by hostile Indians ; many perished of hunger, cold, and
thirst, in passing the great wilderness ; and many returned to the
States, penniless, and crestfallen, and heartily cursing the moment
in which they had listened to the counsels of the Mormon prophet.
The numbers who reached their destination of Oregon, California,
and the Great Salt Lake, are computed at 20,000, of whom the United States had an unregretted riddance. One party had followed the troops of the American government
intended for the conquest of New Mexico and the Californias. Of
these a battalion was formed, and part of it proceeded to Upper
California; but the way being impracticable for wagons, someseventy families proceeded up the Arkansas, and wintered nearthemountains, intending to cross to the Platte the ensuing spring, andjoin the main body of emigrants on their way by the South Passof the Rocky Mountains. In the wide and well-timbered bottom of the Arkansas,theIMormons had erected a street of log shanties, in which to passtheinclement winter. These were built of rough logs of cotton-wood,laid one above the other, the interstices filled with mud,andrendered impervious to wind or v/et. At one end of the rowofshanties was built the ” church” or temple—a long buildingofhuge logs, in which the prayer-meetings and holdings-forth tookplace. The band wintering on the Arkansas were a far betterclass than the generality of Mormons, and comprised many wealthyand respectable farmers from the western states, most of whomwere accustomed to the life of woodmen, and were good hunters.Thus they were enabled to support their families upon the produceof their rifles, frequently sallying out to the nearest point ofthemountains with a wagon, which they would bring back loadedwith buffalo, deer, and elk meat, thereby saving the necessityofkilling any of their stock of cattle, of which but few remained.The mountain hunters foimd this camp a profitable marketfortheir meat and deer-skins, with which the Mormons werenowcompelled to clothe themselves, and resorted there for that purpose—to say nothing of the attraction of the many really beautifulMissourian girls who sported their tall, graceful figures at thefre-quent fandangoes. Dancing and preaching go hand in handinMormon doctrine, and the ” temple” was generally cleared forahop two or three times during the week, a couple of fiddles doingthe duty of orchestra. A party of mountaineers came in one day,bringing some buffalo meat and dressed deer-skins, and wereinvited to be present at one of these festivals. Arrived at the temple, they were rather taken aback by finding
themselves in for a sermon, which one of the elders delivered pre- paratory to the “physical exercises.” The preacher was one Bro^vn—called, by reason of his commanding a company of Mor- mon volunteers, ” Cap’en Brown”—a hard-featured, black-coated man of five-and-forty, correctly got up in black continuations, and
white handkerchief round his neck, a costume seldom seen at the
foot of the Rocky Mountains. The Cap’en, rising, cleared his
voice, and thus commenced, first turning to an elder (with whonj
there was a little rivalry in the way of preaching) : —” Brother Dowdle I” —(brother Dowdle blushed and nodded : he was a long
tallow-faced man, with black hair combed over his face)—” I feel like holding forth a little this afternoon, before we glorify the Lord —a—a—in the—a—holy dance. As there are a many strange
gentlemen now—a—present, it’s about right to tell ’em—a—
what our doctrine just is, and so I tells ’em right off what the Mormons is. They are the chosen of the Lord ; they are the
children of glory, persecuted by the hand of man : they flies here
to the wilderness, and, among the Injine and the buffler, they
lifts up their heads, and cries with a loud voice, Susannah, and
hurray for the promised land I Do you believe it ? I know it. ” They wants to know whar we’re going. Whar the church
goes—thar we goes. Yes, to hell, and pull the devil off his throne
that’s what we’ll do. Do you believe it ? I knoiv it. ” Thar’s milk and honey in that land as we’re goin’ to, and the
lost tribes of Israel is thar, and will jine us. They say as we’ll starve on the road, bekase thar’s no game and no water ; but
thar’s manna up in heaven, and it’ll rain on us, and thar’s prophets among us can make the water * come.’ Can’t they, brother Dowdle ?”
” Well, they can.”
” And now, what have the Geniiles and the Philis^m^s to say
against us Mormons ? They says we’re thieves, and steal hogs

yes, d— ’em ! they say we has as many wives as we like. So
we have. I’ve twenty—forty, myself, and mean to have as manymore as I can get. But it’s to pass unfortunate females intoheaven that I has ’em^—yes, to prevent ’em going to roaring flamesand damnation that I does it. ” Brother Dowdle,” he continued, in a hoarse, low voice, ” I’ve* give out,’ and think we’d better begin the exercises grettful tothe Lord.”
Brother Dowdle rose, and, after saying that ” he didn’t feel hkesaying much, begged to remind all hands, that dancing was solemnlike, to be done with proper devotion, and not with laughing andtalking, of which he hoped to hear little or none ; that joy wastobe in their hearts, and not on their lips ; that they danced for theglory of the Lord, and not their own amusement, as did the Gentilesy After saying thus, he called upon brother Ezra to ” strikeup :” sundry couples stood forth, and the ball commenced. Ezra of the violin was a tall, shambUng Missourian, withapair of ” homespun” pantaloons thrust into the legs of his heavyboots. Nodding his head in time with the music, he occasionallygave instructions to such of the dancers as were at fault, singiiigthem to the tune he was playing, in a dismal nasal tone
” Down the center—bands across,” “You, Jake Herring—thump it,” ” Now, you all go right a-head

Every one of you hump it. Eveiy one of you

kximp it.” The last words being the signal that all should clap the steamon,which they did co7i mnore, and with comical seriousness. A mountaineer, Bube Herring, whom we have more than oncemet in the course of this narrative, became a convert to the Mor-mon creed, and held forth its wonderful doctrines to such of theincredulous trappers as he could induce to listen to him. OldRube stood nearly six feet six in height, and was spare and bonyin make. He had picked up a most extraordinary cloth coat
among the Mormons, which had belonged to some one his equal
in stature. This coat, which was of a snufF-brown color, had iia waist about a hand’s span from the nape of Rube’s neck, or abouL
a yard above its proper position, and the skirts reached to his ankles. A slouching felt-hat covered his head, from which long black hair escaped, hanging in flakes over his lantern-jaws. His
pantaloons of buckskin were shrunk with wet, and reached midway between his knees and ankles, and his huge feet were encased
in moccasins of buffalo-cow skin. Rube was never without the book of Mormon in his hand, and
his sonorous voice might be heard, at all hours of the day and
night, reading passages from its wonderful pages. He stood tho badgering of the hunters with most perfect good humor, and said there never was such a book as that ever before printed ; that the Mormons were the “biggest kind” of prophets, and theirs the best
faith ever man believed in. Rube had let out one day that he was to be hired as guide by
this party of Mormons to the Great Salt Lake ; but their destination being changed, and his services not required, a wonderful change came over his mind. He was, as usual, book of Mormon
ill hand, when brother Brown announced the change in their plans ; at which the book was cast into the Arkansas, and Rube
exclaimed—” Cuss your darned Mummum and Thummum

tliar’s not one among you knows ‘ fat cow’ from ‘ poor bull,’ and
}ou may go to h— for me.” And turning away, old Rube sp9,t out a quid of tobacco and ftis Mormonism together.
Among the Mormons was an old man, named Brand, from
Memphis County, state of Tennessee, with a family of a daughter
and two sons, the latter with their wives and children. Brand was a wiry old fellow, nearly seventy years of age, but still stout and strong, and wielded ax or rifle better than many a younger man. If truth be told, he was not a very red-hot Mormon, and
had joined them as much for the sake of company to California,
whither he had long resolved to emigrate, as from any implicitcredence in the faith. His sons were strapping fellows, of thesterhng stuff that the Western pioneers are made of; his daughterMary, a fine woman of thirty, for whose state of single blessednessthere must doubtless have been sufficient reason ; for she was notonly remarkably handsome, but was well-known in Memphis tobe the best-tempered and most industrious young woman in thosediggings. She was known to have received several advantageousoffers, all of which she had refused ; and report said that it wasfrom having been disappointed in very early life in an affaire duccEur, at an age when such wounds sometimes strike strong anddeep, leaving a scar difficult to heal. Neither his daughter, nor anyof his family, had been converted to the Mormon doctrine, but hadever kept themselves aloof, and refused to join or associate withthem ; and, for this reason, the family had been very unpopularwith the Mormon families on the Arkansas ; and hence, probably,one great reason why they now started alone on their journey.
Spring had arrived, and it was time the Mormons should pro-ceed on their march ; but whether already tired of the samplethey had had of life in the wilderness, or fearful of encounteringthe perils of the Indian country, not one among theni, with theexception of old Brand, seemed inclined to pursue the journey far-ther. That old backwoodsman, however, was not to be deterred,but declared his intention of setting out alone, with his family,and risking all the dangers to be anticipated.
One fine sunny evening in April of 1847, when the cotton-woods on the banks of the Arkansas began to put forth theirbuds, and robins and blue-birds—^harbingers of spring- — were hopping, with gaudy plumage, through the thickets, three while- tilt- ed Conostoga wagons emerged from the timbered botlora of theriver, and rumbled slowly over the prairie, in the direction of thePlatte’s waters. Each wagon was drawn by eight oxen, andcontained a portion of the farming implements and ho’ieehold utcn-
sils of the Brand family. The teams were driven by the young
boys, the men following in rear with shouldered rifles—old Brand himself mounted on an Indian horse, leading the advance. The women were safely housed under the shelter of the wagon
tilts, and out of the first the mild face of Mary Brand smiled
adieu to many of her old companions, who had accompanied them
thus far, and now wished them ” God-speed” on their long jour- ney. Some mountaineers, too, galloped up, dressed in buckskin,
and gave them rough greeting—warning the men to keep their ” eyes skinned,” and look out for the Arapahos, who were out on
the waters of the Platte. Presently all retired, and then the huge wagons and the little company were rolling on their solitary
way through the deserted prairies—passing the first of the mauy
thousand miles which lay between them and the ” setting sun,”
as the Indians style the distant regions of the Far West. And
on, without casting a look behind him, doggedly and boldly
marched old Brand, followed by his sturdy family.
They made but a few miles that evening, for the first day tlie start is all that is efl^ected ; and nearly the whole morning is taken up in getting fairly under weigh. The loose stock had
been sent ofi’ earlier, for they had been collected and corralled the
previous night ; and, after a twelve hours’ fast, it Avas necessary they should reach the end of the day’s journey betimes. They
found the herd grazing in the bottom of the Arkansas, at a point
previously fixed upon for their first camp. Here the oxen were
unyoked, and the wagons drawn up so as to form the three sides of a small square. The women then descended from their seats.. and prepared the evening meal. A huge fire was kindled before the wagons, and round this the whole party collected ; while large
kettles of cofiee boiled on it, and hoe-cakes baked upon the embers.The Avomen were sadly down-hearted, as well they might be,
with the dreary prospect before them ; and poor Mary, when she
saw the Mormon encampment shut out from her sight by the roll- ing bluffs, and nothing before her but the bleak, barren prairie, could not divest herself of the idea that she had looked for the last time on civilized fellow-creatures, and fairly burst into tears. In the morning the heavy wagons rolled on again across tho upland prairies, to strike the trail used by the traders in passing from the south fork of the Platte to the Arkansas. They had for guide a Canadian voyageur, who had been in the service of tho Indian traders, and knew the route well, and had agreed to pilot
them to Fort Lancaster on the north fork of the Platte. Their
course led for about thirty miles up the Boiling Spring Pv^iver, whence they pursued a northeasterly course to the dividing ridge
which separates the waters of the Platte and Arkansas. Their
progress was slow, for the ground was saturated with wet, and
exceedingly heavy for the cattle, and they scarcely advanced morethan ten miles a day.
At the camp fire at night, Antoine, the Canadian guide,
amused them with tales of the wild life and perilous adventures
of the hunters and trappers who make the mountains their home ; often extorting a scream from the women by the description of some scene of Indian fight and slaughter, or beguiling them of a commiserating tear by the narrative of the sufferings and privations endured by those hardy hunters in their arduous life. Mary listened with the greater interest, since she rememberedthat such was the life which had been led by one very dear to her—^by one, long supposed to be dead, of Avhom she had never but once, since his departure, nearly fifteen years before, heard a
syllable. Her imagination pictured him as the bravest and most
daring of these adventurous hunters, and conjured up his figure
charging through the midst of whooping savages, or stretched on
the ground perishing from wounds, or cold, or famine. Among the characters who figured in Antoine’s stories, a hunter named La Bonte was made conspicuous for deeds of hardiness
and daring. The first mention of the name caused the blood to rush to Mary’s face : not that she for a moment imagined it was
her La Bonte, for she knew iha name was a common one ; but, associated with feeUngs which she had never got the better of, it recalled a sad epoch in her former life, to which she could not
look back without mingled pain and pleasure.
Once only, and about two years after his departure, had she ever received tidings of her former lover. A mountaineer had
returned from the Far West to settle in his native state, and had
found his way to the neighborhood of old Brand’s farm. Meeting
him by accident, Maiy, hearing him speak of the mountain hunters, had inquired tremblingly, after La Bonte. Her informant knew him well—had trapped in company with him—and had
heard at the trading fort, whence he had taken his departure for the settlements, that La Bonte had been killed on the Yellow
Stone by Blackfeet ; which report was confirmed by some Lidians
of that nation. This was all she had ever learned of the lover of her youth.
Now, upon hearing the name of La Bonte so often mentioned
by Antoine, a vague hope was raised in her breast that he was
still alive, and she took an opportunity of questioning the Canadian closely on the subject. ” Who was this this La Bonte, Antoine, who you say was so brave a mountaineer ?” she asked one day.
” J’ne sais pas ; he vas un beau garcon, and strong comme le diable—enfant de garce, mais he pas not care a dam for les sau- vages, pe gar. He shoot de centare avec his carabine ; and ride de cheval comme one Comanche. He trap heap castor (what
you call beevare), and get plenty dollare—mais he open hand
vare wide—and got none too. Den, he hont vid de Blackfoot and avec de Cheyenne, and all round do montaignos he hont damsight.”
“But, Antoine, what became of him at last ? and why did ho
not come home, when he made so many dollars?” asked poor Mary.
” Enfant de garce, mais pourquoi he com home ? Pe gar, de montaigne-man, he love de montaigne and the prairie more better dan he love de grandes villes—meme de Saint Louis ou de Montreal. Wagh I La Bonte, well, he one montaigne-man, wagh ‘ Helove de buffaloe and de chevreaux plus que de boeuf and de mouton,
may be. Mais on-dit dat he have autre raison—dat de gal he lofe in Missouri not lofe him, and for dis he not go back. Mais now he go
ondare, m’ on dit. He vas go to de Californe, may be to steal de
hos and de mule—^pe gar, and de Espagnols rub him out, and
take his hair, so he mort.”
” But are you sure of this ?” she asked, trembling with grief
*’ Ah, now, j’ne suis pas sur, mais I tink you know dis La Bonte. Enfant de garce, maybe you de gal in Missouri he lofe, and
not lofe him. Pe gar I ‘fant de garce ! fort beau garcon dis LaBonte, pourquoi you ne I’aimez pas ? Maybe he not gone ondare. Maybe he turn op, autrefois. De trappares, dey go ondare tree, four, ten times, mais dey turn op twenty time. De sauvage not
able for kill La Bonte, ni de dam Espagnols. Ah, non I ne
craignez pas ; pe gar, he not gone ondare encore.” Spite of the good-natured attempts of the Canadian, poor Maryburst into a flood of tears : not that the information took her unawares, for she had long believed him dead ; but becausef the very mention of his name awoke the strongest feelings within her
breast, and taught her how deep was the affection she had felt for him whose loss and violent fate she now bewailed. As the wagons of the lone caravan roll on toward the Platte, we return to the camp where La Bonte, Killbuck, and the
stranger, were sitting before the fire when last we saw them :
Killbuck loquitur :

” The doins of them Mormon fools can’t be beat by Spaniards,
stranger. Their mummums and thummums you speak of won’t
* shine’ whar Injuns are about ; nor pint out a trail, whar notliiii crossed but rattler-snakes since fust it snow’d on old Pike’s Peak.
If they pack along them profits^ as you tell of, who can make it rain hump-ribs and marrow-guts when the crowd gets out of the
buffler range, they are ‘ some,’ now, that’s a fact. But this child don’t believe it. I’d laugh to get a sight on these darned Mormonites, I would. They’re ‘ no account,’ I guess ; and it’s the
* meanest’ kind of action to haul their women critters and their young ‘uns to sech a starving country as the Californys.”
” They are not all Mormons in the crowd,” said the strange hunter ; *’ and there’s one family among them with some smartish boys and girls, I tell you. Their name’s Brand.” La Bonte looked up from the lock of his rifle, which he was
cleaning—but either didn’t hear, or, hearing, didn’t heed, for he
continued his work. “And they are going to part company,” continued the stranger,
*’ and put out alone for PJatte and the South Pass.”
*’ They’ll lose their hair, I’m thinking,” said Killbuck, ” if the Kapahos are out thar.”
” I hope not,” continued the other, ” for there’s a girl among
them worth more than that.”
” Poor beaver I” said La Bonte, looking up from his work.
” I’d hate to see any white gal in the hands of Injuns, and of Rapahos worse than all. Where does she come from, stranger?”
” Down below St. Louis, from Tennessee, I’ve heard them
“Tennessee,” cried La Bonte—”hurrah for the old State! What’s her name, stran—” At this moment Killbuck’s old mule
pricked her ears and snuffed the air, which action catching LaBonte’s eye, he rose abruptly, without waiting a reply to his question, and exclaimed, “The old mule smells Injuns, or I’m a
Spaniard I” The hunter did the old mule justice, and she well maintained
her reputation as the best ” guard” hi the mountams ; for iu twoinmutes an Indian stalked into the camp, dressed in a cloth capote,
and in odds and ends of civilized attire. ” Rapaho,” cried Killbuck, as soon as he saw him ; and tlie Indian catching the word, struck his hand upon his breast, and
exclaimed, in broken Spanish and English mixed, ” Si, si, meArapaho, white man amigo. Come to camp—eat heap came—me amigo white man. Come from Pueblo—hunt cibola—me gunbreak

7io piiedo inatar iiada : muclia hamhre (very hungry)-^
heap eat.” Killbuck offered his pipe to the Indian, and spoke to him in his own language, which both he and La Bonte well understood. They learned that he was married to a Mexican woman, and lived with some hunters at the Pueblo fort on the Arkansas. He volunteered the information that a war party of his people were out on
the Platte trail to intercept the Indian traders on their return
fi’om the North Fork ; and as some ” Mormons” had just started with three wagons in that direction, he said his people wouldmake a ” raise.” Being muy amigo himself to the whites, he
cautioned his present companions from crossing to the ” divide,” as the ” braves,” he said, were a ” heap” mad, and their hearts were ” big,” and nothing in the shape of white skin would live before them.
” Wagh I” exclaimed Killbuck, “the Rapahos know me, I’mthinking ; and small gain they’ve made against this child. I’ve knowed the time when my gun-cover couldn’t hold more of their scalps.”
The Indian was provided with some powder, of which he stood
in need ; and, after gorging as much meat as his capacious
Gtomach would hold, he left the camp, and started into the mountain.
The next day our hunters started on their journey down the
liver, traveling leisurely, and stopping wherever good grass pr’^-
sented itself. One morning they suddenly struck a wheel trail, which left the creek banks and pursued a course at right angles to
it, in the direction of the ” divide.” Killbuck pronounced it hut a few hours old, and that of three wagons drawn by oxen. “Waghl” he exclaimed, “if them poor devils of Mormonites
ain’t going head first into the Rapaho trap. They’ll be * gone
beaver’ afore long.”
” Ay,” said the strange hunter, ” these are the wagons belonging to old Brand, and he has started alone for Laramie. I hope
nothing will happen to them.”
” Brand I” muttered La Bonte. ” I knowed that name mighty
well once, years agone : and should hate the worst kind that mischief happened to any one who bore it. This trail’s as fresh as paint ; and it goes against me to let these simple critters help
the Ptapahos to their own hair. This child feels like helping ’em
out of the scrape. What do you say, old hos ?”
” I thinks with you, boy,” answered Killbuck, ” and go in for following this wagon trail, and telling the poor critters that thar’s danger ahead of them. What’s your talk, stranger ?”
” I go with you,” shortly answered the latter ; and both fol- lowed quickly after La Bonte, who was already trotting smartly on the trail. Meanwhile the three wagons, containing the household gods of the Brand family, rumbled slowly over the rolling prairie, and
toward the upland ridge of the ” divide,” which, studded with
dwarf pine and cedar thicket, rose gradually before them. They
traveled with considerable caution, for already the quick eye of Antoine had discovered recent Indian sign upon the trail, and,
with mountain quickness, had at once made it out to be that of a war party ; for there were no horses with them, and, after one or two of the moccasin tracks, the mark of a rope which trailed upon
the ground was sufficient to show him that the Indians were pro- vided with the usual lasso of skin, with which to secure the horses
stolen in the expedition. The men of the party were consequently
all mounted and thoroughly armed, the wagons moved in a line abreast, and a sharp look-out was kept on all sides. The womenand children Avere all consigned to the interior of the wagons ; andthe latter had also guns in readiness, to take their part in thedefense, should an attack be made.
However, they had seen no Indians, and no fresh sign, for twodays after they left the Boiling Spring Pviver, and they began to think they were well out of their neighborhood. One evening theycamped on a creek called Black Horse, and, as usual, had corralled the wagons, and forted as well as circumstances would permit,
when three or four Indians suddenly appeared on a bluff at a little distance, and, making signals of peaceable intentions, approachedthe camp. Most of the men were absent at the time, attendingto the cattle or collecting fuel, and only old Brand and one of his young grandchildren, about fourteen years old, remained in camp.The Indians were hospitably received, and regaled with a smoke,after which they began to evince their curiosity by examiningevery article lying about, and signifying their wishes that it shouldbe given to them. Finding their hints were not taken, they laid hold of several things which took their fancies, and, among others, of the pot which was boiling on the fire, and with which one of them was about very coolly to walk off, when old Brand, who upto this moment had retained possession of his temper, seized it outof the Indian’s hand, and knocked him down. One of the others
instantly began to draw the buckskin cover from his gun, andwould no doubt have taken summary vengeance for the insult offered to his companion, when Mary Brand courageously steppedup to him, and, placing her left hand upon the gun which he wasin the act of uncovering, with the other pointed a pistol at his breast. Whether daunted by the bold act of the girl, or admiring herdevotion to her father, tlie Indian drew himself back, exclaimed
*’ Howgh I” and drew the cover again on his piece, went up to old Brand, who all this time looked him sternly in the face, and,
shaking him by the hand, motioned at the same time to the others
to be peaceable.
The other whites presently coming into camp, the Indians sat quietly down by the fire, and, when the supper was ready, joined
in the repast, after which they gathered their buffalo robes about them, and quietly withdrew. Meanwhile Antoine, knowing the
treacherous character of the savages, advised that the greatest
precaution should be taken to secure the stock ; and before dark,
therefore, all the mules and horses were hobbled and secured within the corral, the oxen being allowed to feed at liberty—for the Indians scarcely care to trouble themselves with such cattle. A guard was also set round the camp, and relieved eveiy two
hours ; the fire was extinguished, lest the savages should aim, by
its light, at any of the party, and all slept with rifles ready at
their sides. However, the night passed quietly, and nothing dis- turbed the tranquillity of the camp. The prairie wolves loped
hungrily around, and their mournful cry was borne upon the wind
as they chased deer and antelope on the neighboring plain ; but
not a sign of lurking Indians was seen or heard. In the morning, shortly after sunrise, they were in the act of yoking the oxen to the wagons, and driving in the loose animals which had been turned out to feed at daybreak, when some
Indians again appeared upon the bluff, and, descending it, confi- dently approached the camp. Antoine strongly advised their not being allowed to enter ; but Brand, ignorant of Indian treachery,
replied that, so long as they came as friends, they could not be deemed enemies, and allowed no obstruction to be offered to their approach. It was now observed that they were all painted,
armed with bows and arrows, and divested of their buffalo robes, appearing naked to the breech-clout, their legs only being protected
by deerskin leggings, reaching to the rniadle of the thigh. Six or
seven first arrived, and others quickly followed, dropping in one
after the other, until a score or more w^ere collected round the wagons. Their demeanor, at first friendly, soon changed as their numbers increased, and they now became urgent in their demandsfor powder and lead, and bullying in their manner. A chief accosted Brand, and, through Antoine, informed him “that, unless the demands of his braves were acceded to, he could not be
responsible for the consequences ; that they were out on the ‘ wartrail,’ and their eyes were red with blood, so that they could not
distinguish between white and Yuta scalps ; that the party, withall their women and wagons, were in the power of the Indian
* braves,’ and therefore the white chief’s best plan was to makethe best terms he could ; that all they required was that they
should give up their guns and ammunition ‘ on the prairie,’ and all their mules and horses—retaining the ‘medicine’ buffaloes (the
oxen) to draw their wagons.”
By this time the oxen were yoked, and the teamsters, whip in hand, only waited the word to start. Old Brand foamed while
the Indian stated his demands, but, hearing him to the end,
exclaimed, ” Darn the red devil ! I wouldn’t give him a grain of powder to save my life. Put out, boys I”—and, turning to his horse, which stood ready saddled, was about to mount, when the Indians sprang at once upon the wagons, and commenced their attack, yelling like fiends. One jumped upon old Brand, pulled him back as he was rising in the stirrup, and drew his bow upon him at the same moment.In an instant the old backwoodsman pulled a pistol from his belt, and, putting the muzzle to the Indian’s heart, shot him dead. Another Indian, flourishing his war-club, laid the old man at his
feet ; while some dragged the women from the wagons, andothers rushed upon the men, who made brave fight in their defense. Mary, when she saw her father struck to the ground, sprang
Avith a shrill cry to his assistance : for at that moment a savage,
frightful as red paint could make him, was standing over his pros- trate body, brandishing a glittering knife in the air, preparatory to thrusting it into the old man’s breast. For the rest, all was confusion : in vain the small party of whites struggled against over- powering numbers. Their rifles cracked but once, and they were
quickly disarmed ; while the shrieks of the women and children, and the loud yells of the Indians, added to the scene of horror and
confusion. As Mary flew to her father’s side, an Indian threw his
lasso at her, the noose falling over her shoulders, and, jerking it tight, he uttered a delighted yell as the poor girl was thrown back
violently to the ground. As she fell, another deliberately shot an
arrow at her body, while the one who had thrown the lasso rushed
forward, his scalp-knife flashing in his hand, to seize the bloody
trophy of his savage deed. The girl rose to her knees, and looked
wildly toward the spot where her father lay bathed in blood ; but
the Indian pulled the rope violently, dragged her some yards upon
the ground, and then rushed with a yell of vengeance upon his victim. He paused, however, as at that moment a shout as fierce as his own sounded at his very ear ; and, looking up, he saw LaBonte galloping madly down the blufl’, his long hair and the
fringes of his hunting-shirt and leggins flying in the wind, his right arm supporting his trusty rifle, while close behind him cameKillbuck a-nd the stranger. Dashing with loud hurrahs to the
scene of action, La Bonte, as he charged down the bluff’, caught
sight of the giri struggling in the hands of the ferocious Indian. Loud was the war shout of the mountaineer, as he struck his heavy spurs to the rowels in the horse’s side, and bounded like lightning to the rescue. In a single stride he was upon the Indian,
and, thrusting the muzzle of his rifle into his very breast, he pulled the trigger, driving the savage backward by the blow itself, at the same moment that the bullet passed through his heart, and tumbled liim over stone-dead. Throwing down his rifle, La Bonte
wheeled his obedient horse, and, drawing a pistol from his belt, again charged the enemy, among whom Killbuck and the stranger were dealing death-giving blows. Yelling for victory, the mountaineers rushed at the Indians ; and they, panic-struck at the sud- den attack, and thinking this was but the advanced guard of a
large band, fairly turned and fled, leaving five of their number
dead upon the field. Mary, shutting her eyes to the expected deathstroke, heard the loud shout La Bonte gave in charging down the blufi’, and, again
looking up, saw the wild-looking mountaineer rush to her rescue, and save her from the savage by his timely blow. Her arms
were still pinned by the lasso, which prevented her from rising to her feet ; and La Bonte was the first to run to aid her, as soon as the fight was fairly over. He jumped from his horse, cut the skin rope which bound her, raised her from the ground, and, upon her
turning up her face to thank him, beheld his never-to-be-forgotten
Mary Brand ; while she, hardly believing her senses, recognized
in her deliverer her former lover, and still well beloved La Bonte.
” What, Mary I can it be you?” he asked, looking intently upon
the trembling woman. “La Bonte, you don’t forget me!” she answered, and threw
herself sobbing into the arms of the sturdy mountaineer. There we will leave her for the j)resent, and help Killbuck and
his companions to examine the killed and wounded. Of the former five Indians and two whites lay dead, grandchildren of old Brand, fine lads of fourteen or fifteen, who had fought with the
greatest bravery, and lay pierced with arrows and lance wounds. Old Brand had received a sore buffet, but a hatful of cold water from the creek sprinkled over his face soon restored him. His sons had not escaped scot-free, and Antoine was shot through the neck,
and, falling, had actually been half scalped by an Indian, whom the timely arrival of La Bonte had caused to leave his work unfinished.
Silently, and with sad hearts, the survivors of the family, saw
the bodies of the two boys buried on the river bank, and the spot
marked with a pile of loose stones, procured from the rocky bed of the creek. The carcasses of the treacherous Indians were left to be devoured by wolves, and their bones to bleach in the sun and
wind—a warning to their tribe, that such foul treachery as they
had meditated had met with a merited retribution. The next day the party continued their course to the Platte. Antoine and the stranger returned to the Arkansas, starting in the night to avoid the Indians ; but Killbuck and La Bonte lent the
aid of their rifles to the solitary caravan, and, under their experi- enced guidance, no more Indian perils were encoiuitered. Maryno longer sat perched up in her father’s Conostoga, but rode a
quiet mustang by La Bonte’s side ; and no doubt they found a theme with which to while away the monotonous journey over the
dreary plains. South Fork was passed and Laramie was reached. The Sweet Water Mountains, which hang over the “pass” to California, were long since in sight; but when the waters of the North Fork of Platte lay before their horses’ feet, and the broad
trail was pointed out which led to the great valley of Columbia
and their promised land, the heads of the oxen were turned downthe stream where the shallo^v waters flow on to join the great Missouri—and not wp, toward the mountains where they leave
their spring-heads, from which springs flow several waters—some
coursmg their way to the eastward, fertilizing, in their route to the
Atlantic, the lands of civilized man ; others westward forcing a
passage through rocky canons, and flowing through a barren wilderness, inhabited by fierce and barbarous tribes. These were the routes to choose from : and, whatever was the
cause, the oxen turned their yoked heads away from the rugged
mountains ; the teamsters joyfully cracked their ponderous whips,
as the wagons rolled lightly down the Platte ; and men, women,
and children, waved their hats and bonnets in the air, and cried out lustily, ” Hurrah for home I”
La Boiite looked at the dark somber mountains ere he turned
his back upon them for the last time. He thought of the manyyears he had spent beneath their rugged shadow, of the manyhardships he had suffered, of all his pains and perils hi those wild
regions. The most exciting episodes of his adventurous career, his tried companions in scenes of fierce fight and bloodshed, passed in review before him. A feeling of regret was creeping over him,
when Mary laid her hand gently on his shoulder. One single tear
rolled unbidden down his cheek, and he answered her inquiring eyes : ” I’m not sorry to leave it, Mary,” he said ; but it’s hard to turn one’s back upon old friends.” They had a hard battle with Killbuck, in endeavoring to per- suade him to accompany them to the settlements. The old mountaineer shook his head. ” The time,” he said, ” was gone by for that. He had often thought of it, but, when the day ar- rived, he hadn’t heart to leave the mountains. Trapping noAV was of no account, he knew ; but beaver was bound to rise, and
then the good times would come again. What could he do in the
settlements, where there wasn’t room to move, and where it was
hard to breathe—there were so many people.
He accompanied them a considerable distance down the river, ever and anon looking cautiously back, to ascertain that he had
not gone out of sight of the mountains. Before reaching the forks, however, he finally bade them adieu ; and, turning the head of
his old grizzled mule westward, he heartily wrung the hand of his comrade La Bonte ; and, crying Yep I to his well-tried animal,
disappeared behind a ro]l of the prairie, and was seen no more—
thousand good wishes for the welfare of the sturdy trapper speeding him on his solitaiy way. Four months from the day when La Bonte so opportunely ap- peared to rescue Brand’s family from the Indians on Black Horse
Creek, that worthy and the faithful Mary were duly and lawfully united m the township church of Brandville, Memphis County,
State of Temiessee. We can not say, in the concluding words of nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand novels, that ” numerou!
pledges of mutual love surrounded and cheered them in their de dining years,” &c., &c. ; because it was only on the 24tli of July,
in the year of our Lord 1847, that La Bonte and Mary Brand
were finally made one, after fifteen long years of separation.
The fate of one of the humble characters who have figured in these pages, we must yet tarry a little longer to describe. During the past winter, a party of mountaineers, flying from overpowering numbers of hostile Sioux, found themselves, one stormy evening, in a wild and dismal carion near the elevated mountain valley called the ” New Park.” The rocky bed of a dry mountain torrent, whose waters were now locked up at their spring-heads by icy fetters, was the only road up which they could make their dijElicult way : for the rugged
sides of the gorge rose precipitously from the creek, scarcely afibrd- ing a foot-hold to even the active bighorn, which occasionally looked down upon the travelers from the lofty summit. Logs of
pitie, uprooted by the hurricanes which sweep incessantly through
the mountain defiles, and tossed headlong from the surrounding
ridges, continually obstructed their way ; and huge rocks and
boulders, fallen from the heights and blocking up the bed of the
stream, added to the difiiculty, and threatened them every instant with destruction. Toward sundown they reached a point where the carion opened
out into a little shelving glade or prairie, a few hundred yards in extent, the entrance to which was almost hidden by a thicket of dwarf pine and cedar. Here they determined to encamp for the
night, in a spot secure from Indians, and, as they imagined, un- trodden by the foot of man. What, however, was their astonishment, on breaking through
tho cedar-covered entrance, to perceive a solitary horse standing
motionless in the center of the prairie. Drawing near, they foundit to be an old grizzled mustang, or Indian pony, with croppedears and ragged tail (well picked by hungry mules), standingdoubled up with cold, and at the very last gasp from extreme old age and weakness. Its bones were nearly through the stiffened
skin, the legs of the animal were gathered under it ; while its for- lorn-looking head and stretched-out neck hung listlessly downward,almost overbalancing its tottering body. The glazed and sunkeneye—the protruding and froth-covered tongue—the heaving flank and quivering tail—declared its race was run ; and the driving
sleet and snow, and penetrating winter blast, scarce made impression upon its callous and worn-out frame. One of the band of mountaineers was Marcellin, and a single look at the miserable beast was sufficient for him to recognize the once renowned Nez-perce steed of old Bill Williams. That theowner himself was not far distant he felt certain ; and, searching
carefully around, the hunters presently came upon an old camp,before which lay, protruding from the snow, the blackenedremains of pine logs. Before these, which had been the fire, andleaning with his back against a pine trunk, and his legs crossed under him, half covered with snow, reclined the figure of the old mountaineer, his snow-capped head bent over his breast. Hiswell-known hunting-coat of fringed elk-skin hung stiff and weatherstained about him ; and his rifle, packs, and traps, were strewedaround. Awe-struck, the trappers approached the body, and found it frozen hard as stone, in which state it had probably lain there
for many days or weeks. A jagged rent in the breast of his leather coat, and dark stains about it, showed he had received a wound before his death ; but it was impossible to say, whether to his hurt, or to sickness, or to the natural decay of age, was to be attributed the wretched and solitary end of poor Bill Williams.
A frieudly bullet cut short the few remaining hours of the trapper’s faithful steed ; and burying, as well as they were able, the body of the old mountaineer, the hunters next day left him in his lonely grave, in a spot so wild and remote, that it was doubtful whether even hungry wolves would discover and disinter his at- tenuated corpse.

ipistorn of CI) arks tl)e iFirst Of England. By Jacob Abbott. With an Illuminated Title-page and nu- merous Illustrations. 12mo, Muslin. 60 cents. ^istorg of iHarn (^nccn of Scots. By Jacob Abbott. With an Illuminated Title-page and numerous Illus- trations. 12mo, Muslin. 60 cents. A beautifully-executed volume for young readers, presenting- in that easy, admirable style of which Mr. Abbott is such a consummate master, the strange incidents of the life of this most interesting personage. The story is complete, and the impressions left on the mind wil’ be ineffaceable.

Evangelist. Einigs a\xb (^ntcnB;
Or, Life in the Palace. By J. S. C. Abbott. With Illustrations. 12mo,
Muslin. $1 00. We have read its pages with the most intense interest. It comprises the sterling worth of
historical truth with the enchantment of the romance and the novel.

Eastern Times. Qi[]c ^istor^ of ^[cxanbcx tl)c (Sfxcat. By Jacob Abbott. With an Illuminated Title-page and numerous Illus- trations. 12mo, Muslin. 60 cents. % Summer in Srotlanlr. By Jacob Abbott. With numerous Illustrations. 12mo, Muslin. $1 00.
Truthful in its descriptions, beautiful in its style, and unexceptionable in its moral tone.— London Athenceum. ^l)c Cantons.
A Family Picture. Attributed to Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, Bart. 8vo, Paper, cents. ^axoib, tl)e £a3t of tl)e Sa^on Eings.
By Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. 8vo, Paper. 50 cents. A splendid effort, combining a” the brilliancy of his genius with the laborious research of
his best productions ; as a Q.ama of real life, it is perhaps unsurpassed by any similar work of the age.—Mirror. ^\)c iTorgers.
By G. P. R. James, Esq. 8vo, Paper, cents. S^ljirto ^caxB Since;
Or, the Ruined Family. A Tale. By G. P. R. James, Esq. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents. A tale of much amusement and interest. We heartily commend it to our readers as a very
pleasant and a very clever work.

Literary Gazette. An original novel, by an able h^wii .— Spectator

The story is well told, the characters clearly unfolded, and the conclusion natural and sat- isfactory.

2 Popular Literature Puhlished hy Harper 5* Brothers. ^\)c fife of ^enrjj tlje Som%
King of France and Navarre. By G. P. R. James, Esq. 2 vols. 12ino,Muslin. $2 50.
Mr. James has endeavored, and with success, to throw more light upon the earlier yearsofHenry than has hitherto been done, the latter and more important events in his striking ca-reer having naturally attracted the greatest attention.

Literary Gazette. ^\)z Eomance of J^acl^tiuig:
Voyage the First. By Joseph C. Hart. 12mo. iHobel mew.
Modeled by Horace Mayhew^. With numerous Comic Illustrations.18mo, Paper. 25 cents.
Sketches of various characters smartly executed, and one of the steam-boat and rail-wayclass of belles-lettres. The embellishments are also clever. Perhaps the ” Fast Man” willappear to be the most extraordinary nuisance to country readers, and to persons who are onlyacquainted with the higher classes of society.

London Literary Gazette. ^Llje ittoral, Sonal, axxb ProfcBsional HDntks of ^ttoritejis anh Solicitors. By Samuel Warren, Esq., F.R.S. 18mo, Muslin. cents. A Tale. By Samuel Warren, Esq., F.R.S. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents
Paper, 50 cents.
Dr. Warren’s skill is of a peculiar kind ; it is earnest and emphatic. This tale excitesstrong interest.

Athenaeum. Arabian ‘^\%\\Xb’ Q^ntertainmcnte.
Newly Translated and arranged for Family Reading, with ExplanatoryNotes, by E. W. Lane, Esq. Illustrated with Six Hundred ExquisiteEngravings, &c. 2 vols. 8vo, Muslin extra gilt, or Morocco super.
Fifty volumes of books of travel e.xtant will not convey the instruction concerning the sin-gular and graceful habits of the Asiatics, that may be found in the reading of these fascinatingtales, and in the correct and beautiful engravings. This edition will be valued by the acconj-plished scholar as a precious gallery of Oriental pictures: from the title-page to the last engraving, it is a casket of rare and beautiful gems, and from the palace to the hut, it lays bareall that is interesting to know of the followers of Mohammed.

New York Su^ iHrs. ittarkljam’s ipistorji of frame.
Prepared for the Use of Schools, wath a supplementary Chapter, bringingdown the History to the Present Time, by Jacob Abbott. Maps, Engravings, &c. 12mo, half Bound. $125.
Mrs. Markham’s historical works have, by common consent, long occupied the highest rankas school histories ; it has been stated that upward of 56,000 copies of her excellent serieshave already been sold in England. The London Journal of Education, referring to her pro-ductions, admits they are constructed on a plan well chosen, and adds that they can not betoo strongly recommended as adapted for youth. QL{)c fistorg of Qlongrcss, jSiograpl)ical anh political:Comprising Memoirs of Members of the Congress of the United States,drawn from authentic Sources. By H. G. Wheeler. Numerous SteelPortraits. Svo, Muslin. $3 00 per vol. {Vols. I. and II. are now ready.)The author has enjoyed unusual opportunities for collecting the materials for such a work
he has entered upon his task with a zeal and determination to make it permanently and eminently valuable.

New York Courier and Enquirer.
“Popular Literature ‘Published by Harper Sf Brothers. 3
i^otnc Jinflnencje

A Tale for Mothers and Daughters. By Grace Aguilak. 12mo, Muslim, SI 00 ; Paper, 75 cents. The author’s intention in this volume is to aid in edtJcating the heart—z^n objecfwhich must commend itself to all who have the Christian faith, and all who hope and believe that tn« world may, by kindly influences, be transformed from a world of warring passions to one o\ love, and faith, and hope.

Cincinnati Journal. ^\)t Image of I}i0 iratl)er. A Tale of a Young Monkey. By the Brothers Mayhew. With Illustra- tions. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents ; Paper, 50 cents.
Sportively sarcastic and humorous, it touches off very graphically many follies of the day. •—Baltimore American. A very witty production of those distinguished comic writers, the Brothers Mayhew, two©}
the most celebrated disciples of the “Punch School.”

Spirit of the Times. toutl)mn0 feijgljts. By A. Bell. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents ; Paper, 50 cents.
_ ”We strongly recommend all our readers who love novelty to get this story, for we can prom’
ise them that they never read any thing like it before.

Dovglas Jerbold. ODlb §idi0 ti)^ C?$mbe;
Or, Adventures in the Camanche Country in Search of a Gold Mine. By
C. W.Webber. 12mo, Muslin, $1 00 ; Paper, 75 cents.
It has incidents enough for a score of novels.

Mirror. Here is a book to stir a fever in the blood of age. Full of wild adventures, and running ovcT with life.

Graham’s Magazine. ^btjentnres in Mtjdzo an^ tlje Eock^ iHonntains.
By George Ruxton. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents ; Paper, 50 cents. Crowded with the wildest adventures, it has that reality which makes Melville’s ” South
Seas” so charming and fresh. It has none of the homeliness of Robinson Crusoe, but the ad- ventures are as startling.

London Economist. banitg Saix;
Or, Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society. By Wm. Makepeace
Thackeray. With numerous Illustrations by the Author. 8vo, Muslin,
$1 25 ; Paper, ^1 00. He is the prince of etchers and sketchers. His genius is environed with a warm and glowing atmosphere of fine feeling and cultivated fancies—light, playful, kindling, acting upon the imagination and heart of the reader with a secret but irresistible influence. A humor, re- markable for its geniality, illumes and vivifies every page.

Dickens^s Daily News. QLl)c Cl)Ubren of tlje 3>5’eto ^oxcqU
By Captain Marryat. 12mo, Muslin, 50 cents ; Paper, 37^ cents. The author’s facility of description has here brought out a romance which will freshen th«
recollections of his former fame in the mind of the public.

Springfield Gazette. ^{)c Storg of tl)e J)eninsular toar
By General Charles W. Vane, Marquess of Londonderry. j.\ew Edition
revised, with considerable Additions. 12mo, Muslin, $1 00; Paper, 7{ cents.
It is the object of this publication to present what has long been a desideratum—a Complete
History of the Peninsular War down to the peace of 1814, in the smallest possible compass, and at so moderate a cost as to be accessible to all classes of readers ; it will be regarded aa an indispensable companion to ” The Story of the Battle of Waterloo.”

4 Popular Literature Fuhlislied hy Harper if Brothers Coitcrings in (!^ttro:pe; Or, Sketches of Travel in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria,Prussia, Great Britain, and Ireland. With an Appendix, containing Observations on European Charities and Medical Institutions. By J. W.Corson, M.D. 12mo, Muslin, $1 00 ; Paper, 75 cents. The author evidently wrote just as he traveled, with a perfect overflowing- of enthusiasm. The impressions which he received, and which he communicates to the reader, have all the minute fidelity of the Daguerreotype as to form, while the author’s imagination imparts to >hem those natural hues which are beyond the reach of that art.

Journal of Commerce. ^l)e Battle of Cuena bista.
With the Operations of the ” Army of Occupation” for One Month. ByCaptain Carleton. 12mo, Muslin, 75 cents; Paper, 50 cents. The best description that has yet appeared of one of the most distinguished battles fought during the Mexican campaign. We read it through from title-page to Colai)hon with unabatedinterest. Its style is simple and pure, and its pictures vivid in a marked degree.

Knickerbocker. Man anb Ijis iltotbcs.
By George Moore, M.D. 12mo, Muslin. 50 cents.
Dr. Moore is one of the very best writers of the day. He is both a practical and a philo- sophical physician, and he derives much advantage in developing the spiritual as well as physical nature of man, from the practice of his own profession. This is the third of his works, all of which have been placed by intelligent readers in the first class of modern literature and phi- losophy.

Cincinnati Herald. m)t ^twani of toilbfdl ^a\\.
By A. Bell. r2mo. Muslin, 75 cents ; Paper, 50 cents.
It is by all odds the best temperance story we ever read. It is difficult not to believe in the reality of the scene. You can not douljt tliat it is an actual copy of life. You forget youare reading- a romance, and put just as much trust in the narration as if it were told of yournext-door neighbors. To produce this eifect completely is, we take it, the highest success ofa novelist.

Mirror. ^\)t Stoiss iTamilg Hobinson;
Or, Adventures of a Father and Mother and Four Sons on a Desert Island,Being a Continuation of the Work published some years since under thisTitle. 2 vols. 18mo, Muslin. 75 cents.
Every one will remember the first two volumes of this charming story for children, and, of course, be desirous to see the conclusion. The present volumes are quite as interesting as the former.— Godey’5 Lady^s Magazine. The first two Volumes of the same work may still be had. 2 vols. 18mo,Muslin. 62i cents. STIje (Sooir (genius tl)at titrneb (Et)erj]i (J^ljing into (!5olb;Or, the Queen Bee and the Magic Dress. A Christmas Fairy Tale. Bythe Brothers Mayhew. Engravings. 18mo, Muslin, gilt edges, 45 cents;Muslin, plain, 37i cents : Fancy paper covers, 37i cents.
This is a most charming little fairy tale, written with singular beauty and spirit, and incul- cating the duty of industry. (J)moo; or, a Narrative of ^bucntitres in tl)e Sontl) Seas.By Herman Melville. 12mo, Musl-in, il 25 ; Paper, $1 00. Musingthe other day over our inatinal hyson, we suddenly found ourselves in the entertain- ing society of Marquesan Melville, the phuenix of modern voyagers, sprung, it would seem, fromthe mingled ashes of Captain Cook and Robinson Ciusoo. The title signifies a rover ; the buok is excellent, quite firsl-rute.—Blackwood

ifiS D”>o


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