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 Of the famous men whose lives are so interwoven with the history
 of the Old Santa Fe Trail that the story of the great highway is
 largely made up of their individual exploits and acts of bravery,
 it has been my fortune to have known nearly all intimately, during
 more than a third of a century passed on the great plains and in
 the Rocky Mountains.
 First of all, Christopher, or Kit, Carson, as he is familiarly known
 to the world, stands at the head and front of celebrated frontiersmen,
 trappers, scouts, guides, and Indian fighters.
 I knew him well through a series of years, to the date of his death
 in 1868, but I shall confine myself to the events of his remarkable
 career along the line of the Trail and its immediate environs.
 In 1826 a party of Santa Fe traders passing near his father's home
 in Howard County, Missouri, young Kit, who was then but seventeen
 years old, joined the caravan as hunter.  He was already an expert
 with the rifle, and thus commenced his life of adventure on the
 great plains and in the Rocky Mountains.
 His first exhibition of that nerve and coolness in the presence of
 danger which marked his whole life was in this initial trip across
 the plains.  When the caravan had arrived at the Arkansas River,
 somewhere in the vicinity of the great bend of that stream, one of
 the teamsters, while carelessly pulling his rifle toward him by the
 barrel, discharged the weapon and received the ball in his arm,
 completely crushing the bones.  The blood from the wound flowed so
 copiously that he nearly lost his life before it could be arrested.
 He was fixed up, however, and the caravan proceeded on its journey,
 the man thinking no more seriously of his injured arm.  In a few days,
 however, the wound began to indicate that gangrene had set in, and
 it was determined that only by an amputation was it possible for him
 to live beyond a few days.  Every one of the older men of the caravan
 positively declined to attempt the operation, as there were no
 instruments of any kind.  At this juncture Kit, realizing the extreme
 necessity of prompt action, stepped forward and offered to do the job.
 He told the unfortunate sufferer that he had had no experience in
 such matters, but that as no one else would do it, he would take
 the chances.  All the tools that Kit could find were a razor, a saw,
 and the king-bolt of a wagon.  He cut the flesh with the razor,
 sawed through the bone as if it had been a piece of joist, and seared
 the horrible wound with the king-bolt, which he had heated to a
 white glow, for the purpose of stopping the flow of blood that
 naturally followed such rude surgery.  The operation was a complete
 success; the man lived many years afterward, and was with his surgeon
 in many an expedition.
 In the early days of the commerce of the prairies, Carson was the
 hunter at Bent's Fort for a period of eight years.  There were about
 forty men employed at the place; and when the game was found in
 abundance in the mountains, it was a relatively easy task and just
 suited to his love of sport, but when it grew scarce, as it often
 did, his prowess was tasked to its utmost to keep the forty mouths
 from crying for food.  He became such an unerring shot with the
 rifle during that time that he was called the "Nestor of the Rocky
 Mountains."  His favourite game was the buffalo, although he killed
 countless numbers of other animals.
 All of the plains tribes of Indians, as did the powerful Utes of
 the mountains, knew him well; for he had often visited in their
 camps, sat in their lodges, smoked the pipe, and played with their
 little boys.  The latter fact may not appear of much consequence,
 but there are no people on earth who have a greater love for their
 boy children than the savages of America.  The Indians all feared
 him, too, at the same time that they respected his excellent judgment,
 and frequently were governed by his wise counsel.  The following
 story will show his power in this direction.  The Sioux, one of the
 most numerous and warlike tribes at that time, had encroached upon
 the hunting-grounds of the southern Indians, and the latter had many
 a skirmish with them on the banks of the Arkansas along the line of
 the Trail.  Carson, who was in the upper valley of the river, was
 sent for to come down and help them drive the obnoxious Sioux back
 to their own stamping-ground.  He left Fort Bent, and went with the
 party of Comanche messengers to the main camp of that tribe and the
 Arapahoes, with whom they had united.  Upon his arrival, he was told
 that the Sioux had a thousand warriors and many rifles, and the
 Comanches and Arapahoes were afraid of them on account of the great
 disparity of numbers, but that if he would go with them on the
 war-path, they felt assured they could overcome their enemies.
 Carson, however, instead of encouraging the Comanches and Arapahoes
 to fight, induced them to negotiate with the Sioux.  He was sent
 as mediator, and so successfully accomplished his mission that the
 intruding tribe consented to leave the hunting-grounds of the
 Comanches as soon as the buffalo season was over; which they did,
 and there was no more trouble.
 After many adventures in California with Fremont, Carson, with his
 inseparable friend, L. B. Maxwell, embarked in the wool-raising
 industry.  Shortly after they had established themselves on their
 ranch, the Apaches made one of their frequent murdering and plundering
 raids through Northern New Mexico, killing defenceless women and
 children, running off stock of all kinds, and laying waste every
 little ranch they came across in their wild foray.  Not very far
 from the city of Santa Fe, they ruthlessly butchered a Mr. White
 and his son, though three of their number were slain by the brave
 gentlemen before they were overpowered.  Other of the blood-thirsty
 savages carried away the women and children of the desolated home
 and took them to their mountain retreat in the vicinity of Las Vegas.
 Mr. White was a highly respected merchant, and news of this outrage
 spreading rapidly through the settlements, it was determined that
 the savages should not go without punishment this time, at least.
 Carson's reputation as an Indian fighter was at its height, so the
 natives of the country sent for him, and declined to move until
 he came.  For some unexplained reason, after he arrived at Las Vegas,
 he was not placed in charge of the posse, that position having
 already been given to a Frenchman.  Carson, as was usual with him,
 never murmured because he was assigned to a subordinate position,
 but took his place, ready to do his part in whatever capacity.
 The party set out for the stronghold of the savages, and rode night
 and day on the trail of the murderers, hoping to surprise them and
 recapture the women and children; but so much time had been wasted
 in delays, that Carson feared they would only find the mutilated
 bodies of the poor captives.  In a few days after leaving Las Vegas,
 the retreat of the savages was discovered in the fastness of the
 mountains, where they had fortified themselves in such a manner that
 they could resist ten times the number of their pursuers.  Carson,
 as soon as he saw them, without a second's hesitation, and giving
 a characteristic yell, dashed in, expecting, of course, that the men
 would follow him; but they only stood in gaping wonderment at his
 bravery, not daring to venture after him.  He did not discover his
 dilemma until he had advanced so far alone that escape seemed
 impossible.  But here his coolness, which always served him in the
 moment of supreme danger, saved his scalp.  As the savages turned
 on him, he threw himself on the off side of his horse, Indian fashion,
 for he was as expert in a trick of that kind as the savages themselves,
 and rode back to the little command.  He had six arrows in his horse
 and a bullet through his coat!
 The Indians in those days were poorly armed, and did not long
 follow up the pursuit after Carson; for, observing the squad of
 mounted Mexicans, they retreated to the top of a rocky prominence,
 from which point they could watch every movement of the whites.
 Carson was raging at the apathy, not to say cowardice, of the men
 who had sent for him to join them, but he kept his counsel to himself;
 for he was anxious to save the captured women and children.  He talked
 to the men very earnestly, however, exhorting them not to flinch
 in the duty they had come so far to perform, and for which he had
 come at their call.  This had the desired effect; for he induced
 them to make a charge, which was gallantly performed, and in such
 a brave manner that the Indians fled, scarcely making an effort to
 defend themselves.  Five of their number were killed at the furious
 onset of the Mexicans, but unfortunately, as he anticipated, only
 the murdered corpses of the women and children were the result of
 the victory.
 President Polk appointed Carson to a second lieutenancy,[48] and his
 first official duty was conducting fifty soldiers under his command
 through the country of the Comanches, who were then at war with the
 whites.  A fight occurred at a place known as Point of Rocks,[49]
 where on arriving, Carson found a company of volunteers for the
 Mexican War, and camped near them.  About dawn the next morning,
 all the animals of the volunteers were captured by a band of Indians,
 while the herders were conducting them to the river-bottom to graze.
 The herders had no weapons, and luckily, in the confusion attending
 the bold theft, ran into Carson's camp; and as he, with his men,
 were ready with their rifles, they recaptured the oxen, but the
 horses were successfully driven off by their captors.
 Several of the savages were mortally wounded by Carson's prompt
 charge, as signs after they had cleared out proved; but the Indian
 custom of tying the wounded on their ponies precluded the chance of
 taking any scalps.  The wily Comanche, like the Arab of the desert,
 is generally successful in his sudden assaults, but Carson, who was
 never surprised, was always equal to his tactics.
 One of the two soldiers whose turn it had been to stand guard that
 morning was discovered to have been asleep when the alarm of Indians
 was given, and Carson at once administered the Indian method of
 punishment, making the man wear the dress of a squaw for that day.
 Then going on, he arrived at Santa Fe, where he turned over his
 little command.
 While there, he heard that a gang of those desperadoes so frequently
 the nuisance of a new country had formed a conspiracy to murder and
 rob two wealthy citizens whom they had volunteered to accompany over
 the Trail to the States.  The caravan was already many miles on its
 way when Carson was informed of the plot.  In less than an hour he
 had hired sixteen picked men and was on his march to intercept them.
 He took a short cut across the mountains, taking especial care to
 keep out of the way of the Indians, who were on the war-path, but
 as to whose movements he was always posted.  In two days he came
 upon a camp of United States recruits, en route to the military
 posts in New Mexico, whose commander offered to accompany him with
 twenty men.  Carson accepted the generous proposal, by forced marches
 soon overtook the caravan of traders, and at once placed one Fox,
 the leader of the gang, in irons, after which he informed the owners
 of the caravan of the escape they had made from the wretches whom
 they were treating so kindly.  At first the gentlemen were astounded
 at the disclosures made to them, but soon admitted that they had
 noticed many things which convinced them that the plot really existed,
 and but for the opportune arrival of the brave frontiersman it would
 shortly have been carried out.
 The members of the caravan who were perfectly trustworthy were then
 ordered to corral the rest of the conspirators, thirty-five in number,
 and they were driven out of camp, with the exception of Fox, the
 leader, whom Carson conveyed to Taos.  He was imprisoned for several
 months, but as a crime in intent only could be proved against him,
 and as the adobe walls of the house where he was confined were not
 secure enough to retain a man who desired to release himself, he was
 finally liberated, and cleared out.
 The traders were profuse in their thanks to Carson for his timely
 interference, but he refused every offer of remuneration.  On their
 return to Santa Fe from St. Louis, however, they presented him with
 a magnificent pair of pistols, upon whose silver mounting was an
 inscription commemorating his brave deed and the gratitude of the
 The following summer was spent in a visit to St. Louis, and early
 in the fall he returned over the Trail, arriving at the Cheyenne
 village on the Upper Arkansas without meeting with any incident
 worthy of note.  On reaching that point, he learned that the Indians
 had received a terrible affront from an officer commanding a detachment
 of United States troops, who had whipped one of their chiefs; and
 that consequently the whole tribe was enraged, and burning for revenge
 upon the whites.  Carson was the first white man to approach the
 place since the insult, and so many years had elapsed since he was
 the hunter at Bent's Fort, and so grievously had the Indians been
 offended, that his name no longer guaranteed safety to the party
 with whom he was travelling, nor even insured respect to himself,
 in the state of excitement existing in the village.  Carson, however,
 deliberately pushed himself into the presence of a war council which
 was just then in session to consider the question of attacking the
 caravan, giving orders to his men to keep close together, and guard
 against a surprise.
 The savages, supposing that he could not understand their language,
 talked without restraint, and unfolded their plans to capture his
 party and kill them all, particularly the leader.  After they had
 reached this decision, Carson coolly rose and addressed the council
 in the Cheyenne language, informing the Indians who he was, of his
 former associations with and kindness to their tribe, and that now
 he was ready to render them any assistance they might require; but
 as to their taking his scalp, he claimed the right to say a word.
 The Indians departed, and Carson went on his way; but there were
 hundreds of savages in sight on the sand hills, and, though they
 made no attack, he was well aware that he was in their power, nor
 had they abandoned the idea of capturing his train.  His coolness
 and deliberation kept his men in spirit, and yet out of the whole
 fifteen, which was the total number of his force, there were only two
 or three on whom he could place any reliance in case of an emergency.
 When the train camped for the night, the wagons were corralled, and
 the men and mules all brought inside the circle.  Grass was cut with
 sheath-knives and fed to the animals, instead of their being picketed
 out as usual, and as large a guard as possible detailed.  When the
 camp had settled down to perfect quiet, Carson crawled outside it,
 taking with him a Mexican boy, and after explaining to him the danger
 which threatened them all, told him that it was in his power to save
 the lives of the company.  Then he sent him on alone to Rayedo,
 a journey of nearly three hundred miles, to ask for an escort of
 United States troops to be sent out to meet the train, impressing
 upon the brave little Mexican the importance of putting a good many
 miles between himself and the camp before morning.  And so he started
 him, with a few rations of food, without letting the rest of his
 party know that such measures were necessary.  The boy had been in
 Carson's service for some time, and was known to him as a faithful
 and active messenger, and in a wild country like New Mexico, with
 the outdoor life and habits of its people, such a journey was not
 an unusual occurrence.
 Carson now returned to the camp, to watch all night himself, and
 at daybreak all were on the Trail again.  No Indians made their
 appearance until nearly noon, when five warriors came galloping up
 toward the train.  As soon as they came close enough to hear his
 voice, Carson ordered them to halt, and going up to them, told how
 he had sent a messenger to Rayedo the night before to inform the
 troops that their tribe were annoying him, and that if he or his men
 were molested, terrible punishment would be inflicted by those who
 would surely come to his relief.  The savages replied that they
 would look for the moccasin tracks, which they undoubtedly found,
 and the whole village passed away toward the hills after a little
 while, evidently seeking a place of safety from an expected attack
 by the troops.
 The young Mexican overtook the detachment of soldiers whose officer
 had caused all the trouble with the Indians, to whom he told his
 story; but failing to secure any sympathy, he continued his journey
 to Rayedo, and procured from the garrison of that place immediate
 assistance.  Major Grier, commanding the post, at once despatched
 a troop of his regiment, which, by forced marches, met Carson
 twenty-five miles below Bent's Fort, and though it encountered no
 Indians, the rapid movement had a good effect upon the savages,
 impressing them with the power and promptness of the government.
 Early in the spring of 1865, Carson was ordered, with three companies,
 to put a stop to the depredations of marauding bands of Cheyennes,
 Kiowas, and Comanches upon the caravans and emigrant outfits travelling
 the Santa Fe Trail.  He left Fort Union with his command and marched
 over the Dry or Cimarron route to the Arkansas River, for the purpose
 of establishing a fortified camp at Cedar Bluffs, or Cold Spring,
 to afford a refuge for the freight trains on that dangerous part of
 the Trail.  The Indians had for some time been harassing not only
 the caravans of the citizen traders, but also those of the government,
 which carried supplies to the several military posts in the Territory
 of New Mexico.  An expedition was therefore planned by Carson to
 punish them, and he soon found an opportunity to strike a blow near
 the adobe fort on the Canadian River.  His force consisted of the
 First Regiment of New Mexican Volunteer Cavalry and seventy-five
 friendly Indians, his entire command numbering fourteen commissioned
 officers and three hundred and ninety-six enlisted men.  With these
 he attacked the Kiowa village, consisting of about one hundred and
 fifty lodges.  The fight was a very severe one, and lasted from
 half-past eight in the morning until after sundown.  The savages,
 with more than ordinary intrepidity and boldness, made repeated
 stands against the fierce onslaughts of Carson's cavalrymen, but
 were at last forced to give way, and were cut down as they stubbornly
 retreated, suffering a loss of sixty killed and wounded.  In this
 battle only two privates and one noncommissioned officer were killed,
 and one non-commissioned officer and thirteen privates, four of whom
 were friendly Indians, wounded.  The command destroyed one hundred
 and fifty lodges, a large amount of dried meats, berries, buffalo-robes,
 cooking utensils, and also a buggy and spring-wagon, the property
 of Sierrito,[50] the Kiowa chief.
 In his official account of the fight, Carson states that he found
 ammunition in the village, which had been furnished, no doubt, by
 unscrupulous Mexican traders.
 He told me that he never was deceived by Indian tactics but once
 in his life.  He said that he was hunting with six others after
 buffalo, in the summer of 1835; that they had been successful, and
 came into their little bivouac one night very tired, intending to
 start for the rendezvous at Bent's Fort the next morning.  They had
 a number of dogs, among them some excellent animals.  These barked
 a good deal, and seemed restless, and the men heard wolves.
 "I saw," said Kit, "two big wolves sneaking about, one of them quite
 close to us.  Gordon, one of my men, wanted to fire his rifle at it,
 but I did not let him, for fear he would hit a dog.  I admit that
 I had a sort of an idea that those wolves might be Indians; but when
 I noticed one of them turn short around, and heard the clashing of
 his teeth as he rushed at one of the dogs, I felt easy then, and was
 certain that they were wolves sure enough.  But the red devil fooled
 me, after all, for he had two dried buffalo bones in his hands under
 the wolfskin, and he rattled them together every time he turned to
 make a dash at the dogs!  Well, by and by we all dozed off, and it
 wasn't long before I was suddenly aroused by a noise and a big blaze.
 I rushed out the first thing for our mules, and held them.  If the
 savages had been at all smart, they could have killed us in a trice,
 but they ran as soon as they fired at us.  They killed one of my men,
 putting five bullets in his body and eight in his buffalo-robe.
 The Indians were a band of Sioux on the war-trail after a band of
 Snakes, and found us by sheer accident.  They endeavoured to ambush
 us the next morning, but we got wind of their little game and killed
 three of them, including the chief."
 Carson's nature was made up of some very noble attributes.  He was
 brave, but not reckless like Custer; a veritable exponent of Christian
 altruism, and as true to his friends as the needle to the pole.
 Under the average stature, and rather delicate-looking in his physical
 proportions, he was nevertheless a quick, wiry man, with nerves of
 steel, and possessing an indomitable will.  He was full of caution,
 but showed a coolness in the moment of supreme danger that was good
 to witness.
 During a short visit at Fort Lyon, Colorado, where a favourite son
 of his was living, early in the morning of May 23, 1868, while
 mounting his horse in front of his quarters (he was still fond of
 riding), an artery in his neck was suddenly ruptured, from the effects
 of which, notwithstanding the medical assistance rendered by the
 fort surgeons, he died in a few moments.
 His remains, after reposing for some time at Fort Lyon, were taken
 to Taos, so long his home in New Mexico, where an appropriate monument
 was erected over them.  In the Plaza at Santa Fe, his name also
 appears cut on a cenotaph raised to commemorate the services of the
 soldiers of the Territory.  As an Indian fighter he was matchless.
 The identical rifle used by him for more than thirty-five years,
 and which never failed him, he bequeathed, just before his death,
 to Montezuma Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Santa Fe, of which he was a member.
 James Bridger, "Major Bridger," or "Old Jim Bridger," as we was called,
 another of the famous coterie of pioneer frontiersmen, was born in
 Washington, District of Columbia, in 1807.  When very young, a mere
 boy in fact, he joined the great trapping expedition under the
 leadership of James Ashley, and with it travelled to the far West,
 remote from the extreme limit of border civilization, where he became
 the compeer and comrade of Carson, and certainly the foremost
 mountaineer, strictly speaking, the United States has produced.
 Having left behind him all possibilities of education at such an
 early age, he was illiterate in his speech and as ignorant of the
 conventionalities of polite society as an Indian; but he possessed
 a heart overflowing with the milk of human kindness, was generous
 in the extreme, and honest and true as daylight.
 He was especially distinguished for the discovery of a defile through
 the intricate mazes of the Rocky Mountains, which bears his name,
 Bridger's Pass.  He rendered important services as guide and scout
 during the early preliminary surveys for a transcontinental railroad,
 and for a series of years was in the employ of the government,
 in the old regular army on the great plains and in the mountains,
 long before the breaking out of the Civil War.  To Bridger also
 belongs the honour of having seen, first of all white men, the Great
 Salt Lake of Utah, in the winter of 1824-25.
 After a series of adventures, hairbreadth escapes, and terrible
 encounters with the Indians, in 1856 he purchased a farm near Westport,
 Missouri; but soon left it in his hunger for the mountains, to return
 to it only when worn-out and blind, to be buried there without even
 the rudest tablet to mark the spot.
 "I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country
 churchyard, than in the tomb of the Capulets."  This quotation came
 to my mind one Sunday morning two or three years ago, as I mused
 over Bridger's neglected grave among the low hills beyond the quaint
 old town of Westport.  I thought I knew, as I stood there, that he
 whose bones were mouldering beneath the blossoming clover at my feet,
 would have wished for his last couch a more perfect solitude and
 isolation from the wearisome world's busy sound than even the
 immortal Burke.
 The grassy mound, over which there was no stone to record the name
 of its occupant, covered the remains of the last of his class, a type
 vanished forever, for the border is a thing of the past; and upon
 the gentle breeze of that delightful morning, like the droning of
 bees in a full flowered orchard, was wafted to my ears the hum of
 Kansas City's civilization, only three or four miles distant, in all
 of which I was sure there was nothing that would have been congenial
 to the old frontiersman.
 At one time early in the '60's, while the engineers of the proposed
 Union Pacific Railway were temporarily in Denver, then an insignificant
 mushroom-hamlet, they became somewhat confused as to the most
 practicable point in the range over which to run their line.  After
 debating the question, they determined, upon a suggestion from some
 of the old settlers, to send for Jim Bridger, who was then visiting
 in St. Louis.  A pass, via the overland stage, was enclosed in a
 letter to him, and he was urged to start for Denver at once, though
 nothing of the business for which his presence was required was told
 him in the text.
 In about two weeks the old man arrived, and the next morning, after
 he had rested, asked why he had been sent for from such a distance.
 The engineers then began to explain their dilemma.  The old mountaineer
 waited patiently until they had finished, when, with a look of disgust
 on his withered countenance, he demanded a large piece of paper,
 remarking at the same time,--
 "I could a told you fellers all that in St. Louis, and saved you
 the expense of bringing me out here."
 He was handed a sheet of manilla paper, used for drawing the details
 of bridge plans.  The veteran pathfinder spread it on the ground
 before him, took a dead coal from the ashes of the fire, drew a rough
 outline map, and pointing to a certain peak just visible on the
 serrated horizon, said,--
 "There's where you fellers can cross with your road, and nowhere else,
 without more diggin' an' cuttin' than you think of."
 That crude map is preserved, I have been told, in the archives of
 the great corporation, and its line crosses the main spurs of the
 Rocky Mountains, just where Bridger said it could with the least work.
 The resemblance of old John Smith, another of the coterie, to
 President Andrew Johnson was absolutely astonishing.  When that
 chief magistrate, in his "swinging around the circle," had arrived
 at St. Louis, and was riding through the streets of that city in an
 open barouche, he was pointed out to Bridger, who happened to be
 there.  But the venerable guide and scout, with supreme disgust
 depicted on his countenance at the idea of any one attempting to
 deceive him, said to his informant,--
 "H---l!  Bill, you can't fool me!  That's old John Smith."
 At one time many years ago, during Bridger's first visit to St. Louis,
 then a relatively small place, a friend accidentally came across him
 sitting on a dry-goods box in one of the narrow streets, evidently
 disgusted with his situation.  To the inquiry as to what he was doing
 there all alone, the old man replied,--
 "I've been settin' in this infernal canyon ever sence mornin', waitin'
 for some one to come along an' invite me to take a drink.  Hundreds
 of fellers has passed both ways, but none of 'em has opened his head.
 I never seen sich a onsociable crowd!"
 Bridger had a fund of most remarkable stories, which he had drawn
 upon so often that he really believed them to be true.
 General Gatlin,[51] who was graduated from West Point in the early
 '30's, and commanded Fort Gibson in the Cherokee Nation over sixty
 years ago, told me that he remembered Bridger very well; and had
 once asked the old guide whether he had ever been in the great canyon
 of the Colorado River.
 "Yes, sir," replied the mountaineer, "I have, many a time.  There's
 where the oranges and lemons bear all the time, and the only place
 I was ever at where the moon's always full!"
 He told me and also many others, at various times, that in the winter
 of 1830 it began to snow in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and
 continued for seventy days without cessation.  The whole country was
 covered to a depth of seventy feet, and all the vast herds of buffalo
 were caught in the storm and died, but their carcasses were perfectly
 "When spring came, all I had to do," declared he, "was to tumble 'em
 into Salt Lake, an' I had pickled buffalo enough for myself and the
 whole Ute Nation for years!"
 He said that on account of that terrible storm, which annihilated
 them, there have been no buffalo in that region since.
 Bridger had been the guide, interpreter, and companion of that
 distinguished Irish sportsman, Sir George Gore, whose strange tastes
 led him in 1855 to abandon life in Europe and bury himself for over
 two years among the savages in the wildest and most unfrequented
 glens of the Rocky Mountains.
 The outfit and adventures of this titled Nimrod, conducted as they
 were on the largest scale, exceeded anything of the kind ever before
 seen on this continent, and the results of his wanderings will
 compare favourably with those of Gordon Cumming in Africa.
 Some idea may be formed of the magnitude of his outfit when it is
 stated that his retinue consisted of about fifty individuals,
 including secretaries, steward, cooks, fly-makers, dog-tenders,
 servants, etc.  He was borne over the country with a train of thirty
 wagons, besides numerous saddle-horses and dogs.
 During his lengthened hunt he killed the enormous aggregate of forty
 grizzly bears and twenty-five hundred buffalo, besides numerous
 antelope and other small game.
 Bridger said of Sir George that he was a bold, dashing, and successful
 hunter, and an agreeable gentleman.  His habit was to lie in bed until
 about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning, then he took a bath,
 ate his breakfast, and set out, generally alone, for the day's hunt,
 and it was not unusual for him to remain out until ten at night,
 seldom returning to the tents without augmenting the catalogue of
 his beasts.  His dinner was then served, to which he generally
 extended an invitation to Bridger, and after the meal was over, and
 a few glasses of wine had been drunk, he was in the habit of reading
 from some book, and eliciting from Bridger his comments thereon.
 His favourite author was Shakespeare, which Bridger "reckin'd was
 too highfalutin" for him; moreover he remarked, "thet he rather
 calcerlated that thar big Dutchman, Mr. Full-stuff, was a leetle
 too fond of lager beer," and thought it would have been better for
 the old man if he had "stuck to Bourbon whiskey straight."
 Bridger seemed very much interested in the adventures of Baron
 Munchausen, but admitted after Sir George had finished reading them,
 that "he be dog'oned ef he swallered everything that thar Baron
 Munchausen said," and thought he was "a darned liar," yet he
 acknowledged that some of his own adventures among the Blackfeet
 woul be equally marvellous "if writ down in a book."
 A man whose one act had made him awe-inspiring was Belzy Dodd.
 Uncle Dick Wooton, in relating the story, says: "I don't know what
 his first name was, but Belzy was what we called him.  His head was
 as bald as a billiard ball, and he wore a wig.  One day while we
 were all at Bent's Fort, while there were a great number of Indians
 about, Belzy concluded to have a bit of fun.  He walked around, eying
 the Indians fiercely for some time, and finally, dashing in among
 them, he gave a series of war-whoops which discounted a Comanche yell,
 and pulling off his wig, threw it down at the feet of the astonished
 and terror-stricken red men.
 "The savages thought the fellow had jerked off his own scalp, and not
 one of them wanted to stay and see what would happen next.  They left
 the fort, running like so many scared jack-rabbits, and after that
 none of them could be induced to approach anywhere near Dodd."
 They called him "The-white-man-who-scalps-himself," and Uncle Dick
 said that he believed he could have travelled across the plains alone
 with perfect safety.
 Jim Baker was another noted mountaineer and hunter of the same era as
 Carson, Bridger, Wooton, Hobbs, and many others.  Next to Kit Carson,
 Baker was General Fremont's most valued scout.
 He was born in Illinois, and lived at home until he was eighteen
 years of age, when he enlisted in the service of the American Fur
 Company, went immediately to the Rocky Mountains, and remained there
 until his death.  He married a wife according to the Indian custom,
 from the Snake tribe, living with her relatives many years and
 cultivating many of their habits, ideas, and superstitions.  He firmly
 believed in the efficacy of the charms and incantations of the
 medicine men in curing diseases, divining where their enemy was to
 be found, forecasting the result of war expeditions, and other such
 ridiculous matters.  Unfortunately, too, Baker would sometimes take
 a little more whiskey than he could conveniently carry, and often
 made a fool of himself, but he was a generous, noble-hearted fellow,
 who would risk his life for a friend at any time, or divide his last
 morsel of food.
 Like mountaineers generally, Baker was liberal to a fault, and
 eminently improvident.  He made a fortune by his work, but at the
 annual rendezvous of the traders, at Bent's Fort or the old Pueblo,
 would throw away the earnings of months in a few days' jollification.
 He told General Marcy, who was a warm friend of his, that after one
 season in which he had been unusually successful in accumulating a
 large amount of valuable furs, from the sale of which he had realized
 the handsome sum of nine thousand dollars, he resolved to abandon his
 mountain life, return to the settlements, buy a farm, and live
 comfortably during the remainder of his days.  He accordingly made
 ready to leave, and was on the eve of starting when a friend invited
 him to visit a monte-bank which had been organized at the rendezvous.
 He was easily led away, determined to take a little social amusement
 with his old comrade, whom he might never see again, and followed him;
 the result of which was that the whiskey circulated freely, and the
 next morning found Baker without a cent of money; he had lost
 everything.  His entire plans were thus frustrated, and he returned
 to the mountains, hunting with the Indians until he died.
 Jim Baker's opinions of the wild Indians of the great plains and
 the mountains were very decided: "That they are the most onsartinist
 varmints in all creation, an' I reckon thar not more'n half human;
 for you never seed a human, arter you'd fed an' treated him to the
 best fixin's in your lodge, jis turn round and steal all your horses,
 or ary other thing he could lay his hands on.  No, not adzactly.
 He would feel kind o' grateful, and ask you to spread a blanket in
 his lodge ef you ever came his way.  But the Injin don't care shucks
 for you, and is ready to do you a lot of mischief as soon as he quits
 your feed.  No, Cap.," he said to Marcy when relating this, "it's not
 the right way to make 'em gifts to buy a peace; but ef I war gov'nor
 of these United States, I'll tell what I'd do.  I'd invite 'em all
 to a big feast, and make 'em think I wanted to have a talk; and as
 soon as I got 'em together, I'd light in and raise the har of half
 of 'em, and then t'other half would be mighty glad to make terms
 that would stick.  That's the way I'd make a treaty with the dog'oned
 red-bellied varmints; and as sure as you're born, Cap., that's the
 only way."
 The general, when he first met Baker, inquired of him if he had
 travelled much over the settlements of the United States before he
 came to the mountains; to which he said: "Right smart, right smart,
 Cap."  He then asked whether he had visited New York or New Orleans.
 "No, I hasn't, Cap., but I'll tell you whar I have been.  I've been
 mighty nigh all over four counties in the State of Illinois!"
 He was very fond of his squaw and children, and usually treated
 them kindly; only when he was in liquor did he at all maltreat them.
 Once he came over into New Mexico, where General Marcy was stationed
 at the time, and determined that for the time being he would cast
 aside his leggings, moccasins, and other mountain dress, and wear
 a civilized wardrobe.  Accordingly, he fitted himself out with one.
 When Marcy met him shortly after he had donned the strange clothes,
 he had undergone such an entire change that the general remarked
 he should hardly have known him.  He did not take kindly to this,
 and said: "Consarn these store butes, Cap.; they choke my feet like
 h---l."  It was the first time in twenty years that he had worn
 anything on his feet but moccasins, and they were not ready for the
 torture inflicted by breaking in a new pair of absurdly fitting
 boots.  He soon threw them away, and resumed the softer foot-gear
 of the mountains.
 Baker was a famous bear hunter, and had been at the death of many
 a grizzly.  On one occasion he was setting his traps with a comrade
 on the head waters of the Arkansas, when they suddenly met two young
 grizzly bears about the size of full-grown dogs.  Baker remarked
 to his friend that if they could "light in and kill the varmints"
 with their knives, it would be a big thing to boast of.  They both
 accordingly laid aside their rifles and "lit in," Baker attacking
 one and his comrade the other.  The bears immediately raised
 themselves on their haunches, and were ready for the encounter.
 Baker ran around, endeavouring to get in a blow from behind with his
 long knife; but the young brute he had tackled was too quick for
 him, and turned as he went around so as always to confront him
 face to face.  He knew if he came within reach of his claws, that
 although young, he could inflict a formidable wound; moreover, he was
 in fear that the howls of the cubs would bring the infuriated mother
 to their rescue, when the hunters' chances of getting away would
 be slim.  These thoughts floated hurriedly through his mind, and
 made him desirous to end the fight as soon as he could.  He made
 many vicious lunges at the bear, but the animal invariably warded
 them off with his strong fore legs like a boxer.  This kind of
 tactics, however, cost the lively beast several severe cuts on his
 shoulders, which made him the more furious.  At length he took the
 offensive, and with his month frothing with rage, bounded toward
 Baker, who caught and wrestled with him, succeeding in giving him
 a death-wound under the ribs.
 While all this was going on, his comrade had been furiously engaged
 with the other bear, and by this time had become greatly exhausted,
 with the odds decidedly against him.  He entreated Baker to come to
 his assistance at once, which he did; but much to his astonishment,
 as soon as he entered the second contest his comrade ran off, leaving
 him to fight the battle alone.  He was, however, again victorious,
 and soon had the satisfaction of seeing his two antagonists stretched
 out in front of him, but as he expressed it, "I made my mind up I'd
 never fight nary nother grizzly without a good shootin'-iron in my paws."
 He established a little store at the crossing of Green River, and
 had for some time been doing a fair business in trafficking with
 the emigrants and trading with the Indians; but shortly a Frenchman
 came to the same locality and set up a rival establishment, which,
 of course, divided the limited trade, and naturally reduced the
 income of Baker's business.
 This engendered a bitter feeling of hostility, which soon culminated
 in a cessation of all social intercourse between the two men.  About
 this time General Marcy arrived there on his way to California, and
 he describes the situation of affairs thus:--
 "I found Baker standing in his door, with a revolver loaded and
 cocked in each hand, very drunk and immensely excited.  I dismounted
 and asked him the cause of all this disturbance.  He answered: 'That
 thar yaller-bellied, toad-eatin' Parly Voo, over thar, an' me, we've
 been havin' a small chance of a scrimmage to-day.  The sneakin'
 pole-cat, I'll raise his har yet, ef he don't quit these diggins'!'
 "It seems that they had an altercation in the morning, which ended
 in a challenge, when they ran to their cabins, seized their revolvers,
 and from the doors, which were only about a hundred yards from each
 other, fired.  Then they retired to their cabins, took a drink of
 whiskey, reloaded their revolvers, and again renewed the combat.
 This strange duel had been going on for several hours when I arrived,
 but, fortunately for them, the whiskey had such an effect on their
 nerves that their aim was very unsteady, and none of the shots had
 as yet taken effect.
 "I took away Baker's revolvers, telling him how ashamed I was to
 find a man of his usually good sense making such a fool of himself.
 He gave in quietly, saying that he knew I was his friend, but did not
 think I would wish to have him take insults from a cowardly Frenchman.
 "The following morning at daylight Jim called at my tent to bid me
 good-by, and seemed very sorry for what had occurred the day before.
 He stated that this was the first time since his return from
 New Mexico that he had allowed himself to drink whiskey, and when
 the whiskey was in him he had 'nary sense.'"
 Among the many men who have distinguished themselves as mountaineers,
 traders, and Indian fighters along the line of the Old Trail, was
 one who eventually became the head chief of one of the most numerous
 and valorous tribes of North American savages--James P. Beckwourth.
 Estimates of him vary considerably.  Francis Parkman, the historian,
 who I think never saw him and writes merely from hearsay, says:
 "He is a ruffian of the worst class; bloody and treacherous, without
 honor or honesty; such, at least, is the character he bears on the
 great plains.  Yet in his case the standard rules of character fail;
 for though he will stab a man in his slumber, he will also do the
 most desperate and daring acts."
 I never saw Beckwourth, but I have heard of him from those of my
 mountaineer friends who knew him intimately; I think that he died
 long before Parkman made his tour to the Rocky Mountains.  Colonel
 Boone, the Bents, Carson, Maxwell, and others ascribed to him no
 such traits as those given by Parkman, and as to his honesty, it is
 an unquestioned fact that Beckwourth was the most honest trader
 among the Indians of all who were then engaged in the business.
 As Kit Carson and Colonel Boone were the only Indian agents whom
 I ever knew or heard of that dealt honestly with the various tribes,
 as they were always ready to acknowledge, and the withdrawal of the
 former by the government was the cause of a great war, so also
 Beckwourth was an honest Indian trader.
 He was a born leader of men, and was known from the Yellowstone to
 the Rio Grande, from Santa Fe to Independence, and in St. Louis.
 From the latter town he ran away when a boy with a party of trappers,
 and himself became one of the most successful of that hardy class.
 The woman who bore him had played in her childhood beneath the palm
 trees of Africa; his father was a native of France, and went to the
 banks of the wild Mississippi of his own free will, but probably
 also from reasons of political interest to his government.
 In person Beckwourth was of medium height and great muscular power,
 quick of apprehension, and with courage of the highest order.
 Probably no man ever met with more personal adventures involving
 danger to life, even among the mountaineers and trappers who early
 in the century faced the perils of the remote frontier.  From his
 neck he always wore suspended a perforated bullet, with a large
 oblong bead on each side of it, tied in place by a single thread
 of sinew.  This amulet he obtained while chief of the Crows,[52]
 and it was his "medicine," with which he excited the superstition
 of his warriors.
 His success as a trader among the various tribes of Indians has
 never been surpassed; for his close intimacy with them made him
 know what would best please their taste, and they bought of him
 when other traders stood idly at their stockades, waiting almost
 hopelessly for customers.
 But Beckwourth himself said: "The traffic in whiskey for Indian
 property was one of the most infernal practices ever entered into by
 man.  Let the most casual thinker sit down and figure up the profits
 on a forty-gallon cask of alcohol, and he will be thunderstruck, or
 rather whiskey-struck.  When it was to be disposed of, four gallons
 of water were added to each gallon of alcohol.  In two hundred gallons
 there are sixteen hundred pints, for each one of which the trader
 got a buffalo-robe worth five dollars.  The Indian women toiled many
 long weeks to dress those sixteen hundred robes.  The white traders
 got them for worse than nothing; for the poor Indian mother hid
 herself and her children until the effect of the poison passed away
 from the husband and father, who loved them when he had no whiskey,
 and abused and killed them when he had.  Six thousand dollars for
 sixty gallons of alcohol!  Is it a wonder with such profits that
 men got rich who were engaged in the fur trade?  Or was it a miracle
 that the buffalo were gradually exterminated?--killed with so little
 remorse that the hides, among the Indians themselves, were known
 by the appellation of 'A pint of whiskey.'"
 Beckwourth claims to have established the Pueblo where the beautiful
 city of Pueblo, Colorado, is now situated.  He says: "On the 1st
 of October, 1842, on the Upper Arkansas, I erected a trading-post
 and opened a successful business.  In a very short time I was joined
 by from fifteen to twenty free trappers, with their families.
 We all united our labour and constructed an adobe fort sixty yards
 square.  By the following spring it had grown into quite a little
 settlement, and we gave it the name of Pueblo."