Print
Category: The Old Santa Fe Trail: The Story Of A Great Highway
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Chapter 13 INDIAN CUSTOMS AND LEGENDS.
 
 
 
 Thirty-five miles before arriving at Bent's Fort, at which point
 the Old Trail crossed the Arkansas, the valley widens and the prairie
 falls toward the river in gentle undulations.  There for many years
 the three friendly tribes of plains Indians--Cheyennes, Arapahoes,
 and Kiowas--established their winter villages, in order to avail
 themselves of the supply of wood, to trade with the whites, and to
 feed their herds of ponies on the small limbs and bark of the
 cottonwood trees growing along the margin of the stream for four
 or five miles.  It was called Big Timbers, and was one of the most
 eligible places to camp on the whole route after leaving Council Grove.
 The grass, particularly on the south side of the river, was excellent;
 there was an endless supply of fuel, and cool water without stint.
 
 In the severe winters that sometimes were fruitful of blinding
 blizzards, sweeping from the north in an intensity of fury that
 was almost inconceivable, the buffalo too congregated there for
 shelter, and to browse on the twigs of the great trees.
 
 The once famous grove, though denuded of much of its timber, may
 still be seen from the car windows as the trains hurry mountainward.
 
 Garrard, in his _Taos Trail_, presents an interesting and amusing
 account of a visit to the Cheyenne village with old John Smith,
 in 1847, when the Santa Fe trade was at its height, and that with
 the various tribes of savages in its golden days.
 
           Toward the middle of the day, the village was in a great
           bustle.  Every squaw, child, and man had their faces
           blackened--a manifestation of joy.[44]
 
           Pell-mell they went--men, squaws, and dogs--into the icy
           river.  Some hastily jerked off their leggings, and held
           moccasins and dresses high out of the water.  Others, too
           impatient, dashed the stream from beneath their impetuous
           feet, scarce taking time to draw more closely the always
           worn robe.  Wondering what caused all this commotion, and
           looking over the river, whither the yelling, half-frantic
           savages were so speedily hurrying, we saw a band of Indians
           advancing toward us.  As the foremost braves reined their
           champing barbs on the river-bank, mingled whoops of triumph
           and delight and the repeated discharge of guns filled
           the air.  In the hands of three were slender willow wands,
           from the smaller points of which dangled as many scalps--
           the single tuft of hair on each pronouncing them Pawnees.[45]
 
           These were raised aloft, amid unrestrained bursts of joy
           from the thrice-happy, blood-thirsty throng.  Children ran
           to meet their fathers, sisters their brothers, girls their
           lovers, returning from the scene of victorious strife;
           decrepit matrons welcomed manly sons; and aged chiefs their
           boys and braves.  It was a scene of affection, and a proud
           day in the Cheyenne annals of prowess.  That small but
           gallant band were relieved of their shields and lances by
           tender-hearted squaws, and accompanied to their respective
           homes, to repose by the lodge-fire, consume choice meat,
           and to be the heroes of the family circle.
 
           The drum at night sent forth its monotony of hollow sound,
           and my Mexican Pedro and I, directed by the booming,
           entered a lodge, vacated for the purpose, full of young men
           and squaws, following one another in a continuous circle,
           keeping the left knee stiff and bending the right with a
           half-forward, half-backward step, as if they wanted to go on
           and could not, accompanying it, every time the right foot
           was raised, with an energetic, broken song, which, dying
           away, was again and again sounded--"hay-a, hay-a, hay-a,"
           they went, laying the emphasis on the first syllable.
           A drum, similar to, though larger than a tambourine, covered
           with parflêche,[46] was beaten upon with a stick, producing
           with the voices a sound not altogether disagreeable.
 
           Throughout the entire night and succeeding day the voices
           of the singers and heavy notes of the drum reached us,
           and at night again the same dull sound lulled me to sleep.
           Before daylight our lodge was filled with careless dancers,
           and the drum and voices, so unpleasing to our wearied ears,
           were giving us the full benefit of their compass.  Smith,
           whose policy it was not to be offended, bore the infliction
           as best be could, and I looked on much amused.  The lodge
           was so full that they stood without dancing, in a circle
           round the fire, and with a swaying motion of the body
           kept time to their music.
 
           During the day the young men, except the dancers, piled up
           dry logs in a level open space near, for a grand demonstration.
           At night, when it was fired, I folded my blanket over my
           shoulders, comme les sauvages, and went out.  The faces
           of many girls were brilliant with vermilion; others were
           blacked, their robes, leggings, and skin dresses glittering
           with beads and quill-work.  Rings and bracelets of shining
           brass encircled their taper arms and fingers, and shells
           dangled from their ears.  Indeed, all the finery collectable
           was piled on in barbarous profusion, though a few, in good
           taste through poverty, wore a single band and but few rings,
           with jetty hair parted in the middle, from the forehead
           to the neck, terminating in two handsome braids.
 
           The young men who can afford the expense trade for dollars
           and silver coin of less denomination--coin as a currency
           is not known among them--which they flatten thin, and fasten
           to a braid of buffalo hair, attached to the crown lock,
           which hangs behind, outside of the robe, and adds much to
           the handsome appearance of the wearer.
 
           The girls, numbering two hundred, fell into line together,
           and the men, of whom there were two hundred and fifty,
           joining, a circle was formed, which travelled around with
           the same shuffling step already described.  The drummers
           and other musicians--twenty or twenty-five of them--marched
           in a contrary direction to and from and around the fire,
           inside the large ring; for at the distance kept by the
           outsiders the area was one hundred and fifty feet in diameter.
           The Apollonian emulators chanted the great deeds performed
           by the Cheyenne warriors.  As they ended, the dying strain
           was caught up by the hundreds of the outside circle, who,
           in fast-swelling, loud tones, poured out the burden of
           their song.  At this juncture the march was quickened,
           the scalps of the slain were borne aloft and shaken with
           wild delight, and shrill war-notes, rising above the
           furious din, accelerated the pulsation and strung high
           the nerves.  Time-worn shields, careering in mad holders'
           hands, clashed; and keen lances, once reeking in Pawnee
           blood, clanged.  Braves seized one another with an iron
           grip, in the heat of excitement, or chimed more tenderly
           in the chant, enveloped in the same robe with some maiden
           as they approvingly stepped through one of their own
           original polkas.
 
           Thirty of the chiefs and principal men were ranged by the
           pile of blazing logs.  By their invitation, I sat down with
           them and smoked death and its concomitant train of evils to
           those audacious tribes who doubt the courage or supremacy
           of the brave, the great and powerful, Cheyenne nation.
 
 It is Indian etiquette that the first lodge a stranger enters on
 visiting a village is his home as long as he remains the guest of
 the tribe.  It is all the same whether he be invited or not.
 Upon going in, it is customary to place all your traps in the back
 part, which is the most honoured spot.  The proprietor always occupies
 that part of his home, but invariably gives it up to a guest.
 With the Cheyennes, the white man, when the tribe was at peace with
 him, was ever welcome, as in the early days of the border he generally
 had a supply of coffee, of which the savage is particularly fond--
 Mok-ta-bo-mah-pe, as they call it.  Their salutation to the stranger
 coming into the presence of the owner of a lodge is "Hook-ah-hay!
 Num-whit,"--"How do you do?  Stay with us."  Water is then handed by
 a squaw, as it is supposed a traveller is thirsty after riding;
 then meat, for he must be hungry, too.  A pipe is offered, and
 conversation follows.
 
 The lodge of the Cheyennes is formed of seventeen poles, about three
 inches thick at the end which rests on the ground, slender in shape,
 tapering symmetrically, and eighteen feet or more in length.  They are
 tied together at the small ends with buffalo-hide, then raised until
 the frame resembles a cone, over which buffalo-skins are placed,
 very skilfully fitted and made soft by having been dubbed by the
 women--that is, scraped to the requisite thinness, and made supple
 by rubbing with the brains of the animal that wore it.  They are
 sewed together with sinews of the buffalo, generally of the long
 and powerful muscle that holds up the ponderous head of the shaggy
 beast, a narrow strip running towards the bump.  In summer the
 lower edges of the skin are rolled up, and the wind blowing through,
 it is a cool, shady retreat.  In winter everything is closed, and I
 know of no more comfortable place than a well-made Indian lodge.
 The army tent known as the Sibley is modelled after it, and is the
 best winter shelter for troops in the field that can be made.
 Many times while the military post where I had been ordered was
 in process of building, I have chosen the Sibley tent in preference
 to any other domicile.
 
 When a village is to be moved, it is an interesting sight.  The young
 and unfledged boys drive up the herd of ponies, and then the squaws
 catch them.  The women, too, take down the lodges, and, tying the
 poles in two bundles, fasten them on each side of an animal, the
 long ends dragging on the ground.  Just behind the pony or mule,
 as the case may be, a basket is placed and held there by buffalo-hide
 thongs, and into these novel carriages the little children are put,
 besides such traps as are not easily packed on the animal's back.
 
 The women do all the work both in camp and when moving.  They are
 doomed to a hopeless bondage of slavery, the fate of their sex in
 every savage race; but they accept their condition stoically, and
 there is as much affection among them for their husbands and children
 as I have ever witnessed among the white race.  Here are two instances
 of their devotion, both of which came under my personal observation,
 and I could give hundreds of others.
 
 Late in the fall of 1858, I was one of a party on the trail of a band
 of Indians who had been committing some horrible murders in a
 mining-camp in the northern portion of Washington Territory.  On the
 fourth day out, just about dusk, we struck their moccasin tracks,
 which we followed all night, and surprised their camp in the gray
 light of the early morning.  In less than ten minutes the fight
 was over, and besides the killed we captured six prisoners.  Then as
 the rising sun commenced to gild the peaks of the lofty range on
 the west, having granted our captives half an hour to take leave
 of their families, the ankles of each were bound; they were made
 to kneel on the prairie, a squad of soldiers, with loaded rifles,
 were drawn up eight paces in front of them, and at the instant
 the signal--a white handkerchief--was dropped the savages tumbled
 over on the sod a heap of corpses.  The parting between the condemned
 men and their young wives and children, I shall never forget.
 It was the most perfect exhibition of marital and filial love that
 I have ever witnessed.  Such harsh measures may seem cruel and
 heartless in the light of to-day, but there was none other than
 martial law then in the wilderness of the Northern Pacific coast,
 and the execution was a stern necessity.
 
 The other instance was ten years later.  During the Indian campaign
 in the winter of 1868-69 I was riding with a party of officers and
 enlisted men, south of the Arkansas, about fourty miles from Fort Dodge.
 We were watching some cavalrymen unearth three or four dead warriors
 who had been killed by two scouts in a fierce unequal fight a few
 weeks before, and as we rode into a small ravine among the sand hills,
 we suddenly came upon a rudely constructed Cheyenne lodge.  Entering,
 we discovered on a rough platform, fashioned of green poles, a dead
 warrior in full war-dress; his shield of buffalo-hide, pipe ornamented
 with eagles' feathers, and medicine bag, were lying on the ground
 beside him.  At his head, on her knees, with hands clasped in the
 attitude of prayer, was a squaw frozen to death.  Which had first
 succumbed, the wounded chief, or the devoted wife in the awful cold
 of that winter prairie, will never be known, but it proved her love
 for the man who had perhaps beaten her a hundred times.  Such tender
 and sympathetic affection is characteristic of the sex everywhere,
 no less with the poor savage than in the dominant white race.
 
 To return to our description of the average Indian village: Each lodge
 at the grand encampment of Big Timbers in the era of traffic with
 the nomads of the great plains, owned its separate herd of ponies
 and mules.  In the exodus to some other favoured spot, two dozen or
 more of these individual herds travelled close to each other but
 never mixed, each drove devotedly following its bell-mare, as in
 a pack-train.  This useful animal is generally the most worthless
 and wicked beast in the entire outfit.
 
 The animals with the lodge-pole carriages go as they please,
 no special care being taken to guide them, but they too instinctively
 keep within sound of the leader.  I will again quote Garrard for
 an accurate description of the moving camp when he was with the
 Cheyennes in 1847:--
 
           The young squaws take much care of their dress and horse
           equipments; they dash furiously past on wild steeds,
           astrideof the high-pommelled saddles.  A fancifully
           coloured cover, worked with beads or porcupine quills,
           making a flashy, striking appearance, extended from withers
           to rump of the horse, while the riders evinced an admirable
           daring, worthy of Amazons.  Their dresses were made of
           buckskin, high at the neck, with short sleeves, or rather
           none at all, fitting loosely, and reaching obliquely to
           theknee, giving a Diana look to the costume; the edges
           scalloped, worked with beads, and fringed.  From the knee
           downward the limb was encased in a tightly fitting legging,
           terminating in a neat moccasin--both handsomely wrought
           with beads.  On the arms were bracelets of brass, which
           glittered and reflected in the radiant morning sun, adding
           much to their attractions. In their pierced ears, shells
           from the Pacific shore were pendent; and to complete the
           picture of savage taste and profusion, their fine
           complexions were eclipsed by a coat of flaming vermilion.
 
           Many of the largest dogs were packed with a small quantity
           of meat, or something not easily injured.  They looked
           queerly, trotting industriously under their burdens; and,
           judging from a small stock of canine physiological
           information, not a little of the wolf was in their
           composition.
 
           We crossed the river on our way to the new camp.  The alarm
           manifested by the children in the lodge-pole drays, as they
           dipped in the water, was amusing.  The little fellows,
           holding their breath, not daring to cry, looked imploringly
           at their inexorable mothers, and were encouraged by words
           of approbation from their stern fathers.
 
           After a ride of two hours we stopped, and the chiefs,
           fastening their horses, collected in circles to smoke their
           pipe and talk, letting their squaws unpack the animals,
           pitch the lodges, build the fires, and arrange the robes.
           When all was ready, these lords of creation dispersed to
           their several homes, to wait until their patient and
           enduring spouses prepared some food.  I was provoked, nay,
           angry, to see the lazy, overgrown men do nothing to help
           their wives; and when the young women pulled off their
           bracelets and finery to chop wood, the cup of my wrath was
           full to overflowing, and, in a fit of honest indignation,
           I pronounced them ungallant and savage in the true sense
           of the word.
 
 The treatment of Indian children, particularly boys, is something
 startling to the gentle sentiments of refined white mothers.
 The girls receive hardly any attention from their fathers.  Implicit
 obedience is the watchword of the lodge with them, and they are
 constantly taught to appreciate their inferiority of sex.  The daughter
 is a mere slave; unnoticed and neglected--a mere hewer of wood and
 drawer of water.  With a son, it is entirely different; the father
 from his birth dotes on him and manifests his affection in the most
 demonstrative manner.
 
 Garrard tells of two instances that came under his observation while
 staying at the chief's lodge, and at John Smith's, in the Cheyenne
 village, of the discipline to which the boys are subjected.
 
           In Vi-po-nah's lodge was his grandson, a boy six or seven
           months old.  Every morning his mother washed him in cold
           water, and set him out in the air to make him hardy;
           he would come in, perfectly nude, from his airing, about
           half-frozen.  How he would laugh and brighten up, as he felt
           the warmth of the fire!
 
           Smith's son Jack took a crying fit one cold night, much to
           the annoyance of four or five chiefs, who had come to our
           lodge to talk and smoke.  In vain did the mother shake and
           scold him with the severest Cheyenne words, until Smith,
           provoked beyond endurance, took the squalling youngster in
           his hands; he shu-ed and shouted and swore, but Jack had
           gone too far to be easily pacified.  He then sent for a
           bucket of water from the river and poured cupful after
           cupful on Jack, who stamped and screamed and bit in his
           tiny rage.  Notwithstanding, the icy stream slowly descended
           until the bucket was emptied, another was sent for, and
           again and again the cup was replenished and emptied on the
           blubbering youth.  At last, exhausted with exertion and
           completely cooled down, he received the remaining water
           in silence, and, with a few words of admonition, was
           delivered over to his mother, in whose arms he stifled his
           sobs, until his heartbreaking grief and cares were drowned
           in sleep.  What a devilish mixture Indian and American
           blood is!
 
 The Indians never chastise a boy, as they think his spirit would be
 broken and cowed down; instead of a warrior he would be a squaw
 --a harsh epithet indicative of cowardice--and they resort to any method
 but infliction of blows to subdue a refractory scion.
 
 Before most of the lodges is a tripod of three sticks, about seven
 feet in length and an inch in diameter, fastened at the top, and the
 lower ends brought out, so that it stands alone.  On this is hung
 the shield and a small square bag of parflêche, containing pipes,
 with an accompanying pendent roll of stems, carefully wrapped in
 blue or red cloth, and decorated with beads and porcupine quills.
 This collection is held in great veneration, for the pipe is their
 only religion.  Through its agency they invoke the Great Spirit;
 through it they render homage to the winds, to the earth, and to
 the sky.
 
 Every one has his peculiar notion on this subject; and, in passing
 the pipe, one must have it presented stem downward, another the
 reverse; some with the bowl resting on the ground; and as this is
 a matter of great solemnity, their several fancies are respected.
 Sometimes I required them to hand it to me, when smoking, in imitation
 of their custom; on this, a faint smile, half mingled with respect
 and pity for my folly in tampering with their sacred ceremony, would
 appear on their faces, and with a slow negative shake of the head,
 they would ejaculate, "I-sto-met-mah-son-ne-wah-hein"--"Pshaw!
 that's foolish; don't do so."
 
 Religion the Cheyennes have none, if, indeed, we except the respect
 paid to the pipe; nor do we see any sign or vestige of spiritual
 worship; except one remarkable thing--in offering the pipe, before
 every fresh filling, to the sky, the earth, and the winds, the motion
 made in so doing describes the form of a cross; and, in blowing the
 first four whiffs, the smoke is invariably sent in the same four
 directions.  It is undoubtedly void of meaning in reference to
 Christian worship, yet it is a superstition, founded on ancient
 tradition.  This tribe once lived near the head waters of the
 Mississippi; and, as the early Jesuit missionaries were energetic
 zealots, in the diffusion of their religious sentiments, probably to
 make their faith more acceptable to the Indians, the Roman Catholic
 rites were blended with the homage shown to the pipe, which custom
 of offering, in the form of a cross, is still retained by them;
 but as every custom is handed down by tradition merely, the true
 source has been forgotten.
 
 In every tribe in whose country I have been stationed, which comprises
 nearly all the continent excepting the extreme southwestern portion,
 his pipe is the Indian's constant companion through life.  It is his
 messenger of peace; he pledges his friends through its stem and its
 bowl, and when he is dead, it has a place in his solitary grave,
 with his war-club and arrows--companions on his journey to his
 long-fancied beautiful hunting-grounds.  The pipe of peace is a sacred
 thing; so held by all Indian nations, and kept in possession of chiefs,
 to be smoked only at times of peacemaking.  When the terms of treaty
 have been agreed upon, this sacred emblem, the stem of which is
 ornamented with eagle's quills, is brought forward, and the solemn
 pledge to keep the peace is passed through the sacred stem by each
 chief and warrior drawing the smoke once through it.  After the
 ceremony is over, the warriors of the two tribes unite in the dance,
 with the pipe of peace held in the left hand of the chief and in his
 other a rattle.
 
 Thousands of years ago, the primitive savage of the American continent
 carried masses of pipe-stone from the sacred quarry in Minnesota
 across the vast wilderness of plains, to trade with the people of
 the far Southwest, over the same route that long afterward became
 the Santa Fe Trail; therefore, it will be consistent with the character
 of this work to relate the history of the quarry from which all the
 tribes procured their material for fashioning their pipes, and the
 curious legends connected with it.  I have met with the red sandstone
 pipes on the remotest portions of the Pacific coast, and east, west,
 north and south, in every tribe that it has been my fortune to know.
 
 The word "Dakotah" means allied or confederated, and is the family
 name now comprising some thirty bands, numbering about thirty thousand
 Indians.  They are generally designated Sioux, but that title is
 seldom willingly acknowledged by them.  It was first given to them
 by the French, though its original interpretation is by no means clear.
 The accepted theory, because it is the most plausible, is that it is
 a corruption or rather an abbreviation of "Nadouessioux," a Chippewa
 word for enemies.
 
 Many of the Sioux are semi-civilized; some are "blanket-Indians,"
 so called, but there are no longer any murderous or predatory bands,
 and all save a few stragglers are on the reservations.  From 1812 to
 1876, more than half a century, they were the scourge of the West and
 the Northwest, but another outbreak is highly improbable.  They once
 occupied the vast region included between the Mississippi and the
 Rocky Mountains, and were always migratory in their methods of living.
 Over fifty years ago, when the whites first became acquainted with
 them, they were divided into nearly fifty bands of families, each with
 its separate chief, but all acknowledging a superior chief to whom
 they were subordinate.  They were at that time the happiest and most
 wealthy tribe on the continent, regarded from an Indian standpoint;
 but then the great plains were stocked with buffalo and wild horses,
 and that fact alone warrants the assertion of contentment and riches.
 No finer-looking tribe existed; they could then muster more than
 ten thousand warriors, every one of whom would measure six feet, and
 all their movements were graceful and elastic.
 
 According to their legends, they came from the Pacific and encountered
 the Algonquins about the head waters of the Mississippi, where they
 were held in check, a portion of them, however, pushing on through
 their enemies and securing a foothold on the shores of Lake Michigan.
 This bold band was called by the Chippewas Winnebagook (men-from-the-
 salt-water).  In their original habitat on the great northern plains
 was located the celebrated "red pipe-stone quarry," a relatively
 limited area, owned by all tribes, but occupied permanently by none;
 a purely neutral ground--so designated by the Great Spirit--where no
 war could possibly occur, and where mortal enemies might meet to
 procure the material for their pipes, but the hatchet was invariably
 buried during that time on the consecrated spot.
 
 The quarry has long since passed out of the control and jurisdiction
 of the Indians and is not included in any of their reservations,
 though near the Sisseton agency.  It is located on the summit of
 the high divide between the Missouri and St. Peter's rivers in
 Minnesota, at a point not far from where the ninety-seventh meridian
 of longitude (from Greenwich) intersects the forty-fifth parallel
 of latitude.  The divide was named by the French Coteau des Prairies,
 and the quarry is near its southern extremity.  Not a tree or bush
 could be seen from the majestic mound when I last was there, some
 twenty years ago--nothing but the apparently interminable plains,
 until they were lost in the deep blue of the horizon.
 
 The luxury of smoking appears to have been known to all the tribes
 on the continent in their primitive state, and they indulge in the
 habit to excess; any one familiar with their life can assert that
 the American savage smokes half of his time.  Where so much attention
 is given to a mere pleasure, it naturally follows that he would devote
 his leisure and ingenuity to the construction of his pipe.  The bowls
 of these were, from time immemorial, made of the peculiar red stone
 from the famous quarry referred to, which, until only a little over
 fifty years ago, was never visited by a white man, its sanctity
 forbidding any such sacrilege.
 
 That the spot should have been visited for untold centuries by all
 the Indian nations, who hid their weapons as they approached it,
 under fear of the vengeance of the Great Spirit, will not seem strange
 when the religion of the race is understood.  One of the principal
 features of the quarry is a perpendicular wall of granite about
 thirty feet high, facing the west, and nearly two miles long.  At the
 base of the wall there is a level prairie, running parallel to it,
 half a mile wide.  Under this strip of land, after digging through
 several slaty layers of rock, the red sandstone is found.  Old graves,
 fortifications, and excavations abound, all confirmatory of the
 traditions clustering around the weird place.
 
 Within a few rods of the base of the wall is a group of immense gneiss
 boulders, five in number, weighing probably many hundred tons each,
 and under these are two holes in which two imaginary old women reside
 --the guardian spirits of the quarry--who were always consulted before
 any pipe-stone could be dug up.  The veneration for this group of
 boulders was something wonderful; not a spear of grass was broken or
 bent by his feet within sixty or seventy paces from them, where the
 trembling Indian halted, and throwing gifts to them in humble
 supplication, solicited permission to dig and take away the red stone
 for his pipes.
 
 Near this spot, too, on a high mound, was the "Thunder's nest," where
 a very small bird sat upon her eggs during fair weather.  When the
 skies were rent with thunder at the approach of a storm, she was
 hatching her brood, which caused the terrible commotion in the heavens.
 The bird was eternal.  The "medicine men" claimed that they had often
 seen her, and she was about as large as a little finger.  Her mate
 was a serpent whose fiery tongue destroyed the young ones as soon as
 they were born, and the awful noise accompanying the act darted
 through the clouds.
 
 On the wall of rocks at the quarry are thousands of inscriptions and
 paintings, the totems and arms of various tribes who have visited
 there; but no idea can be formed of their antiquity.
 
 Of the various traditions of the many tribes, I here present a few.
 The Great Spirit at a remote period called all the Indian nations
 together at this place, and, standing on the brink of the precipice
 of red-stone rock, broke from its walls a piece and fashioned a pipe
 by simply turning it in his hands.  He then smoked over them to the
 north, the south, the east, and the west, and told them the stone
 was red, that it was their flesh, that they must use it for their
 pipes of peace, that it belonged to all alike, and that the war-club
 and scalping-knife must never be raised on its ground.  At the last
 whiff of his pipe his head went into a great cloud, and the whole
 surface of the ledge for miles was melted and glazed; two great ovens
 were opened beneath, and two women--the guardian spirits of the place--
 entered them in a blaze of fire, and they are heard there yet
 answering to the conjurations of the medicine men, who consult them
 when they visit the sacred place.
 
 The legend of the Knis-te-neu's tribe (Crees), a very small band in
 the British possessions, in relation to the quarry is this: In the
 time of a great freshet that occurred years ago and destroyed all the
 nations of the earth, every tribe of Indians assembled on the top
 of the Coteau des Prairies to get out of the way of the rushing and
 seething waters.  When they had arrived there from all parts of the
 world, the water continued to rise until it covered them completely,
 forming one solid mass of drowned Indians, and their flesh was
 converted by the Great Spirit into red pipe-stone; therefore, it was
 always considered neutral ground, belonging to all tribes alike, and
 all were to make their pipes out of it and smoke together.  While they
 were drowning together, a young woman, Kwaptan, a virgin, caught hold
 of the foot of a very large bird that was flying over at the time,
 and was carried to the top of a hill that was not far away and above
 the water.  There she had twins, their father being the war-eagle
 that had carried her off, and her children have since peopled the
 earth.  The pipe-stone, which is the flesh of their ancestors,
 is smoked by them as the symbol of peace, and the eagle quills
 decorate the heads of their warriors.
 
 Severed about seven or eight feet from the main wall of the quarry
 by some convulsion of nature ages ago, there is an immense column
 just equal in height to the wall, seven feet in diameter and
 beautifully polished on its top and sides.  It is called The Medicine,
 or Leaping Rock, and considerable nerve is required to jump on it from
 the main ledge and back again.  Many an Indian's heart, in the past,
 has sighed for the honour of the feat without daring to attempt it.
 A few, according to the records of the tribes, have tried it with
 success, and left their arrows standing up in its crevice; others
 have made the leap and reached its slippery surface only to slide off,
 and suffer instant death on the craggy rocks in the awful chasm below.
 Every young man of the many tribes was ambitious to perform the feat,
 and those who had successfully accomplished it were permitted to
 boast of it all their lives. 


 

TRAPPERS.
 
 
 
 The initial opening of the trade with New Mexico from the Missouri
 River, as has been related, was not direct to Santa Fe.  The limited
 number of pack-trains at first passed to the north of the Raton Range,
 and travelled to the Spanish settlements in the valley of Taos.
 
 On this original Trail, where now is situated the beautiful city
 of Pueblo, the second place of importance in Colorado, there was a
 little Indian trading-post called "the Pueblo," from which the present
 thriving place derives its name.  The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe
 Railroad practically follows the same route that the traders did to
 reach Pueblo, as it also does that which the freight caravans later
 followed from the Missouri River direct to Santa Fe.
 
 The old Pueblo fort, as nearly as can be determined now, was built
 as early as 1840, or not later than 1842, and, as one authority
 asserts, by George Simpson and his associates, Barclay and Doyle.
 Beckwourth claims to have been the original projector of the fort,
 and to have given the general plan and its name, in which I am
 inclined to believe that he is correct; perhaps Barclay, Doyle, and
 Simpson were connected with him, as he states that there were other
 trappers, though he mentions no names.  It was a square fort of adobe,
 with circular bastions at the corners, no part of the walls being
 more than eight feet high.  Around the inside of the plaza, or corral,
 were half a dozen small rooms inhabited by as many Indian traders and
 mountain-men.
 
 One of the earlier Indian agents, Mr. Fitzpatrick, in writing from
 Bent's Fort in 1847, thus describes the old Pueblo:--
 
           About seventy-five miles above this place, and immediately
           on the Arkansas River, there is a small settlement, chiefly
           composed of old trappers and hunters; the male part of it
           are mostly Americans (Missourians), French Canadians, and
           Mexicans.  It numbers about one hundred and fifty, and of
           this number about sixty men have wives, and some have two.
           These wives are of various Indian tribes, as follows; viz.
           Blackfeet, Assiniboines, Sioux, Arapahoes, Cheyennes,
           Snakes, and Comanches.  The American women are Mormons,
           a party of Mormons having wintered there, and then departed
           for California.
 
 The old trappers and hunters of the Pueblo fort lived entirely upon
 game, and a greater part of the year without bread.  As soon as their
 supply of meat was exhausted, they started to the mountains with two
 or three pack-animals, and brought back in two or three days loads
 of venison and buffalo.
 
 The Arkansas at the Pueblo is a clear, rapid river about a hundred
 yards wide.  The bottom, which is enclosed on each side by high bluffs,
 is about a quarter of a mile across.  In the early days of which I
 write, the margin of the stream was heavily timbered with cottonwood,
 and the tourist to-day may see the remnant of the primitive great
 woods, in the huge isolated trees scattered around the bottom in the
 vicinity of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad station of
 the charming mountain city.
 
 On each side vast rolling prairies stretch away for hundreds of miles,
 gradually ascending on the side towards the mountains, where the
 highlands are sparsely covered with pinyon and cedar.  The lofty banks
 through which the Arkansas occasionally passes are of shale and
 sandstone, rising precipitously from the water.  Ascending the river
 the country is wild and broken, until it enters the mountain region,
 where the scenery is incomparably grand and imposing.  The surrounding
 prairies are naturally arid and sterile, producing but little
 vegetation, and the primitive grass, though of good quality, is thin
 and scarce.  Now, however, under a competent system of irrigation,
 the whole aspect of the landscape is changed from what it was thirty
 years ago, and it has all the luxuriance of a garden.
 
 The whole country, it is claimed, was once possessed by the Shos-shones,
 or Snake Indians, of whom the Comanches of the Southern plains are
 a branch; and, although many hundred miles divide their hunting-grounds,
 they were once, if not the same people, tribes or bands of that great
 and powerful nation.  They retain a language in common, and there is
 also a striking analogy in many of their religious rites and ceremonies,
 in their folk-lore, and in some of their everyday customs.  These
 facts prove, at least, that there was at one time a very close
 alliance which bound the two tribes together.  Half a century ago they
 were, in point of numbers, the two most powerful nations in all the
 numerous aggregations of Indians in the West; the Comanches ruling
 almost supreme on the Eastern plains, while the Shos-shones were the
 dominant tribe in the country beyond the Rocky Mountains, and in the
 mountains themselves.  Once, many years ago, before the problem of the
 relative strength of the various tribes was as well solved as now,
 the Shos-shones were supposed to be the most powerful, and numerically
 the most populous, tribe of Indians on the North American continent.
 
 In the immediate vicinity of the old Pueblo fort at the time of its
 greatest business prosperity, game was scarce; the buffalo had for
 some years deserted the neighbouring prairies, but they were always
 to be found in the mountain-valleys, particularly in one known as
 "Bayou Salado," which forty-five years ago abounded in elk, bear,
 deer, and antelope.
 
 The fort was situated a few hundred yards above the mouth of the
 "Fontaine qui Bouille" River,[47] so called from two springs of
 mineral water near its head, under Pike's Peak, about sixty miles
 above its mouth.
 
 As is the case with all the savage races of the world, the American
 Indians possess hereditary legends, accounting for all the phenomena
 of nature, or any occurrence which is beyond their comprehension.
 The Shos-shones had the following story to account for the presence of
 these wonderful springs in the midst of their favourite hunting-ground.
 The two fountains, one pouring forth the sweetest water imaginable,
 the other a stream as bitter as gall, are intimately connected with
 the cause of the separation of the two tribes.  Their legend thus runs:
 Many hundreds of winters ago, when the cottonwoods on the big river
 were no higher than arrows, and the prairies were crowded with game,
 the red men who hunted the deer in the forests and the buffalo on the
 plains all spoke the same language, and the pipe of peace breathed its
 soothing cloud whenever two parties of hunters met on the boundless
 prairie.
 
 It happened one day that two hunters of different nations met on the
 bank of a small rivulet, to which both had resorted to quench their
 thirst.  A small stream of water, rising from a spring on a rock
 within a few feet of the bank, trickled over it and fell splashing
 into the river.  One hunter sought the spring itself; the other,
 tired by his exertions in the chase, threw himself at once to the
 ground, and plunged his face into the running stream.
 
 The latter had been unsuccessful in the hunt, and perhaps his bad
 fortune, and the sight of the fat deer which the other threw from his
 back before he drank at the crystal spring, caused a feeling of
 jealousy and ill-humour to take possession of his mind.  The other,
 on the contrary, before he satisfied his thirst, raised in the hollow
 of his hand a portion of the water, and, lifting it toward the sun,
 reversed his hand, and allowed it to fall upon the ground, as a
 libation to the Great Spirit, who had vouch-safed him a successful
 hunt and the blessing of the refreshing water with which he was about
 to quench his thirst.
 
 This reminder that he had neglected the usual offering only increased
 the feeling of envy and annoyance which filled the unsuccessful
 hunter's heart.  The Evil Spirit at that moment entering his body,
 his temper fairly flew away, and he sought some pretence to provoke
 a quarrel with the other Indian.
 
 "Why does a stranger," he asked, rising from the stream, "drink at
 the spring-head, when one to whom the fountain belongs contents
 himself with the water that runs from it?"
 
 "The Great Spirit places the cool water at the spring," answered the
 other hunter, "that his children may drink it pure and undefiled.
 The running water is for the beasts which scour the plains.  Ausaqua
 is a chief of the Shos-shones; he drinks at the head water."
 
 "The Shos-shones is but a tribe of the Comanches," returned the other:
 "Wacomish leads the whole nation.  Why does a Shos-shone dare to
 drink above him?"
 
 "When the Manitou made his children, whether Shos-shone or Comanche,
 Arapaho, Cheyenne, or Pawnee, he gave them buffalo to eat, and the
 pure water of the fountain to quench their thirst.  He said not to
 one, 'Drink here,' and to another, 'Drink there'; but gave the crystal
 spring to all, that all might drink."
 
 Wacomish almost burst with rage as the other spoke; but his coward
 heart prevented him from provoking an encounter with the calm Shos-shone.
 The latter, made thirsty by the words he had spoken--for the Indian is
 ever sparing of his tongue--again stooped down to the spring to drink,
 when the subtle warrior of the Comanches suddenly threw himself upon
 the kneeling hunter and, forcing his head into the bubbling water,
 held him down with all his strength until his victim no longer
 struggled; his stiffened limbs relaxed, and he fell forward over
 the spring, drowned.
 
 Mechanically the Comanche dragged the body a few paces from the water,
 and, as soon as the head of the dead Indian was withdrawn, the spring
 was suddenly and strangely disturbed.  Bubbles sprang up from the
 bottom, and, rising to the surface, escaped in hissing gas.  A thin
 vapour arose, and, gradually dissolving, displayed to the eyes of the
 trembling murderer the figure of an aged Indian, whose long, snowy
 hair and venerable beard, blown aside from his breast, discovered the
 well-known totem of the great Wankanaga, the father of the Comanche
 and Shos-shone nation.
 
 Stretching out a war-club toward the Comanche, the figure thus
 addressed him:--
 
 "Accursed murderer!  While the blood of the brave Shos-shone cries to
 the Great Spirit for vengeance, may the water of thy tribe be rank
 and bitter in their throats!"  Thus saying, and swinging his ponderous
 war-club round his head, he dashed out the brains of the Comanche,
 who fell headlong into the spring, which from that day to this remains
 rank and nauseous, so that not even when half dead with thirst, can
 one drink from it.
 
 The good Wankanaga, however, to perpetuate the memory of the Shos-shone
 warrior, who was renowned in his tribe for valour and nobleness of
 heart, struck with the same avenging club a hard, flat rock which
 overhung the rivulet, and forthwith a round clear basin opened, which
 instantly filled with bubbling, sparkling water, sweet and cool.
 
 From that day the two mighty tribes of the Shos-shones and Comanches
 have remained severed and apart, although a long and bloody war
 followed the treacherous murder.
 
 The Indians regarded these wonderful springs with awe.  The Arapahoes,
 especially, attributed to the Spirit of the springs the power of
 ordaining the success or failure of their war expeditions.  As their
 warriors passed by the mysterious pools when hunting their hereditary
 enemies, the Utes, they never failed to bestow their votive offerings
 upon the spring, in order to propitiate the Manitou of the strange
 fountain, and insure a fortunate issue to their path of war.  As late
 as twenty-five years ago, the visitor to the place could always find
 the basin of the spring filled with beads and wampum, pieces of red
 cloth and knives, while the surrounding trees were hung with strips
 of deerskin, cloth, and moccasins.  Signs were frequently observed
 in the vicinity of the waters unmistakably indicating that a war-dance
 had been executed there by the Arapahoes on their way to the Valley
 of Salt, occupied by the powerful Utes.
 
 Never was there such a paradise for hunters as this lone and solitary
 spot in the days when the region was known only to them and the
 trappers of the great fur companies.  The shelving prairie, at the
 bottom of which the springs are situated, is entirely surrounded by
 rugged mountains and contained two or three acres of excellent grass,
 affording a safe pasture for their animals, which hardly cared to
 wander from such feeding and the salt they loved to lick.
 
 The trappers of the Rocky Mountains belonged to a genus that has
 disappeared.  Forty years ago there was not a hole or corner in the
 vast wilderness of the far West that had not been explored by these
 hardy men.  From the Mississippi to the mouth of the Colorado of the
 West, from the frozen regions of the north to the Gila in Mexico,
 the beaver hunter has set his traps in every creek and stream.
 The mountains and waters, in many instances, still retain the names
 assigned them by those rude hunters, who were veritable pioneers
 paving the way for the settlement of the stern country.
 
 A trapper's camp in the old days was quite a picture, as were all its
 surroundings.  He did not always take the trouble to build a shelter,
 unless in the winter.  A couple of deerskins stretched over a willow
 frame was considered sufficient to protect him from the storm.
 Sometimes he contented himself with a mere "breakwind," the rocky
 wall of a canyon, or large ravine.  Near at hand he set up two poles,
 in the crotch of which another was laid, where he kept, out of reach
 of the hungry wolf and coyote, his meat, consisting of every variety
 afforded by the region in which he had pitched his camp.  Under cover
 of the skins of the animals he had killed hung his old-fashioned
 powder-horn and bullet-pouch, while his trusty rifle, carefully
 defended from the damp, was always within reach of his hand.  Round
 his blazing fire at night his companions, if he had any, were other
 trappers on the same stream; and, while engaged in cleaning their
 arms, making and mending moccasins, or running bullets, they told
 long yarns, until the lateness of the hour warned them to crawl under
 their blankets.
 
 Not far from the camp, his animals, well hobbled, fed in sight;
 for nothing did a hunter dread more than a visit from horse-stealing
 Indians, and to be afoot was the acme of misery.
 
 Some hunters who had married squaws carried about with them regular
 buffalo-skin lodges, which their wives took care of, according to
 Indian etiquette.
 
 The old-time trappers more nearly approximated the primitive savage,
 perhaps, than any other class of civilized men.  Their lives being
 spent in the remote wilderness of the mountains, frequently with no
 other companion than Nature herself, their habits and character often
 assumed a most singular cast of simplicity, mingled with ferocity,
 that appeared to take its colouring from the scenes and objects which
 surrounded them.  Having no wants save those of nature, their sole
 concern was to provide sufficient food to support life, and the
 necessary clothing to protect them from the sometimes rigorous climate.
 
 The costume of the average trapper was a hunting-shirt of dressed
 buckskin, with long, fringed trousers of the same material, decorated
 with porcupine quills.  A flexible hat and moccasins covered his
 extremities, and over his left shoulder and under his right arm hung
 his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, in which he also carried flint,
 steel, and other odds and ends.  Round his waist he wore a belt,
 in which was stuck a large knife in a sheath of buffalo-hide, made
 fast to the belt by a chain or guard of steel.  It also supported
 a little buckskin case, which contained a whetstone, a very necessary
 article; for in taking off the hides of the beaver a sharp knife was
 required.  His pipe-holder hung around his neck, and was generally
 a gage d'amour, a triumph of squaw workmanship, wrought with beads
 and porcupine quills, often made in the shape of a heart.
 
 Necessarily keen observers of nature, they rivalled the beasts of
 prey in discovering the haunts and habits of game, and in their skill
 and cunning in capturing it outwitted the Indian himself.  Constantly
 exposed to perils of all kinds, they became callous to any feeling
 of danger, and were firm friends or bitter enemies.  It was a "word
 and a blow," the blow often coming first.  Strong, active, hardy as
 bears, expert in the use of their weapons, they were just what an
 uncivilized white man might be supposed to be under conditions where
 he must depend upon his instincts for the support of life.
 
 Having determined upon the locality of his trapping-ground, the hunter
 started off, sometimes alone, sometimes three or four of them in
 company, as soon as the breaking of the ice in the streams would
 permit, if he was to go very far north.  Arriving on the spot he has
 selected for his permanent camp, the first thing to be done, after
 he had settled himself, was to follow the windings of the creeks and
 rivers, keeping a sharp lookout for "signs."  If he saw a prostrate
 cottonwood tree, he carefully examined it to learn whether it was
 the work of beaver, and if so whether thrown for the purpose of food,
 or to dam the stream.  The track of the animal on the mud or sand
 under the banks was also examined; if the sign was fresh, he set his
 trap in the run of the animal, hiding it under water, and attaching
 it by a stout chain to a picket driven in the bank, or to a bush or
 tree.  A float-stick was made fast to the trap by a cord a few feet
 long, which, if the animal carried away the trap, would float on
 the water and point out its position.  The trap was baited with
 "medicine," an oily substance obtained from the beaver.  A stick was
 dipped in this and planted over the trap, and the beaver, attracted
 by the smell, put his leg into the trap and was caught.
 
 When a beaver lodge was discovered, the trap was set at the edge of
 the dam, at a point where the animal passed from deep to shoal water,
 and always under the surface.  Early in the morning, the hunter
 mounted his mule and examined all his traps.
 
 The beaver is exceedingly wily, and if by scent or sound or sight he
 had any intimation of the presence of a trapper, he put at defiance
 all efforts to capture him, consequently it was necessary to practise
 great caution when in the neighbourhood of one of their lodges.
 The trapper then avoided riding for fear the sound of his horse's
 feet might strike dismay among the furry inhabitants under the water,
 and, instead of walking on the ground, he waded in the stream, lest
 he should leave a scent behind by which he might be discovered.
 
 In the days of the great fur companies, trappers were of two kinds--
 the hired hand and the free trapper.  The former was hired by the
 company, which supplied him with everything necessary, and paid him
 a certain price for his furs and peltries.  The other hunted on his
 own hook, owned his animals and traps, went where he pleased, and
 sold to whom he chose.
 
 During the hunting season, regardless of the Indians, the fearless
 trapper wandered far and near in search of signs.  His nerves were
 in a state of tension, his mind always clear, and his head cool.
 His trained eye scrutinized every part of the country, and in an
 instant he could detect anything that was strange.  A turned leaf,
 a blade of grass pressed down, the uneasiness of wild animals,
 the actions of the birds, were all to him paragraphs written in
 Nature's legible hand.
 
 All the wits of the wily savage were called into play to gain an
 advantage over the plucky white man; but with the resources natural
 to a civilized mind, the hunter seldom failed, under equal chance,
 to circumvent the cunning of the red man.  Sometimes, following his
 trail for weeks, the Indian watched him set his traps on some timbered
 stream, and crawling up the bed of it, so that he left no tracks,
 he lay in the bushes until his victim came to examine his traps.
 Then, when he approached within a few feet of the ambush, whiz! flew
 the home-drawn arrow, which never failed at such close quarters to
 bring the unsuspecting hunter to the ground.  But for one white scalp
 that dangled in the smoke of an Indian's lodge, a dozen black ones,
 at the end of the season, ornamented the camp-fires of the rendezvous
 where the furs were sold.
 
 In the camp, if he was a very successful hunter, all the appliances
 for preparing the skins for market were at hand; if he had a squaw
 for a wife, she did all the hard work, as usual.  Close to the
 entrance of their skin lodge was the "graining-block," a log of wood
 with the bark stripped off and perfectly smooth, set obliquely in
 the ground, on which the hair was removed from the deerskins which
 furnished moccasins and dresses for both herself and her husband.
 Then there were stretching frames on which the skins were placed to
 undergo the process of "dubbing"; that is, the removal of all flesh
 and fatty particles adhering to the skin.  The "dubber" was made of
 the stock of an elk's horn, with a piece of iron or steel inserted
 in the end, forming a sharp knife.  The last process the deerskin
 underwent before it was soft and pliable enough for making into
 garments, was the "smoking."  This was effected by digging a round
 hole in the ground, and lighting in it an armful of rotten wood or
 punk; then sticks were planted around the hole, and their tops brought
 together and tied.  The skins were placed on this frame, and all
 openings by which the smoke might escape being carefully stopped,
 in ten or twelve hours they were thoroughly cured and ready for
 immediate use.
 
 The beaver was the main object of the hunter's quest; its skins were
 once worth from six to eight dollars a pound; then they fell to only
 one dollar, which hardly paid the expenses of traps, animals, and
 equipment for the hunt, and was certainly no adequate remuneration
 for the hardships, toil, and danger undergone by the trappers.
 
 The beaver was once found in every part of North America, from Canada
 to the Gulf of Mexico, but has so retired from the encroachments of
 civilized man, that it is only to be met with occasionally on some
 tributary to the remote mountain streams.
 
 The old trappers always aimed to set their traps so that the beaver
 would drown when taken.  This was accomplished by sinking the trap
 several inches under water, and driving a stake through a ring on the
 end of the chain into the bottom of the creek.  When the beaver finds
 himself caught, he pitches and plunges about until his strength is
 exhausted, when he sinks down and is drowned, but if he succeeds in
 getting to the shore, he always extricates himself by gnawing off
 the leg that is in the jaws of the trap.
 
 The captured animals were skinned, and the tails, which are a great
 dainty, carefully packed into camp.  The skin was then stretched over
 a hoop or framework of willow twigs and allowed to dry, the flesh and
 fatty substance adhering being first carefully scraped off.  When dry,
 it was folded into a square sheet, the fur turned inwards, and the
 bundle, containing twenty skins, tightly pressed and tied, was ready
 for transportation.  The beaver after the hide is taken off weighs
 about twelve pounds, and its flesh, although a little musky, is very
 fine.  Its tail which is flat and oval in shape, is covered with
 scales about the size of those of a salmon.  It was a great delicacy
 in the estimation of the old trapper; he separated it from the body,
 thrust a stick in one end of it, and held it before the fire with the
 scales on.  In a few moments large blisters rose on the surface,
 which were very easily removed.  The tail was then perfectly white,
 and delicious.  Next to the tail the liver was another favourite of
 the trapper, and when properly cooked it constituted a delightful repast.
 
 After the season was over, or the hunter had loaded all his pack-animals,
 he proceeded to the "rendezvous," where the buyers were to congregate
 for the purchase of the fur, the locality of which had been agreed
 upon when the hunters started out on their expedition.  One of these
 was at Bent's old fort and one at Pueblo; another at "Brown's Hole"
 on Green River, and there were many more on the great streams and in
 the mountains.  There the agents of the fur companies and traders
 waited for the arrival of the trappers, with such an assortment of
 goods as the hardy men required, including, of course, an immense
 supply of whiskey.  The trappers dropped in day after day, in small
 bands, packing their loads of beaver-skins, not infrequently to the
 value of a thousand dollars each, the result of one hunt.
 
 The rendezvous was frequently a continuous scene of gambling, brawling,
 and fighting, so long as the improvident trapper's money lasted.
 Seated around the large camp-fires, cross-legged in Indian fashion,
 with a blanket or buffalo-robe spread before them, groups were playing
 cards--euchre, seven-up, and poker, the regular mountain games.
 The usual stakes were beaver-skins, which were current as coin.
 When their fur was all gone, their horses, mules, rifles, shirts,
 hunting packs, and trousers were staked.  Daring professional gamblers
 made the rounds of the camps, challenging each other to play for the
 trapper's highest stakes--his horse, or his squaw, if he had one--and
 it is told of one great time that two old trappers played for one
 another's scalps!  "There goes hoss and beaver," was a common mountain
 expression when any severe loss was sustained, and shortly "hoss and
 beaver" found their way into the pockets of the unconscionable gamblers.
 
 Frequently a trapper would squander the entire product of his hunt,
 amounting to hundreds of dollars, in a couple of hours.  Then,
 supplied with another outfit, he left the rendezvous for another
 expedition, which had the same result time after time, although one
 good hunt would have enabled him to return to the settlements and
 live a life of comparative ease.
 
 It is told of one old Canadian trapper, who had received as much as
 fifteen thousand dollars for beaver during his life in the mountains,
 extending over twenty years, that each season he had resolved in his
 mind to go back to Canada, and with this object in view always
 converted his furs into cash; but a fortnight at the rendezvous
 always "cleaned him out," and at the end of the twenty years he had
 not even enough credit to get a plug of tobacco.
 
 Trading with the Indians in the primitive days of the border was just
 what the word signifies in its radical interpretation--a system of
 barter exclusively.  No money was used in the transaction, as it was
 long afterward before the savages began to learn something of the
 value of currency from their connection with the sutler's and agency
 stores established on reservations and at military posts on the plains
 and in the mountains.  In the early days, if an Indian by any chance
 happened to get possession of a piece of money (only gold or silver
 was recognized as a medium of exchange in the remote West), he would
 immediately fashion it into some kind of an ornament with which to
 adorn his person.  Some tribes, however, did indulge in a sort of
 currency, worthless except among themselves.  This consisted of rare
 shells, such as the Oligachuck, so called, of the Pacific coast
 nations, used by them within my own recollection, as late as 1858.
 
 The poor Indian, as might have been expected, was generally
 outrageously swindled; in fact, I am inclined to believe, always.
 I never was present on an occasion when he was not.
 
 The savage's idea of values was very crude until the government,
 in attempting to civilize and make a gentleman of him, has transformed
 him into a bewildered child.  Very soon after his connection with
 the white trader, he learned that a gun was more valuable than a knife;
 but of their relative cost to manufacture he had no idea.  For these
 reasons, obviously, he was always at the mercy of the unscrupulous
 trader who came to his village, or met him at the rendezvous to barter
 for his furs.  I know that the price of every article he desired was
 fixed by the trader, and never by the Indian, consequently he rarely
 got the best of the bargain.
 
 Uncle John Smith, Kit Carson, L. B. Maxwell, Uncle Dick Wooton, and
 a host of other well-known Indian traders, long since dead, have
 often told me that the first thing they did on entering a village
 with a pack-load of trinkets to barter, in the earlier days before
 the whites had encroached to any great extent, was to arrange a
 schedule of prices.  They would gather a large number of sticks,
 each one representing an article they had brought.  With these crude
 symbols the Indian made himself familiar in a little while, and when
 this preliminary arrangement had been completed, the trading began.
 The Indian, for instance, would place a buffalo-robe on the ground;
 then the trader commenced to lay down a number of the sticks,
 representing what he was willing to give for the robe.  The Indian
 revolved the transaction in his mind until he thought he was getting
 a fair equivalent according to his ideas, then the bargain was made.
 It was claimed by these old traders, when they related this to me,
 that the savage generally was not satisfied, always insisting upon
 having more sticks placed on the pile.  I suspect, however, that the
 trader was ever prepared for this, and never gave more than he
 originally intended.  The price of that initial robe having been
 determined on, it governed the price of all the rest for the whole
 trade, regardless of size or fineness, for that day.  What was traded
 for was then placed by the Indian on one side of the lodge, and the
 trader put what he was to give on the other.  After prices had been
 agreed upon, business went on very rapidly, and many thousand dollars'
 worth of valuable furs were soon collected by the successful trader,
 which he shipped to St. Louis and converted into gold.
 
 In a few years, relatively, the Indian began to appreciate the value
 of our medium of exchange and the power it gave him to secure at the
 stores in the widely scattered hamlets and at the military posts on
 the plains, those things he coveted, at a fairer equivalent than in
 the uncertain and complicated method of direct barter.  It was not
 very long after the advent of the overland coaches on the Santa Fe
 Trail, that our currency, even the greenbacks, had assumed a value
 to the savage, which he at least partially understood.  Whenever the
 Indians successfully raided the stages the mail sacks were no longer
 torn to pieces or thrown aside as worthless, but every letter was
 carefully scrutinized for possible bills.
 
 I well remember, when the small copper cent, with its spread eagle
 upon it, was first issued, about the year 1857, how the soldiers of
 a frontier garrison where I was stationed at the time palmed them off
 upon the simple savages as two dollar and a half gold pieces, which
 they resembled as long as they retained their brightness, and with
 which the Indians were familiar, as many were received by the troops
 from the paymaster every two months, the savages receiving them in
 turn for horses and other things purchased of them by the soldiers.
 
 I have known of Indians who gave nuggets of gold for common calico
 shirts costing two dollars in that region and seventy-five cents in
 the States, while the lump of precious metal was worth, perhaps,
 five or seven dollars.  As late as twenty-eight years ago, I have
 traded for beautifully smoke-tanned and porcupine-embroidered
 buffalo-robes for my own use, giving in exchange a mere loaf of bread
 or a cupful of brown sugar.
 
 Very early in the history of the United States, in 1786, the government,
 under the authority of Congress, established a plan of trade with
 the Indians.  It comprised supplying all their physical wants without
 profit; factories, or stations as they were called, were erected at
 points that were then on the remote frontier; where factors, clerks,
 and interpreters were stationed.  The factors furnished goods of all
 kinds to the Indians, and received from them in exchange furs and
 peltries.  There was an officer in charge of all these stations called
 the superintendent of Indian trade, appointed by the President.
 As far back as 1821, there were stations at Prairie du Chien,
 Fort Edward, Fort Osage, with branches at Chicago, Green Bay in
 Arkansas, on the Red River, and other places in the then far West.
 These stations were movable, and changed from time to time to suit the
 convenience of the Indians.  In 1822 the whole system was abolished
 by act of Congress, and its affairs wound up, the American Fur Company,
 the Missouri Fur Company, and a host of others having by that time
 become powerful.  Like the great corporations of to-day, they
 succeeded in supplanting the government establishments.  Of course,
 the Indians of the remote plains, which included all the vast region
 west of the Missouri River, never had the benefits of the government
 trading establishments, but were left to the tender mercies of the
 old plainsmen and trappers.
 
 Until the railroad reached the mountains, when the march of a wonderful
 immigration closely followed, usurping the lands claimed by the
 savages, and the latter were driven, perforce, upon reservations,
 the winter camps of the Kiowas, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes were strung
 along the Old Trail for miles, wherever a belt of timber on the margin
 of the Arkansas, or its tributaries, could be found large enough to
 furnish fuel for domestic purposes and cottonwood bark for the vast
 herds of ponies in the severe snow-storms.
 
 At these various points the Indians congregated to trade with the
 whites.  As stated, Bent's Fort, the Pueblo Fort, and Big Timbers
 were favourite resorts, and the trappers and old hunters passed a
 lively three or four months every year, indulging in the amusements
 I have referred to.  They were also wonderful story-tellers, and
 around their camp-fires many a tale of terrible adventure with Indians
 and vicious animals was nightly related.
 
 Baptiste Brown was one of the most famous trappers.  Few men had seen
 more of wild life in the great prairie wilderness.  He had hunted
 with nearly every tribe of Indians on the plains and in the mountains,
 was often at Bent's Fort, and his soul-stirring narratives made him
 a most welcome guest at the camp-fire.
 
 He lived most of his time in the Wind River Mountains, in a beautiful
 little valley named after him "Brown's Hole."  It has a place on the
 maps to-day, and is on what was then called Prairie River, or
 Sheetskadee, by the Indians; it is now known as Green River, and is
 the source of the great Colorado.
 
 The valley, which is several thousand feet above the sea-level,
 is about fifteen miles in circumference, surrounded by lofty hills,
 and is aptly, though not elegantly, characterized as a "hole."
 The mountain-grass is of the most nutritious quality; groves of
 cottonwood trees and willows are scattered through the sequestered
 spot, and the river, which enters it from the north, is a magnificent
 stream; in fact, it is the very ideal of a hunter's headquarters.
 
 The temperature is very equable, and at one time, years ago, hundreds
 of trappers made it their winter quarters.  Indians, too, of all the
 northern tribes, but more especially the Arapahoes, frequented it to
 trade with the white men.
 
 Baptiste Brown was a Canadian who spoke villanous French and worse
 English; his vocabulary being largely interspersed with "enfant de
 garce," "sacre," "sacre enfant," and "damn" until it was a difficult
 matter to tell what he was talking about.
 
 He was married to an Arapahoe squaw, and his strange wooing and
 winning of the dusky maiden is a thrilling love-story.
 
 Among the maidens who came with the Arapahoes, when that tribe made
 a visit to "Brown's Hole" one winter for the purpose of trading with
 the whites, was a young, merry, and very handsome girl, named "Unami,"
 who after a few interviews completely captured Baptiste's heart.
 Nothing was more common, as I have stated, than marriages between
 the trappers and a beautiful redskin.  Isolated absolutely from women
 of his own colour, the poor mountaineer forgets he is white, which,
 considering the embrowning influence of constant exposure and sunlight,
 is not so marvellous after all.  For a portion of the year there is
 no hunting, and then idleness is the order of the day.  At such times
 the mountaineer visits the lodges of his dark neighbours for amusement,
 and in the spirited dance many a heart is lost to the squaws.
 The young trapper, like other enamoured ones of his sex in civilization,
 lingers around the house of his fair sweetheart while she transforms
 the soft skin of the doe into moccasins, ornamenting them richly
 with glittering beads or the coloured quills of the porcupine, all
 the time lightening the long hours with the plain-songs of their tribe.
 It was upon an occasion of this character that Baptiste, then in the
 prime of his youthful manhood, first loved the dark-eyed Arapahoe.
 
 The course open to him was to woo and win her; but alas! savage papas
 are just like fathers in the best civilization--the only difference
 between them is that the former are more open and matter-of-fact,
 since in savage etiquette a consideration is required in exchange
 for the daughter, which belongs exclusively to the parent, and must
 be of equal marketable value to the girl.
 
 The usual method is to select your best horse, take him to the lodge
 of your inamorata's parents, tie him to a tree, and walk away.
 If the animal is considered a fair exchange, matters are soon settled
 satisfactorily; if not, other gifts must be added.
 
 At this juncture poor Baptiste was in a bad fix; he had disposed of
 all his season's earnings for his winter's subsistence, much of which
 consisted of an ample supply of whiskey and tobacco; so he had
 nothing left wherewith to purchase the indispensable horse.  Without
 the animal no wife was to be had, and he was in a terrible predicament;
 for the hunting season was long since over, and it wanted a whole
 month of the time for a new starting out.
 
 Baptiste was a very determined man, however, and he shouldered his
 rifle, intent on accomplishing by a laborious prosecution of the
 chase the means of winning his loved one from her parents,
 notwithstanding that the elements and the times were against him.
 He worked industriously, and after many days was rewarded by a goodly
 supply of beavers, otters, and mink which he had trapped, besides
 many a deerskin whose wearer he had shot.  Returning to his lodge,
 where he cached his peltry, he again started out for the forest with
 hope filling his heart.  Three weeks passed in indifferent success,
 when one morning, having entered a deep canyon, which evidently led
 out to an open prairie where he thought game might be found, while
 busy cutting his way through a thicket of briers with his knife,
 he suddenly came upon a little valley, where he saw what caused him
 to retrace his footsteps into the thicket.
 
 And here it is necessary to relate a custom peculiar to all Indian
 tribes.  No young man, though his father were the greatest chief in
 the nation, can range himself among the warriors, be entitled to
 enter the marriage state, or enjoy any other rights of savage
 citizenship until he shall have performed some act of personal
 bravery and daring, or be sprinkled with the blood of his enemies.
 In the early springtime, therefore, all the young men who are of the
 proper age band themselves together and take to the forest in search
 --like the knight-errant of old--of adventure and danger.  Having
 decided upon a secluded and secret spot, they collect a number of
 poles from twenty to thirty feet in length, and, lashing them together
 at the small ends, form a huge conical lodge, which they cover with
 grass and boughs.  Inside they deposit various articles, with which
 to "make medicine," or as a propitiatory offering to the Great Spirit;
 generally a green buffalo head, kettles, scalps, blankets, and other
 things of value, of which the most prominent and revered is the
 sacred pipe.  The party then enters the lodge and the first ceremony
 is smoking this pipe.  One of the young men fills it with tobacco and
 herbs, places a coal on it from the fire that has been already
 kindled in the lodge, and, taking the stem in his mouth, inhales the
 smoke and expels it through his nostrils.  The ground is touched with
 the bowl, the four points of the compass are in turn saluted, and
 with various ceremonies it makes the round of the lodge.  After many
 days of feasting and dancing the party is ready for a campaign, when
 they abandon the lodge, and it is death for any one else to enter,
 or by any means to desecrate it while its projectors are absent.
 
 It was upon one of these mystic lodges that Baptiste had accidentally
 stumbled, and strange thoughts flashed through his mind; for within
 the sacred place were articles, doubtless, of value more than
 sufficient to purchase the necessary horse with which he could win
 the fair Unami.  Baptiste was sorely tempted, but there was an
 instinctive respect for religion in the minds of the old trappers,
 and Brown had too much honour to think of robbing the Indian temple,
 although he distinctly remembered a time when a poor white trapper,
 having been robbed of his poncho at the beginning of winter, made
 free with a blanket he had found in one of these Arapahoe sacred
 lodges.  When he was brought before the medicine men of the tribe,
 charged with the sacrilege, his defence, that, having been robbed,
 the Great Spirit took pity on him and pointed out the blanket and
 ordered him to clothe himself, was considered good, on the theory
 that the Great Spirit had an undoubted right to give away his own
 property; consequently the trapper was set free.
 
 Brown, after considering the case, was about to move away, when a hand
 was laid on his shoulder, and turning round there stood before him
 an Indian in full war-paint.
 
 The greeting was friendly, for the young savage was the brother of
 Baptiste's love, to whom he had given many valuable presents during
 the past season.
 
 "My white brother is very wakeful; he rises early."
 
 Baptiste laughed, and replied: "Yes, because my lodge is empty.
 If I had Unami for a wife, I would not have to get out before the sun;
 and I would always have a soft seat for her brother; he will be a
 great warrior."
 
 The young brave shook his head gravely, as be pointed to his belt,
 where not a scalp was to be seen, and said: "Five moons have gone
 to sleep and the Arapahoe hatchet has not been raised.  The Blackfeet
 are dogs, and hide in their holes."
 
 Without adding anything to this hint that none of the young men had
 been able to fulfil their vows, the disconsolate savage led the way
 to the camp of the other Arapahoes, his companions in the quest for
 scalps.  Baptiste was very glad to see the face of a fellow-creature
 once more, and he cheerfully followed the footsteps of the young brave,
 which were directed away from the medicine lodge toward the rocky
 canyon which he had already travelled that morning, where in the very
 centre of the dark defile, and within twenty feet of where he had
 recently passed, was the camp of the disappointed band.  Baptiste was
 cordially received, and invited to share the meal of which the party
 were about to partake, after which the pipe was passed around.
 In a little while the Indians began to talk among themselves by signs,
 which made Baptiste feel somewhat uncomfortable, for it was apparent
 that he was the object of their interest.
 
 They had argued that Brown's skin indicated that he belonged to the
 great tribe of their natural enemies, and with the blood of a white
 on their garments, they would have fulfilled the terms of their vow
 to their friends and the Great Spirit.
 
 Noticing the trend of the debate, which would lead his friend into
 trouble, the brother of Unami arose, and waving his hand said:--
 
 "The Arapahoe is a warrior; his feet outstrip the fleetest horse;
 his arrow is as the lightning of the Great Spirit; he is very brave.
 But a cloud is between him and the sun; he cannot see his enemy;
 there is yet no scalp in his lodge.  The Great Spirit is good;
 he sends a victim, a man whose skin is white, but his heart is very
 red; the pale-face is a brother, and his long knife is turned from
 his friends, the Arapahoes; but the Great Spirit is all-powerful.
 My brother"--pointing to Baptiste--"is very full of blood; he can spare
 a little to stain the blankets of the young men, and his heart shall
 still be warm; I have spoken."
 
 As Baptiste expressed it: "Sacre enfant de garce; damn, de ting vas
 agin my grain, but de young Arapahoe he have saved my life."
 
 Loud acclamation followed the speech of Unami's brother, and many of
 those most clamorous against the white trapper, being actuated by
 the earnest desire of returning home with their vow accomplished,
 when they would be received into the list of warriors, and have wives
 and other honours, were unanimous in agreeing to the proposed plan.
 
 A flint lancet was produced, Baptiste's arm was bared, and the blood
 which flowed from the slight wound was carefully distributed, and
 scattered over the robes of the delighted Arapahoes.
 
 The scene which followed was quite unexpected to Baptiste, who was
 only glad to escape the death to which the majority had doomed him.
 The Indians, perfectly satisfied that their vow of shedding an enemy's
 blood had been fulfilled, were all gratitude; and to testify that
 gratitude in a substantial manner each man sought his pack, and laid
 at the feet of the surprised Baptiste a rich present.  One gave an
 otter skin, another that of a buffalo, and so on until his wealth in
 furs outstripped his most sanguine expectations from his hunt.
 The brother of Unami stood passively looking on until all the others
 had successively honoured his guest, when he advanced toward Baptiste,
 leading by its bridle a magnificent horse, fully caparisoned, and
 a large pack-mule.  To refuse would have been the most flagrant breach
 of Indian etiquette, and beside, Brown was too alive to the advantage
 that would accrue to him to be other than very thankful.
 
 The camp was then broken up, and the kind savages were soon lost to
 Baptiste's sight as they passed down the canyon; and he, as soon as he
 had gained a little strength, for he was weak from the blood he had
 shed in the good cause, mounted his horse, after loading the mule
 with his gifts, and made the best of his way to his lonely lodge,
 where he remained several days.  He then sold his furs at a good
 price, as it was so early in the season, bartered for a large quantity
 of knives, beads, powder, and balls, and returned to the Arapahoe
 village, where the horse was considered a fair exchange for the
 pretty Unami; and from that day, for over thirty years, they lived
 as happy as any couple in the highest civilization.
 
 The fate of the Pueblo, where the trappers and hunters had such good
 times in the halcyon days of the border, like that which befell
 nearly all the trading-posts and ranches on the Old Santa Fe Trail,
 was to be partially destroyed by the savages.  During the early
 months of the winter of 1854, the Utes swept down through the Arkansas
 valley, leaving a track of blood behind them, and frightening the
 settlers so thoroughly that many left the country never to return.
 The outbreak was as sudden as it was devastating.  The Pueblo was
 captured by the savages, and every man, woman, and child in it
 murdered, with the exception of one aged Mexican, and he was so badly
 wounded that he died in a few days.
 
 His story was that the Utes came to the gates of the fort on Christmas
 morning, professing the greatest friendship, and asking permission
 to be allowed to come inside and hold a peace conference.  All who
 were in the fort at the time were Mexicans, and as their cupidity
 led them to believe that they could do some advantageous trading
 with the Indians, they foolishly permitted the whole band to enter.
 The result was that a wholesale massacre followed.  There were
 seventeen persons in all quartered there, only one of whom escaped
 death--the old man referred to--and a woman and her two children,
 who were carried off as captives; but even she was killed before the
 savages had gone a mile from the place.  What became of the children
 was never known; they probably met the same fate. 


 

UNCLE JOHN SMITH.
 
 
 
 Many of the men of the border were blunt in manners, rude in speech,
 driven to the absolute liberty of the far West with better natures
 shattered and hopes blasted, to seek in the exciting life of the
 plainsman and mountaineer oblivion of some incidents of their youthful
 days, which were better forgotten.  Yet these aliens from society,
 these strangers to the refinements of civilization, who would tear off
 a bloody scalp even with grim smiles of satisfaction, were fine
 fellows, full of the milk of human kindness, and would share their
 last slapjack with a hungry stranger.
 
 Uncle John Smith, as he was known to every trapper, trader, and
 hunter from the Yellowstone to the Gila, was one of the most famous
 and eccentric men of the early days.  In 1826, as a boy, he ran away
 from St. Louis with a party of Santa Fe traders, and so fascinated
 was he with the desultory and exciting life, that he chose to sit
 cross-legged, smoking the long Indian pipe, in the comfortable
 buffalo-skin teepee, rather than cross legs on the broad table of
 his master, a tailor to whom he had been apprenticed when he took
 French leave from St. Louis.
 
 He spent his first winter with the Blackfeet Indians, but came very
 near losing his scalp in their continual quarrels, and therefore
 allied himself with the more peaceable Sioux.  Once while on the
 trail of a horse-stealing band of Arapahoes near the head waters
 of the Arkansas, the susceptible young hunter fell in love with
 a very pretty Cheyenne squaw, married her, and remained true to the
 object of his early affection during all his long and eventful life,
 extending over a period of forty years.  For many decades he lived
 with his dusky wife as the Indians did, having been adopted by the
 tribe.  He owned a large number of horses, which constituted the
 wealth of the plains Indians, upon the sale of which he depended
 almost entirely for his subsistence.  He became very powerful in the
 Cheyenne nation; was regarded as a chief, taking an active part in
 the councils, and exercising much authority.  His excellent judgment
 as a trader with the various bands of Indians while he was employed
 by the great fur companies made his services invaluable in the
 strange business complications of the remote border.  Besides
 understanding the Cheyenne language as well as his native tongue,
 he also spoke three other Indian dialects, French, and Spanish, but
 with many Western expressions that sometimes grated harshly upon
 the grammatical ear.
 
 He became a sort of autocrat on the plains and in the mountains; and
 for an Indian or Mexican to attempt to effect a trade without Uncle
 John Smith having something to say about it, and its conditions, was
 hardly possible.  The New Mexicans often came in small parties to his
 Indian village, their burros packed with dry pumpkin, corn, etc.,
 to trade for buffalo-robes, bearskins, meat, and ponies; and Smith,
 who knew his power, exacted tribute, which was always paid.  At one
 time, however, when for some reason a party of strange Mexicans
 refused, Uncle John harangued the people of the village, and called
 the young warriors together, who emptied every sack of goods belonging
 to the cowering Mexicans on the ground, Smith ordering the women and
 children to help themselves, an order which was obeyed with alacrity.
 The frightened Mexicans left hurriedly for El Valle de Taos, whence
 they had come, crossing themselves and uttering thanks to Heaven for
 having retained their scalps.  This and other similar cases so
 intimidated the poor Greasers, and impressed them so deeply with
 a sense of Smith's power, that, ever after, his permission to trade
 was craved by a special deputation of the parties, accompanied by
 peace-offerings of corn, pumpkin, and pinole.  At one time, when
 Smith was journeying by himself a day's ride from the Cheyenne village,
 he was met by a party of forty or more corn traders, who, instead of
 putting such a bane to their prospects speedily out of the way,
 gravely asked him if they could proceed, and offered him every third
 robe they had to accompany them, which he did.  Indeed, he became so
 regardless of justice, in his condescension to the natives of
 New Mexico, that the governor of that province offered a reward of
 five hundred dollars for him alive or dead, but fear of the Cheyennes
 was so prevalent that his capture was never even attempted.
 
 During Sheridan's memorable winter campaign against the allied tribes
 in 1868-69, the old man, for he was then about sixty, was my guide
 and interpreter.  He shared my tent and mess, a most welcome addition
 to the few who sat at my table, and beguiled many a weary hour at
 night, after our tedious marches through the apparently interminable
 sand dunes and barren stretches of our monotonous route, with his
 tales of that period, more than half a century ago, when our
 mid-continent region was as little known as the topography of the
 planet Mars.
 
 At the close of December, 1868, a few weeks after the battle of the
 Washita, I was camping with my command on the bank of that historic
 stream in the Indian Territory, waiting with an immense wagon-train
 of supplies for the arrival of General Custer's command, the famous
 Seventh Cavalry, and also the Nineteenth Kansas, which were supposed
 to be lost, or wandering aimlessly somewhere in the region south of us.
 
 I had been ordered to that point by General Sheridan, with instructions
 to keep fires constantly burning on three or four of the highest
 peaks in the vicinity of our camp, until the lost troops should be
 guided to the spot by our signals.  These signals were veritable
 pillars of fire by night and pillars of cloud by day; for there was
 an abundance of wood and hundreds of men ready to feed the hungry flames.
 
 It was more than two weeks before General Custer and his famished
 troopers began to straggle in.  During that period of anxious waiting
 we lived almost exclusively on wild turkey, and longed for nature's
 meat--the buffalo; but there were none of the shaggy beasts at that
 time in the vicinity, so we had to content ourselves with the birds,
 of which we became heartily tired.
 
 For several days after our arrival on the creek, the men had been
 urging Uncle John to tell them another story of his early adventures;
 but the old trapper was in one of his silent moods--he frequently had
 them--and could not be persuaded to emerge from his shell of reticence
 despite their most earnest entreaties.  I knew it would be of no use
 for me to press him.  I could, of course, order him to any duty, and
 he would promptly obey; but his tongue, like the hand of Douglas,
 was his own.  I knew, also, that when he got ready, which would be
 when some incident of camp-life inspired him, he would be as garrulous
 as ever.
 
 One evening just before supper, a party of enlisted men who had been
 up the creek to catch fish, but had failed to take anything owing to
 the frozen condition of the stream, returned with the skeleton of
 a Cheyenne Indian which they had picked up on the battle-ground of
 a month previously--one of Custer's victims in his engagement with
 Black Kettle.  This was the incentive Uncle John required.  As he
 gazed on the bleached bones of the warrior, he said: "Boys, I'm going
 to tell you a good long story to-night.  Them Ingin's bones has put
 me in mind of it.  After we've eat, if you fellows wants to hear it,
 come down to headquarters tent, and I'll give it to you."
 
 Of course word was rapidly passed from one to another, as the whole
 camp was eager to hear the old trapper again.  In a short time,
 every man not on guard or detailed to keep up the signals on the
 hills gathered around the dying embers of the cook's fire in front of
 my tent; the enlisted men and teamsters in groups by themselves,
 the officers a little closer in a circle, in the centre of which
 Uncle John sat.
 
 The night was cold, the sky covered with great fleecy patches,
 through which the full moon, just fairly risen, appeared to be racing,
 under the effect of that optical illusion caused by the rapidly
 moving clouds.  The coyotes had commenced their nocturnal concert
 in the timbered recesses of the creek not far away, and on the
 battle-field a short distance beyond, as they battened and fought
 over the dead warriors and the carcasses of twelve hundred ponies
 killed in that terrible slaughter by the intrepid Custer and his
 troopers.  The signals on the hills leaped into the crisp air like
 the tongues of dragons in the myths of the ancients; in fact,
 the whole aspect of the place, as we sat around the blazing logs of
 our camp-fire, was weird and uncanny.
 
 Every one was eager for the veteran guide to begin his tale; but as
 I knew he could not proceed without smoking, I passed him my pouch
 of Lone Jack--the brand par excellence in the army at that time.
 
 Uncle John loaded his corn-cob, picked up a live coal, and, pressing
 it down on the tobacco with his thumb, commenced to puff vigorously.
 As soon as his withered old face was half hidden in a cloud of smoke,
 he opened his story in his stereotyped way.  I relate it just as he
 told it, but divested of much of its dialect, so difficult to write:--
 
 "Well, boys, it's a good many years ago, in June, 1845, if I don't
 disremember.  I was about forty-three, and had been in the mountains
 and on the plains more than nineteen seasons.  You see, I went out
 there in 1826.  There warn't no roads, nuthin' but the Santa Fe Trail,
 in them days, and Ingins and varmints.
 
 "There was four of us.  Me, Bill Comstock, Dick Curtis, and Al Thorpe.
 Dick was took in by the Utes two years afterwards at the foot of the
 Spanish Peaks, and Al was killed by the Apaches at Pawnee Rock, in 1847.
 
 "We'd been trapping up on Medicine Bow for more than three years
 together, and had a pile of beaver, otter, mink, and other varmint's
 skins cached in the hills, which we know'd was worth a heap of money;
 so we concluded to take them to the river that summer.  We started
 from our trapping camp in April, and 'long 'bout the middle of June
 reached the Arkansas, near what is know'd as Point o' Rocks.  You all
 know where them is on the Trail west of Fort Dodge, and how them
 rocks rises up out of the prairie sudden-like.  We was a travelling
 'long mighty easy, for we was all afoot, and had hoofed it the whole
 distance, more than six hundred miles, driving five good mules ahead
 of us.  Our furs was packed on four of them, and the other carried
 our blankets, extry ammunition, frying-pan, coffee-pot, and what
 little grub we had, for we was obliged to depend upon buffalo,
 antelope, and jack-rabbits; but, boys, I tell you there was millions
 of 'em in them days.
 
 "We had just got into camp at Point o' Rocks.  It was 'bout four
 o'clock in the afternoon; none of us carried watches, we always
 reckoned time by the sun, and could generally guess mighty close, too.
 It was powerful hot, I remember.  We'd hobbled our mules close to the
 ledge, where the grass was good, so they couldn't be stampeded, as
 we know'd we was in the Pawnee country, and they was the most ornery
 Ingins on the plains.  We know'd nothing that was white ever came by
 that part of the Trail without having a scrimmage with the red devils.
 
 "Well, we hadn't more than took our dinner, when them mules give
 a terrible snort, and tried to break and run, getting awful oneasy
 all to once.  Them critters can tell when Ingins is around.  They's
 better than a dozen dogs.  I don't know how they can tell, but they
 just naturally do.
 
 "In less than five minutes after them mules began to worry, stopped
 eating, and had their ears pricked up a trying to look over the ledge
 towards the river, we heard a sharp firing down on the Trail, which
 didn't appear to be more than a hundred yards off.  You ought to seen
 us grab our rifles sudden, and run out from behind them rocks, where
 we was a camping, so comfortable-like, and just going to light our
 pipes for a good smoke.  It didn't take us no time to get down on to
 the Trail, where we seen a Mexican bull train, that we know'd must
 have come from Santa Fe, and which had stopped and was trying to corral.
 More than sixty painted Pawnees was a circling around the outfit,
 howling as only them can howl, and pouring a shower of arrows into
 the oxen.  Some was shaking their buffalo-robes, trying to stampede
 the critters, so they could kill the men easier.
 
 "We lit out mighty lively, soon as we seen what was going on, and
 reached the head of the train just as the last wagon, that was
 furtherest down the Trail, nigh a quarter of a mile off, was cut out
 by part of the band.  Then we seen a man, a woman, and a little boy
 jump out, and run to get shet of the Ingins what had cut out the
 wagon from the rest of the train.  One of the red devils killed the
 man and scalped him, while the other pulled the woman up in front
 of him, and rid off into the sand hills, and out of sight in a minute.
 Then the one what had killed her husband started for the boy, who was
 a running for the train as fast as his little legs could go.  But we
 was nigh enough then; and just as the Ingin was reaching down from
 his pony for the kid, Al Thorpe--he was a powerful fine shot--draw'd up
 his gun and took the red cuss off his critter without the paint-bedaubed
 devil know'n' what struck him.
 
 "The boy, seeing us, broke and run for where we was, and I reckon
 the rest of the Ingins seen us then for the first time, too.  We was
 up with the train now, which was kind o' halfway corralled, and
 Dick Curtis picked up the child--he warn't more than seven years old--
 and throw'd him gently into one of the wagons, where he'd be out of
 the way; for we know'd there was going to be considerable more
 fighting before night.  We know'd, too, we Americans would have to do
 the heft of it, as them Mexican bull-whackers warn't much account,
 nohow, except to cavort around and swear in Spanish, which they
 hadn't done nothing else since we'd come up to the train; besides,
 their miserable guns warn't much better than so many bows and arrows.
 
 "We Americans talked together for a few moments as to what was best
 to be did, while the Ingins all this time was keeping up a lively
 fire for them.  We made as strong a corral of the wagons as we could,
 driving out what oxen the Mexicans had put in the one they had made,
 but you can't do much with only nine wagons, nohow.  Fortunately,
 while we was fixing things, the red cusses suddenly retreated out of
 the range of our rifles, and we first thought they had cleared out
 for good.  We soon discovered, however, they were only holding a
 pow-wow; for in a few minutes back they come, mounted on their ponies,
 with all their fixin's and fresh war-paint on.
 
 "Then they commenced to circle around us again, coming a little
 nearer--Ingin fashion--every time they rid off and back.  It wasn't
 long before they got in easy range, when they slung themselves on
 the off-side of their ponies and let fly their arrows and balls from
 under their critters' necks.  Their guns warn't much 'count, being
 only old English muskets what had come from the Hudson Bay Fur Company,
 so they didn't do no harm that round, except to scare the Mexicans,
 which commenced to cross themselves and pray and swear.
 
 "We four Americans warn't idle when them Ingins come a charging up;
 we kept our eye skinned, and whenever we could draw a bead, one of
 them tumbled off his pony, you bet!  When they'd come back for their
 dead--we'd already killed three of them--we had a big advantage, wasted
 no shots, and dropped four of them; one apiece, and you never heard
 Ingins howl so.  It was getting kind o' dark by this time, and the
 varmints didn't seem anxious to fight any more, but went down to the
 river and scooted off into the sand hills on the other side.
 We waited more than half an hour for them, but as they didn't come
 back, concluded we'd better light out too.  We told the Mexicans to
 yoke up, and as good luck would have it they found all the cattle
 close by, excepting them what pulled the wagon what the Ingins had
 cut out, and as it was way down the Trail, we had to abandon it;
 for it was too dark to hunt it up, as we had no time to fool away.
 
 "We put all our outfit into the train; it wasn't loaded, but going
 empty to the Missouri, to fetch back a sawmill for New Mexico.
 Then we made a soft bed in the middle wagon out of blankets for the
 kid, and rolled out 'bout ten o'clock, meaning to put as many miles
 between us and them Ingins as the oxen could stand.  We four hoofed it
 along for a while, then rid a piece, catching a nap now and then as
 best we could, for we was monstrous tired.  By daylight we'd made
 fourteen miles, and was obliged to stop to let the cattle graze.
 We boiled our coffee, fried some meat, and by that time the little
 boy waked.  He'd slept like a top all night and hadn't no supper
 either; so when I went to the wagon where he was to fetch him out,
 he just put them baby arms of his'n around my neck, and says,
 'Where's mamma?'
 
 "I tell you, boys, that nigh played me out.  He had no idee, 'cause
 he was too young to realize what had happened; we know'd his pa was
 killed, but where his ma was, God only know'd!"
 
 Here the old man stopped short in his narrative, made two or three
 efforts as if to swallow something that would not go down, while his
 eyes had a far-away look.  Presently he picked up a fresh coal from
 the fire, placed it on his pipe, which had gone out, then puffing
 vigorously for a few seconds, until his head was again enveloped in
 smoke, he continued:--
 
 "After I'd washed the little fellow's face and hands, I gave him a
 tin cup of coffee and some meat.  You'd ought to seen him eat; he was
 hungrier than a coyote.  Then while the others was a watering and
 picketing the mules, I sot down on the grass and took the kid into
 my lap to have a good look at him; for until now none of us had had
 a chance.
 
 "He was the purtiest child I'd ever seen; great black eyes, and
 eyelashes that laid right on to his cheeks; his hair, too, was black,
 and as curly as a young big-horn.  I asked him what his name was, and
 he says, 'Paul.'  'Hain't you got no other name?' says I to him again,
 and he answered, 'Yes, sir,' for he was awful polite; I noticed that.
 'Paul Dale,' says he prompt-like, and them big eyes of his'n looked
 up into mine, as he says 'What be yourn?'  I told him he must call me
 'Uncle John,' and then he says again, as he put his arms around my
 neck, his little lips all a quivering, and looking so sorrowful,
 'Uncle John, where's mamma; why don't she come?'
 
 "Boys, I don't really know what I did say.  A kind o' mist came
 before my eyes, and for a minute or two I didn't know nothing.
 I come to in a little while, and seeing Thorpe bringing up the mules
 from the river, where he'd been watering them, I says to Paul, to get
 his mind on to something else besides his mother, 'Don't you want to
 ride one of them mules when we pull out again?'  The little fellow
 jumped off my lap, clapped his hands, forgetting his trouble all at
 once, child-like, and replied, 'I do, Uncle John, can I?'
 
 "After we'd camped there 'bout three hours, the cattle full of grass
 and all laying down chewing their cud, we concluded to move on and
 make a few miles before it grow'd too hot, and to get further from
 the Ingins, which we expected would tackle us again, as soon as they
 could get back from their camp, where we felt sure they had gone for
 reinforcements.
 
 "While the Mexicans was yoking up, me and Thorpe rigged an easy
 saddle on one of the mules, out of blankets, for the kid to ride on,
 and when we was all ready to pull out, I histed him on, and you never
 see a youngster so tickled.
 
 "We had to travel mighty slow; couldn't make more than eighteen miles
 a day with oxen, and that was in two drives, one early in the morning,
 and one in the evening when it was cool, a laying by and grazing when
 it was hot.  We Americans walked along the Trail, and mighty slow
 walking it was; 'bout two and a half miles an hour.  I kept close
 to Paul, for I began to set a good deal of store by him; he seemed
 to cotton to me more than he did to the rest, wanting to stick near
 me most of the time as he rid on the mule.  I wanted to find out
 something 'bout his folks, where they'd come from; so that when we
 got to Independence, perhaps I could turn him over to them as ought
 to have him; though in my own mind I was ornery enough to wish I
 might never find them, and he'd be obliged to stay with me.  The boy
 was too young to tell what I wanted to find out; all I could get out
 of him was they'd been living in Santa Fe since he was a baby, and
 that his papa was a preacher.  I 'spect one of them missionaries
 'mong the heathenish Greasers.  He said they was going back to his
 grandma's in the States, but he could not tell where.  I couldn't
 get nothing out of them Mexican bull-whackers neither--what they
 know'd wasn't half as much as the kid--and I had to give it up.
 
 "Well, we kept moving along without having any more trouble for
 a week; them Ingins never following us as we 'lowed they would.
 I really enjoyed the trip such as I never had before.  Paul he was
 so 'fectionate and smart, that he 'peared to fill a spot in my heart
 what had always been hollow until then.  When he'd got tired of
 riding the mule or in one of the wagons, he'd come and walk along
 the Trail with me, a picking flowers, chasing the prairie-owls and
 such, until his little legs 'bout played out, when I'd hist him on
 his mule again.  When we'd go into camp, Paul, he'd run and pick up
 buffalo-chips for the fire, and wanted to help all he could.
 Then when it came time to go to sleep, the boy would always get under
 my blankets and cuddle up close to me.  He'd be sure to say his
 prayers first, though; but it seemed so strange to me who hadn't
 heard a prayer for thirty years.  I never tried to stop him, you may
 be certain of that.  He'd ask God to bless his pa and ma, and wind up
 with 'Bless Uncle John too.'  Then I couldn't help hugging him right
 up tighter; for it carried me back to Old Missouri, to the log-cabin
 in the woods where I was born, and used to say 'Now I lay me,' and
 'Our Father' at my ma's knee, when I was a kid like him.  I tell you,
 boys, there ain't nothing that will take the conceit out of a man
 here on the plains, like the company of a kid what has been
 brought up right.
 
 "I reckon we'd been travelling about ten days since we left Point o'
 Rocks, and was on the other side of the Big Bend of the Arkansas,
 near the mouth of the Walnut, where Fort Zarah is now.  We had went
 into camp at sundown, close to a big spring that's there yet.
 We drawed up the wagons into a corral on the edge of the river where
 there wasn't no grass for quite a long stretch; we done this to kind
 o' fortify ourselves, for we expected to have trouble with the Ingins
 there, if anywhere, as we warn't but seventeen miles from Pawnee Rock,
 the worst place on the whole Trail for them; so we picked out that
 bare spot where they couldn't set fire to the prairie.  It was long
 after dark when we eat our supper; then we smoked our pipes, waiting
 for the oxen to fill themselves, which had been driven about a mile
 off where there was good grass.  The Mexicans was herding them, and
 when they'd eat all they could hold, and was commencing to lay down,
 they was driven into the corral.  Then all of us, except Comstock and
 Curtis, turned in; they was to stand guard until 'bout one o'clock,
 when me and Thorpe was to change places with them and stay up until
 morning; for, you see, we was afraid to trust them Mexicans.
 
 "It seemed like we hadn't been asleep more than an hour when me and
 Thorpe was called to take our turn on guard.  We got out of our
 blankets, I putting Paul into one of the wagons, then me and Thorpe
 lighted our pipes and walked around, keeping our eyes and ears open,
 watching the heavy fringe of timber on the creek mighty close, I tell
 you.  Just as daylight was coming, we noticed that our mules, what
 was tied to a wagon in the corral, was getting uneasy, a pawing and
 snorting, with their long ears cocked up and looking toward the Walnut.
 Before I could finish saying to Thorpe, 'Them mules smells Ingins,'
 half a dozen or more of the darned cusses dashed out of the timber,
 yelling and shaking their robes, which, of course, waked up the whole
 camp.  Me and Thorpe sent a couple of shots after them, that scattered
 the devils for a minute; but we hadn't hit nary one, because it was
 too dark yet to draw a bead on them.  We was certain there was a good
 many more of them behind the first that had charged us; so we got all
 the men on the side of the corral next to the Trail.  The Ingins we
 know'd couldn't get behind us, on account of the river, and we was
 bound to make them fight where we wanted them to, if they meant to
 fight at all.
 
 "In less than a minute, quicker than I can tell you, sure enough,
 out they came again, only there was 'bout eighty of them this time.
 They made a dash at once, and their arrows fell like a shower of hail
 on the ground and against the wagon-sheets as the cusses swept by on
 their ponies.  There wasn't anybody hurt, and our turn soon came.
 Just as they circled back, we poured it into them, killing six and
 wounding two.  You see them Mexican guns had did some work that we
 didn't expect, and then we Americans felt better.  Well, boys,
 them varmints made four charges like that on to us before we could
 get shet of them; but we killed as many as sixteen or eighteen, and
 they got mighty sick of it and quit; they had only knocked over one
 Mexican, and put an arrow into Thorpe's arm.
 
 "I was amused at little Paul all the time the scrimmage was going on.
 He stood up in the wagon where I'd put him, a looking out of the hole
 behind where the sheet was drawed together, and every time an Ingin
 was tumbled off his pony, he would clap his hands and yell, 'There
 goes another one, Uncle John!'
 
 "After their last charge, they rode off out of range, where they
 stood in little bunches talking to each other, holding some sort of
 a pow-wow.  It riled us to see the darned cusses keep so far away
 from our rifles, because we wanted to lay a few more of them out, but
 was obliged to keep still and watch out for some new deviltry.
 We waited there until it was plumb night, not daring to move out yet;
 but we managed to boil our coffee and fry slap-jacks and meat.
 
 "The oxen kept up a bellowing and pawing around the corral, for they
 was desperate hungry and thirsty, hadn't had nothing since the night
 before; yet we couldn't help them any, as we didn't know whether we
 was shet of the Ingins or not.  We staid, patient-like, for two or
 three hours more after dark to see what the Ingins was going to do,
 as while we sot round our little fire of buffalo-chips, smoking our
 pipes, we could still hear the red devils a howling and chanting,
 while they picked up their dead laying along the river-bottom.
 
 "As soon as morning broke--we'd ketched a nap now and then during
 the night--we got ready for another charge of the Ingins, their
 favourite time being just 'bout daylight; but there warn't hide or
 hair of an Ingin in sight.  They'd sneaked off in the darkness long
 before the first streak of dawn; had enough of fighting, I expect.
 As soon as we discovered they'd all cleared out, we told the drivers
 to hitch up, and while they was yoking and watering, me 'n' Curtis
 and Comstock buried the dead Mexican on the bank of the river, as we
 didn't want to leave his bones to be picked by the coyotes, which
 was already setting on the sand hills watching and waiting for us
 to break camp.  By the time we'd finished our job, and piled some
 rocks on his grave, so as the varmints couldn't dig him up, the train
 was strung out on the Trail, and then we rolled out mighty lively
 for oxen; for the critters was hungry, and we had to travel three
 or four miles the other side of the Walnut, where the grass was green,
 before they could feed.  The oxen seen it on the hills and they
 lit out almost at a trot.  It was 'bout sun-up when we got there,
 when we turned the animals loose, corralled, and had breakfast.
 
 "After we'd had our smoke, all we had to do was to put in the time
 until five o'clock; for we couldn't move before then, as it would be
 too hot by the time the oxen got filled.  Paul and me went down to
 the creek fishing; there was tremendous cat in the Walnut them days,
 and by noon we'd ketched five big beauties, which we took to camp and
 cooked for dinner.  After I'd had my smoke, Paul and me went back to
 the creek, where we stretched ourselves under a good-sized box-elder
 tree--there wasn't no shade nowhere else--and took a sleep, while
 Comstock and Curtis went jack-rabbit hunting across the river, as we
 was getting scarce of meat.
 
 "Thorpe, who was hit in the arm with an arrow, couldn't do much but
 nuss his wound; so him and the Mexicans stood guard, a looking out
 for Ingins, as we didn't know but what the cusses might come back and
 make another raid on us, though we really didn't expect they would
 have the gall to bother us any more--least not the same outfit what
 had fought us the day before.  That evening, 'bout six o'clock,
 we rolled out again and went into camp late, having made twelve miles,
 and didn't see a sign of Ingins.
 
 "In ten days more we got to Independence without having no more
 trouble of no kind, and was surprised at our luck.  At Independence
 we Americans left the train, sold our furs, got a big price, too--
 each of us had a shot-bag full of gold and silver, more money than
 we know'd what to do with.  Me, Curtis, and Thorpe concluded we'd buy
 a new outfit, consisting of another six-mule wagon, and harness,
 so we'd have a full team, meaning to go back to the mountains with
 the first big caravan what left.
 
 "All the folks in the settlement what seen Paul took a great fancy
 to him.  Some wanted to adopt him, and some said I'd ought to take
 him to St. Louis and place him in an orphan asylum; but I 'lowed if
 there was going to be any adopting done, I'd do it myself, 'cause
 the kid seemed now just as if he was my own; besides the little
 fellow I know'd loved me and didn't want me to leave him.  I had
 kin-folks in Independence, an old aunt, and me and Paul staid there.
 She had a young gal with her, and she learned Paul out of books;
 so he picked up considerable, as we had to wait more than two months
 before Colonel St. Vrain's caravan was ready to start for New Mexico.
 
 "I bought Paul a coal-black pony, and had a suit of fine buckskin
 made for him out of the pelt of a black-tail deer I'd shot the winter
 before on Powder River.  The seams of his trousers was heavily
 fringed, and with his white sombrero, a riding around town on his
 pony, he looked like one of them Spanish Dons what the papers
 nowadays has pictures of; only he was smarter-looking than any Don
 I ever see in my life.
 
 "It was 'bout the last of August when we pulled out from Independence.
 Comstock staid with us until we got ready to go, and then lit out
 for St. Louis, and I hain't never seen him since.  The caravan had
 seventy-five six-mule teams in it, without counting ours, loaded with
 dry-goods and groceries for Mora, New Mexico, where Colonel St. Vrain,
 the owner, lived and had a big store.  We had no trouble with the
 Ingins going back across the plains; we seen lots, to be sure,
 hanging on our trail, but they never attacked us; we was too strong
 for them.
 
 "'Bout the last of September we reached Bent's Old Fort, on the
 Arkansas, where the Santa Fe Trail crosses the river into New Mexico,
 and we camped there the night we got to it.
 
 "I know'd they had cows up to the fort; so just before we was ready
 for supper, I took Paul and started to see if we couldn't get some
 milk for our coffee.  It wasn't far, and we was camped a few hundred
 yards from the gate, just outside the wall.  Well, we went into the
 kitchen, Paul right alongside of me, and there I seen a white woman
 leaning over the adobe hearth a cooking--they had always only been
 squaws before.  She naturally looked up to find out who was coming in,
 and when she seen the kid, all at once she give a scream, dropped the
 dish-cloth she had in her hand, made a break for Paul, throw'd her
 arms around him, nigh upsetting me, and says, while she was a sobbing
 and taking on dreadful,--
 
 "'My boy!  My boy!  Then I hain't prayed and begged the good Lord
 all these days and nights for nothing!'  Then she kind o' choked
 again, while Paul, he says, as he hung on to her,--
 
 "'O mamma!  O mamma!  I know'd you'd come back!  I know'd you'd
 come back!'
 
 "Well, there, boys, I just walked out of that kitchen a heap faster
 than I'd come into it, and shut the door.  When I got outside, for
 a few minutes I couldn't see nothing, I was worked up so.  As soon
 as I come to, I went through the gate down to camp as quick as my
 legs would carry me, to tell Thorpe and Curtis that Paul had found
 his ma.  They wanted to know all about it, but I couldn't tell them
 nothing, I was so dumfounded at the way things had turned out.
 We talked among ourselves a moment, then reckoned it was the best
 to go up to the fort together, and ask the woman how on earth she'd
 got shet of the Ingins what had took her off, and how it come she
 was cooking there.  We started out and when we got into the kitchen,
 there was Paul and Mrs. Dale, and you never see no people so happy.
 They was just as wild as a stampeded steer; she seemed to have growed
 ten years younger than when I first went up there, and as for Paul,
 he was in heaven for certain.
 
 "First we had to tell her how we'd got the kid, and how we'd learned
 to love him.  All the time we was telling of it, and our scrimmages
 with the Ingins, she was a crying and hugging Paul as if her heart
 was broke.  After we'd told all we know'd, we asked her to tell us
 her story, which she did, and it showed she was a woman of grit and
 education.
 
 "She said the Ingins what had captured her took her up to their camp
 on the Saw Log, a little creek north of Fort Dodge--you all know where
 it is--and there she staid that night.  Early in the morning they all
 started for the north.  She watched their ponies mighty close as
 they rid along that day, so as to find out which was the fastest;
 for she had made up her mind to make her escape the first chance
 she got.  She looked at the sun once in a while, to learn what course
 they was taking; so that she could go back when she got ready, strike
 the Sante Fe Trail, and get to some ranch, as she had seen several
 while passing through the foot-hills of the Raton Range when she was
 with the Mexican train.
 
 "It was on the night of the fourth day after they had left Saw Log,
 and had rid a long distance--was more than a hundred miles on their
 journey--when she determined to try and light out.  The whole camp
 was fast asleep, for the Ingins was monstrous tired.  She crawled
 out of the lodge where she'd been put with some old squaws, and
 going to where the ponies had been picketed, she took a little
 iron-gray she'd had her eye on, jumped on his back, with only the
 lariat for a bridle and without any saddle, not even a blanket,
 took her bearings from the north star, and cautiously moved out.
 She started on a walk, until she'd got 'bout four miles from camp,
 and then struck a lope, keeping it up all night.  By next morning
 she'd made some forty miles, and then for the first time since she'd
 left her lodge, pulled up and looked back, to see if any of the Ingins
 was following her.  When she seen there wasn't a living thing in sight,
 she got off her pony, watered him out of a small branch, took a drink
 herself, but not daring to rest yet, mounted her animal again and
 rid on as fast as she could without wearing him out too quickly.
 
 "Hour after hour she rid on, the pony appearing to have miraculous
 endurance, until sundown.  By that time she'd crossed the Saline,
 the Smoky Hill, and got to the top of the divide between that river
 and the Arkansas, or not more than forty miles from the Santa Fe Trail.
 Then her wonderful animal seemed to weaken; she couldn't even make
 him trot, and she was so nearly played out herself, she could hardly
 set steady.  What to do, she didn't know.  The pony was barely able
 to move at a slow walk.  She was afraid he would drop dead under her,
 and she was compelled to dismount, and in almost a minute, as soon
 as she laid down on the prairie, was fast asleep.
 
 "She had no idee how long she had slept when she woke up.  The sun was
 only 'bout two hours high.  Then she know'd she had been unconscious
 since sundown of the day before, or nigh twenty-four hours.  Rubbing
 her eyes, for she was kind o' bewildered, and looking around, there
 she saw her pony as fresh, seemingly, as when she'd started.
 He'd had plenty to eat, for the grass was good, but she'd had nothing.
 She pulled a little piece of dried buffalo-meat out of her bosom,
 which she'd brought along, all she could find at the lodge, and now
 nibbled at that, for she was mighty hungry.  She was terribly sore
 and stiff too, but she mounted at once and pushed on, loping and
 walking him by spells.  Just at daylight she could make out the
 Arkansas right in front of her in the dim gray of the early morning,
 not very far off.  On the west, the Raton Mountains loomed up like
 a great pile of blue clouds, the sight of which cheered her; for she
 know'd she would soon reach the Trail.
 
 "It wasn't quite noon when she struck the Santa Fe Trail.  When she
 got there, looking to the east, she saw in the distance, not more
 than three miles away, a large caravan coming, and then, almost wild
 with delight, she dismounted, sot down on the grass, and waited for
 it to arrive.  In less than an hour, the train come up to where she
 was, and as good luck would have it, it happened to be an American
 outfit, going to Taos with merchandise.  As soon as the master of
 the caravan seen her setting on the prairie, he rid up ahead of the
 wagons, and she told him her story.  He was a kind-hearted man;
 had the train stop right there on the bank of the river, though he
 wasn't half through his day's drive, so as to make her comfortable
 as possible, and give her something to eat; for she was 'bout
 played out.  He bought the Ingin pony, giving her thirty dollars
 for it, and after she had rested for some time, the caravan moved out.
 She rid in one of the wagons, on a bed of blankets, and the next
 evening arrived at Bent's Old Fort.  There she found women-folks,
 who cared for her and nussed her; for she was dreadfully sore and
 tired after her long ride.  Then she was hired to cook, meaning to
 work until she'd earned enough to take her back to Pennsylvany,
 to her mother's, where she had started for when the Ingins attackted
 the train.
 
 "That night, after listening to her mirac'lous escape, we made up
 a 'pot' for her, collecting 'bout eight hundred dollars.  The master
 of Colonel St. Vrain's caravan, what had come out with us, told her
 he was going back again to the river in a couple of weeks, and he'd
 take her and Paul in without costing her a cent; besides, she'd be
 safer than with any other outfit, as his train was a big one, and
 he had all American teamsters.
 
 "Next morning the caravan went on to Mora, and after we'd bid good-by
 to Mrs. Dale and Paul, before which I give the boy two hundred dollars
 for himself, me, Thorpe, and Curtis pulled out with our team north
 for Frenchman's Creek, and I never felt so miserable before nor since
 as I did parting with the kid that morning.  I hain't never seen him
 since; but he must be nigh forty now.  Mebby he went into the war and
 was killed; mebby he got to be a general, but I hain't forgot him."
 
 Uncle John knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and without saying
 another word went into the tent.  In a few moments the camp was as
 quiet as a country village on Sunday, excepting the occasional howling
 of a hungry wolf down in the timbered recesses of the Washita, or the
 crackling and sputtering of the signal fires on the hilltops.
 
 In a few days afterward, we were camping on Hackberry Creek, in the
 Indian Territory.  We had been living on wild turkey, as before for
 some time, and still longed for a change.  At last one of my hunters
 succeeded in bagging a dozen or more quails.  Late that evening,
 when my cook brought the delicious little birds, beautifully spitted
 and broiled on peeled willow twigs, into my tent, I passed one to
 Uncle John.  Much to the surprise of every one, he refused.  He said,
 "Boys, I don't eat no quail!"
 
 We looked at him in astonishment; for he was somewhat of a gourmand,
 and prided himself upon the "faculty," as he termed it, of being able
 to eat anything, from a piece of jerked buffalo-hide to the juiciest
 young antelope steak.
 
 I remonstrated with the venerable guide; said to him, "You are making
 a terrible mistake, Uncle John.  Tomorrow I expect to leave here, and
 as we are going directly away from the buffalo country, we don't know
 when we shall strike fresh meat again.  You'd better try one," and
 I again proffered one of the birds.
 
 "Boys," said he again, "I don't tech quail; I hain't eat one for
 more than twenty years.  One of the little cusses saved my life once,
 and I swore right thar and then that I would starve first; and I have
 kept my oath, though I've seen the time mighty often sence I could
 a killed 'em with my quirt, when all I had to chaw on for four days
 was the soles of a greasy pair of old moccasins.
 
 "Well, boys, it's a good many years ago--in June, if I don't disremember,
 1847.  We was a coming in from way up in Cache le Poudre and from
 Yellowstone Lake, whar we'd been a trapping for two seasons.  We was
 a working our way slowly back to Independence, Missouri, where we was
 a going to get a new outfit.  Let's see, there was me, and a man by
 the name of Boyd, and Lew Thorp--Lew was a working for Colonel Boone
 at the time--and two more men, whose names I disremember now, and a
 nigger wench we had for a cook.  We had mighty good luck, and had
 a big pile of skins; and the Indians never troubled us till we got
 down on Pawnee Bottom, this side of Pawnee Rock.  We all of us had
 mighty good ponies, but Thorp had a team and wagon, which he was
 driving for Colonel Boone.
 
 "We had went into camp on Pawnee Bottom airly in the afternoon, and
 I told the boys to look out for Ingins--for I knowed ef we was to have
 any trouble with them it would be somewhere in that vicinity.  But we
 didn't see a darned redskin that night, nor the sign of one.
 
 "The wolves howled considerable, and come pretty close to the fire
 for the bacon rinds we'd throwed away after supper.
 
 "You see the buffalo was scurse right thar then--it was the wrong
 time o' year.  They generally don't get down on to the Arkansas
 till about September, and when they're scurse the wolves and coyotes
 are mighty sassy, and will steal a piece of bacon rind right out of
 the pan, if you don't watch 'em.  So we picketed our ponies a little
 closer before we turned in, and we all went to sleep except one,
 who sort o' kept watch on the stock.
 
 "I was out o' my blankets mighty airly next morning, for I was kind
 o' suspicious.  I could always tell when Ingins was prowling around,
 and I had a sort of present'ment something was going to happen
 --I didn't like the way the coyotes kept yelling--so I rested kind o'
 oneasy like, and was out among the ponies by the first streak o'
 daylight.
 
 "About the time I could see things, I discovered three or four
 buffalo grazing off on the creek bottom, about a half-mile away,
 and I started for my rifle, thinking I would examine her.
 
 "Pretty soon I seed Thorp and Boyd crawl out o' their blankets, too,
 and I called their attention to the buffalo, which was still feeding
 undisturbed.
 
 "We'd been kind o' scurse of fresh meat for a couple of weeks--ever
 since we left the Platte--except a jack-rabbit or cottontail, and I
 knowed the boys would be wanting to get a quarter or two of a good
 fat cow, if we could find one in the herd, so that was the reason
 I pointed 'em out to 'em.
 
 "The dew, you see, was mighty heavy, and the grass in the bottom
 was as wet as if it had been raining for a month, and I didn't care
 to go down whar the buffalo was just then--I knowed we had plenty
 of time, and as soon as the sun was up it would dry right off.  So I
 got on to one of the ponies and led the others down to the spring
 near camp to water them while the wench was a getting breakfast, and
 some o' the rest o' the outfit was a fixing the saddles and greasing
 the wagon.
 
 "Just as I was coming back--it had growed quite light then--I seed Boyd
 and Thorp start out from camp with their rifles and make for the
 buffalo; so I picketed the ponies, gets my rifle, and starts off too.
 
 "By the time I'd reached the edge of the bottom, Thorp and Boyd was
 a crawling up on to a young bull way off to the right, and I lit out
 for a fat cow I seen bunched up with the rest of the herd on the left.
 
 "The grass was mighty tall on some parts of the Arkansas bottom in them
 days, and I got within easy shooting range without the herd seeing me.
 
 "The buffalo was now between me and Thorp and Boyd, and they was
 furtherest from camp.  I could see them over the top of the grass
 kind o' edging up to the bull, and I kept a crawling on my hands and
 knees toward the cow, and when I got about a hundred and fifty yards
 of her, I pulled up my rifle and drawed a bead.
 
 "Just as I was running my eyes along the bar'l, a darned little quail
 flew right out from under my feet and lit exactly on my front sight
 and of course cut off my aim--we didn't shoot reckless in those days;
 every shot had to tell, or a man was the laughing-stock for a month
 if he missed his game.
 
 "I shook the little critter off and brought up my rifle again when,
 durn my skin, if the bird didn't light right on to the same place;
 at the same time my eyes grow'd kind o' hazy-like and in a minute
 I didn't know nothing.
 
 "When I come to, the quail was gone, I heerd a couple of rifle shots,
 and right in front of where the bull had stood and close to Thorp and
 Boyd, half a dozen Ingins jumped up out o' the tall grass and, firing
 into the two men, killed Thorp instantly and wounded Boyd.
 
 "He and me got to camp--keeping off the Ingins, who knowed I was loaded--
 when we, with the rest of the outfit, drove the red devils away.
 
 "They was Apaches, and the fellow that shot Thorp was a half-breed
 nigger and Apache.  He scalped Thorp and carred off the whole upper
 part of his skull with it.  He got Thorp's rifle and bullet-pouch too,
 and his knife.
 
 "We buried Thorp in the bottom there, and some of the party cut their
 names on the stones that they covered his body up with, to keep the
 coyotes from eating up his bones.
 
 "Boyd got on to the river with us all right, and I never heerd of him
 after we separated at Booneville.  We pulled out soon after the
 Indians left, but we didn't get no buffalo-meat.
 
 "You see, boys, if I'd a fired into that cow, the devils would a
 had me before I could a got a patch on my ball--didn't have no
 breech-loaders in them days, and it took as much judgment to know
 how to load a rifle properly as it did to shoot it.
 
 "Them Ingins knowed all that--they knowed I hadn't fired, so they
 kept a respectable distance.  I would a fired, but the quail saved
 my life by interfering with my sight--and that's the reason I don't
 eat no quail.  I hain't superstitious, but I don't believe they was
 meant to be eat."
 
 Uncle John stuck to his text, I believe, until he died, and you
 could never disabuse his mind of the idea that the quail lighting
 on his rifle was not a special interposition of Providence.
 
 Only four years after he told his story, in 1872, one of the newly
 established settlers, living a few miles west of Larned on Pawnee
 Bottom, having observed in one of his fields a singular depression,
 resembling an old grave, determined to dig down and see if there was
 any special cause for the strange indentation on his land.
 
 A couple of feet below the surface he discovered several flat pieces
 of stone, on one of which the words "Washington" and "J. Hildreth"
 were rudely cut, also a line separating them, and underneath:
 "December tenth" and "J. M., 1850."  On another was carved the name
 "J. H. Shell," with other characters that could not be deciphered.
 On a third stone were the initials "H. R., 1847"; underneath which
 was plainly cut "J. R. Boyd," and still beneath "J. R. Pring."
 At the very bottom of the excavation were found the lower portion
 of the skull, one or two ribs, and one of the bones of the leg of
 a human being.  The piece of skull was found near the centre of the
 grave, for such it certainly was.
 
 At the time of the discovery I was in Larned, and I immediately
 consulted my book of notes and memoranda taken hurriedly at intervals
 on the plains and in the mountains, during more than half my lifetime,
 to see if I could find anything that would solve the mystery attached
 to the quiet prairie-grave and its contents, and I then recalled
 Uncle John Smith's story of the quail as related to me at my camp.
 I also met Colonel A. G. Boone that winter in Washington; he remembered
 the circumstances well.  Thorp was working for him, as Smith had
 said, and was killed by an Apache, who, in scalping him, tore the
 half of his head away, and it was thus found mutilated, so
 many years afterward.
 
 Uncle John was in one of his garrulous moods that night, and as we
 were not by any means tired of hearing the veteran trapper talk,
 without much urging he told us the following tale:--
 
 "Well, boys, thirty years ago, beaver, mink, and otter was found in
 abundacious quantities on all the streams in the Rocky Mountains.
 The trade in them furs was a paying business, for the little army
 of us fellows called trappers.  They ain't any of 'em left now,
 no mor'n the animals we used to hunt.  We had to move about from
 place to place, just as if we was so many Ingins.  Sometimes we'd
 construct little cabins in the timber, or a dugout where the game
 was plenty, where we'd stay maybe for a month or two, and once in
 a while--though not often--a whole year.
 
 "The Ingins was our mortal enemies; they'd get a scalp from our
 fellows occasionally, but for every one they had of ours we had
 a dozen of theirs.
 
 "In the summer of 1846, there was a little half dugout, half cabin,
 opposite the mouth of Frenchman's Creek, put up by Bill Thorpe,
 Al Boyd, and Rube Stevens.  Bill and Al was men grown, and know'd
 more 'bout the prairies and timber than the Ingins themselves.
 They'd hired out to the Northwest Fur Company when they was mere kids,
 and kept on trapping ever since.  Rube--'Little Rube' as all the
 old men called him--was 'bout nineteen, and plumb dumb; he could hear
 well enough though, for he wasn't born that way.  When he was seventeen
 his father moved from his farm in Pennsylvany, to take up a claim
 in Oregon, and the whole family was compelled to cross the plains
 to get there; for there wasn't no other way.  While they was camped
 in the Bitter-Root valley one evening, just 'bout sundown, a party
 of Blackfeet surprised the outfit, and massacred all of them but Rube.
 They carried him off, kept him as a slave, and, to make sure of him,
 cut out his tongue at the roots.  But some of the women who wasn't
 quite so devilish as their husbands, and who took pity on him, went
 to work and cured him of his awful wound.  He was used mighty mean
 by the bucks of the tribe, and made up his mind to get away from them
 or kill himself; for he could not live under their harsh treatment.
 After he'd been with them for mor'n a year, the tribe had a terrible
 battle with the Sioux, and in the scrimmage Rube stole a pony and
 lit out.  He rode on night and day until he came across the cabin
 of the two trappers I have told you 'bout, and they, of course,
 took the poor boy in and cared for him.
 
 "Rube was a splendid shot with the rifle, and he swore to himself
 that he would never leave the prairies and do nothing for the rest
 of his life but kill Ingins, who had made him a homeless orphan,
 and so mutilated him.
 
 "After Rube had been with Boyd and Thorpe a year, they was all one
 day in the winter examining their traps which was scattered 'long
 the stream for miles.  After re-baiting them, they concluded to hunt
 for meat, which was getting scarce at the cabin; they let Rube go
 down to the creek where it widened out lake-like, to fish through
 a hole in the ice, and Al and Bill took their rifles and hunted in
 the timber for deer.  They all got separated of course, Rube being
 furtherest away, while Al and Bill did not wander so far from each
 other that they could not be heard if one wanted his companion.
 
 "Al shot a fat black-tail deer, and just as he was going to stoop
 down to cut its throat, Bill yelled out to him:--
 
 "'Drop everything Al, for God's sake, and let's make for the dugout;
 they're coming, a whole band of Sioux!'
 
 "'If we can get to the cabin,' replied Al, 'we can keep off the whole
 nation.  I wonder where Rube is?  I hope he'll get here and save
 his scalp.'
 
 "At this instant, poor Rube dashed up to them, an Ingin close upon
 his tracks; he had unfortunately forgotten to take his rifle with
 him when he went to the creek, and now he was at the mercy of the
 savage; at least both he and his pursuer so thought.  But before
 the Ingin had fairly uttered his yell of exultation, Al who with
 Bill had held his rifle in readiness for an emergency, lifted the
 red devil off his feet, and he fell dead without ever knowing what
 had struck him.
 
 "Rube, thus delivered from a sudden death, ran at the top of his
 speed with his two friends for the cabin, for, if they could reach it,
 they did not fear a hundred paint-bedaubed savages.
 
 "Luckily they arrived in time.  Where they lived was part dugout and
 part cabin.  It was about ten feet high, and right back of it was
 a big ledge of rock, which made it impossible for any one to get
 into it from that side.  The place had no door; they did not dare
 to put one there when it was built, for they were likely to be
 surprised at any moment by a prowling band, so the only entrance was
 a square hole in the roof, through which one at a time had to crawl
 to enter.
 
 "The boys got inside all right just as the Ingins came a yelling up.
 Bill looked out of a hole in the wall and counted thirty of the
 devils, and said at once: 'Off with your coats; don't let them have
 anything to catch hold of but our naked bodies if they get in, and
 we can handle ourselves better.'
 
 "'Thirty to three,' said Al.  'Whew! this ain't going to be any
 boy's play; we've got to fight for all there is in it, and the
 chances are mightily agin us.'
 
 "Rube he took an axe, and stood right under the hole in the roof,
 so that if any of the devils got in he could brain them.  In a minute
 five rifles cracked; for the Ingins was pretty well armed for them
 times, and their bullets rattled agin the logs like hail agin a tent.
 Some of 'em was on top the roof by this time, and soon the leader of
 the party, a big painted devil, thrust his ugly face into the hole;
 but he had hardly got a good look before Bill dropped him by a
 well-directed shot and he tumbled in on the floor.
 
 "'You darned fool,' said Bill, as he saw the effect of his shot;
 'did you think we was asleep?'
 
 "There was one opening that served for air, and a savage, seeing
 the boys had forgotten to barricade it, tried to push himself
 through, an' not succeeding, tried to back out, but at that instant
 Bill caught him by the wrist--Bill was a powerful man--and picking up
 a beaver-trap that laid on the floor, actually beat his brains
 out with it.
 
 "While this circus was going on inside, three more of the Ingins got
 on the roof and wrenched off a couple of the logs that covered it;
 but in a minute they came tumbling down and lay dead on the floor.
 
 "'That leaves only twenty-five, don't it?' inquired Al, as he mopped
 his face with his shirt-sleeve.
 
 "'Howl, you red devils,' said Bill, as the Ingins commenced their
 awful yelling when they saw their comrades fall into the room.
 'Don't you know, you blame fools, you've fell in with experienced
 hands at the shooting business?'
 
 "Spat!  Something hit Al, and he was the first wounded, but it was
 only a scratch, and he kept right on attending to business.
 
 "'By gosh! look at Rube, will you?' said Al.  The dumb boy had in
 his grasp the very chief of the band, who had just then discovered
 the hole in the roof made by the three Ingins who had passed in
 their checks for their impudence, and was trying his best to push
 himself down.  Rube had made a strike at him with an axe, but the
 edge was turned aside, and the savage was getting the better of
 the boy; he had grappled Rube by the hair and one arm, and they was
 flying 'round like a wild cat and a hound.  Bill tried three times
 to sink his knife into the old chief, but there was such a cavortin'
 in the wrastle between him and the boy, he was afraid to try any more,
 for fear it might hit Rube instead.  Suddenly the Ingin fell to the
 floor as dead as a trapped beaver what's been drowned; Rube had
 struck his buckhorn-handled hunting-knife right into the heart of
 the brute.
 
 "'Set him agin the hole in the side of the building,' said Bill;
 'he ain't fit for nothing else than to stop a gap'; so Rube set him
 agin the hole, and pinned him there with half a dozen knives what
 was lying round loose.
 
 "Just as they had fastened the dead body of the old chief to the
 side of the cabin, a perfect shower of bullets came rattling round
 like a hailstorm.  'All right, let's have your waste lead,' said Bill.
 
 "'A few more of these dead Ingins and we can make a regular fort of
 this old cabin; we want two for that chunk,' said Al, as he pointed
 with his rifle to a large gap on the west side of the wall; but
 before he had fairly got the words out of his mouth, two of the
 attacking party jumped down into the room.  Al, being a regular giant,
 as soon as they landed, surprised them by seizing one with each hand
 by the throat, and he actually held them at arm's-length till he had
 squeezed the very life out of them, and they both fell corpses.
 
 "While Al was performing his two-Ingin act, a great light burst into
 the cabin, and by the time he had choked his enemies to death, he saw,
 while the Ingins outside gave a terrible yell of exultation, that
 they had fired the place.
 
 "'Damn 'em,' shouted Bill, as he pitched the corpse of the chief
 from the gap where Rube had set him.  'Fellows, we've got to get
 out of here right quick; follow me, boys!'
 
 "Holding their rifles in hand, and clutching a hunting-knife also,
 they stepped out into the brush surrounding the place, and started
 on a run for the heavy timber on the bank of the creek.
 
 "They had reckoned onluckily; a wild war-whoop greeted the flying men
 as they reached the edge of the forest, and without being able to use
 their arms, they were taken prisoners.  Bill and Al, fastened with
 their backs against each other, and Little Rube by himself, were
 bound to separate trees, but not so far apart that they could not
 speak to each other, and some of the Ingins began to gather sticks
 and pile them around the trees.
 
 "'What are they going to do with us?' anxiously inquired Bill of Al.
 
 "'Roast us, you bet,' replied the other.  'They'll find me tough
 enough, anyhow.'
 
 "'It must be a painful death,' soliloquized Bill.
 
 "'Well, it isn't the most pleasant one, you can gamble on that,'
 said Al, turning his looks toward Bill; 'but see what the devils
 are doing to poor Rube.'
 
 "Bill cast his eyes in the direction of the dumb boy, who was fastened
 to a small pine, about a hundred feet distant.  Standing directly
 in front of it was a gigantic Ingin, flourishing his scalping-knife
 within an inch of Rube's head, trying to make the boy flinch.
 But the young fellow merely scowled at him in a rage, his muscles
 never quivering for an instant.
 
 "While the men were trying to console each other, two of the savages,
 who had gone away for a short time, returned, bearing the carcass
 of the deer that Al had killed in the morning, and commenced to cut
 it up.  They had made several small fires, and roasting the meat
 before them, began to gorge themselves, Indian fashion, with the
 savoury morsels.  The men were awfully hungry, too, but not a mouthful
 did they get of their own game.
 
 "The Ingins were more'n an hour feasting, while their prisoners kept
 a looking for some help to get 'em out of the scrape they was in.
 
 "'Bout a mile down the creek, me and six other trappers had a camp,
 and that morning, being scarce of meat, we all went a hunting.
 We had killed two or three elk and was 'bout going back to camp with
 our game, when we heard firing, and supposed it was a party of hunters,
 like ourselves, so we did not pay any attention to it at first; but
 when it kept up so long, and there was such a constant volley, I told
 our boys it might be a scrimmage with a party of red devils, and we
 concluded to go and see.
 
 "We left our elk where they were, and started in the direction of
 the shooting, taking mighty good care not to be surprised ourselves.
 We crept carefully on, and a little before sundown seen a camp-fire
 burning in the timber quite a smart piece ahead of us.  We stopped
 then, and Ike Pettet and myself crept on cautiously on our hands and
 knees through the brush to learn what the fire meant.  In a little
 while we seen it was an Ingin camp, and we counted twenty-two
 warriors seated 'round their fires a eating as unconcernedly as if
 we warn't nowhere near 'em.  We didn't feel like tackling so many,
 so just as we was 'bout to crawl away and leave 'em in ondisturbed
 possession of their camp, we heard some parties talking in English.
 Then we pricked up our ears and listened mighty interested I tell you.
 Looking 'round, we seen the men tied to the trees and the wood piled
 against 'em, and then we knowed what was up.  We had to be mighty
 wary, for if we snapped a twig even, it was all day with us and
 the prisoners too; so we dragged ourselves back, and after getting
 out of sound of the Ingins, we just got up and lit out mighty lively
 for the place we'd left our companions.  We met them coming slowly
 on 'bout two miles from the Ingin camp, and telling 'em what was up
 we started to help the trappers what the devils was agoing to burn.
 We wasn't half so long in getting at the camp as Ike and me was
 in going, and we soon come within good range for our rifles.
 
 "The Ingins was still unsuspicious, and we spread ourselves in a
 sort of half circle so as to kind o' surround them, and at a signal
 I give, seven rifles cracked at once, and as many of the Injins was
 dropped right in their tracks; a second volley, for the red devils
 had not got their senses yet, tumbled seven more corpses upon the
 pile, and then we white men jumped in with our knives and clubbed
 rifles, and there was a lively scrimmage for a few minutes.  The few
 Ingins what wasn't killed fought like devils, but as we was getting
 the best of 'em every second they turned tail and ran.
 
 "We'd heard the firing of the fight at the cabin just in time; and
 as we cut the rawhide strings that bound the fellows to the trees,
 Ike, who was a right fine shot and had killed three at one time,
 said: 'I always like to get two or three of the red devils in a line
 before I pull the trigger; it saves lead.'
 
 "Then we all went back to our camp and made a night of it, feasting
 on the elk we had killed, and talking over the wonderful escape of
 the boys and Little Rube." 


 

KIT CARSON.
 
 
 
 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
 donors.
 
 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
 preserved.
 
 "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." 


 

UNCLE DICK WOOTON.
 
 
 
 Immediately after Kit Carson, the second wreath of pioneer laurels,
 for bravery and prowess as an Indian fighter, and trapper, must be
 conceded to Richens Lacy Wooton, known first as "Dick," in his
 younger days on the plains, then, when age had overtaken him,
 as "Uncle Dick."
 
 Born in Virginia, his father, when he was but seven years of age,
 removed with his family to Kentucky, where he cultivated a tobacco
 plantation.  Like his predecessor and lifelong friend Carson,
 young Wooton tired of the monotony of farming, and in the summer
 of 1836 made a trip to the busy frontier town of Independence,
 Missouri, where he found a caravan belonging to Colonel St. Vrain
 and the Bents, already loaded, and ready to pull out for the fort
 built by the latter, and named for them.
 
 Wooton had a fair business education, and was superior in this
 respect to his companions in the caravan to which he had attached
 himself.  It was by those rough, but kind-hearted, men that he was
 called "Dick," as they could not readily master the more complicated
 name of "Richens."
 
 When he started from Independence on his initial trip across the
 plains, he was only nineteen, but, like all Kentuckians, perfectly
 familiar with a rifle, and could shoot out a squirrel's eye with
 the certainty which long practice and hardened nerves assures.
 
 The caravan, in which he was employed as a teamster, was composed
 of only seven wagons; but a larger one, in which were more than fifty,
 had preceded it, and as that was heavily laden, and the smaller one
 only lightly, it was intended to overtake the former before the
 dangerous portions of the Trail were reached, which it did in a few
 days and was assigned a place in the long line.
 
 Every man had to take his turn in standing guard, and the first night
 that it fell to young Wooton was at Little Cow Creek, in the Upper
 Arkansas valley.  Nothing had occurred thus far during the trip
 to imperil the safety of the caravan, nor was any attack by the
 savages looked for.
 
 Wooton's post comprehended the whole length of one side of the corral,
 and his instructions were to shoot anything he saw moving outside
 of the line of mules farthest from the wagons.  The young sentry
 was very vigilant.  He did not feel at all sleepy, but eagerly
 watched for something that might possibly come within the prescribed
 distance, though not really expecting such a contingency.
 
 About two o'clock he heard a slight noise, and saw something moving
 about, sixty or seventy yards from where he was lying on the ground,
 to which he had dropped the moment the strange sound reached his ears.
 Of course, his first thoughts were of Indians, and the more he peered
 through the darkness at the slowly moving object, the more convinced
 he was that it must be a blood-thirsty savage.
 
 He rose to his feet and blazed away, the shot rousing everbody, and
 all came rushing with their guns to learn what the matter was.
 
 Wooton told the wagon-master that he had seen what he supposed was
 an Indian trying to slip up to the mules, and that he had killed him.
 Some of the men crept very circumspectly to the spot where the
 supposed dead savage was lying, while young Wooton remained at his
 post eagerly waiting for their report.  Presently he heard a voice
 cry out: "I'll be d---d ef he hain't killed 'Old Jack!'"
 
 "Old Jack" was one of the lead mules of one of the wagons.  He had
 torn up his picket-pin and strayed outside of the lines, with the
 result that the faithful brute met his death at the hands of the
 sentry.  Wooton declared that he was not to be blamed; for the animal
 had disobeyed orders, while he had strictly observed them![53]
 
 At Pawnee Fork, a few days later, the caravan had a genuine tussle
 with the Comanches.  It was a bright moonlight night, and about two
 hundred of the mounted savages attacked them.  It was a rare thing
 for Indians to begin a raid after dark, but they swept down on the
 unsuspecting teamsters, yelling like a host of demons.  They were
 armed with bows and arrows generally, though a few of them had
 fusees.[54]  They received a warm greeting, although they were not
 expected, the guard noticing the savages in time to prevent a stampede
 of the animals, which evidently was the sole purpose for which they
 came, as they did not attempt to break through the corral to get at
 the wagons.  It was the mules they were after.  They charged among
 the men, vainly endeavouring to frighten the animals and make them
 break loose, discharging showers of arrows as they rode by.  The camp
 was too hot for them, however, defended as it was by old teamsters
 who had made the dangerous passage of the plains many times before,
 and were up to all the Indian tactics.  They failed to get a single
 mule, but paid for their temerity by leaving three of their party
 dead, just where they had been tumbled off their horses, not even
 having time to carry the bodies off, as they usually do.
 
 Wooton passed some time during the early days of his career at
 Bent's Fort, in 1836-37.  He was a great favourite with both of
 the proprietors, and with them went to the several Indian villages,
 where he learned the art of trading with the savages.
 
 The winters of the years mentioned were noted for the incursions
 of the Pawnees into the region of the fort.  They always pretended
 friendship for the whites, when any of them were inside of its sacred
 precincts, but their whole manner changed when they by some stroke
 of fortune caught a trapper or hunter alone on the prairie or in
 the foot-hills; he was a dead man sure, and his scalp was soon
 dangling at the belt of his cowardly assassins.  Hardly a day passed
 without witnessing some poor fellow running for the fort with a band
 of the red devils after him; frequently he escaped the keen edge of
 their scalping-knife, but every once in a while a man was killed.
 At one time, two herders who were with their animals within fifty
 yards of the fort, going out to the grazing ground, were killed and
 every hoof of stock run off.
 
 A party from the fort, comprising only eight men, among whom was
 young Wooton, made up for lost time with the Indians, at the crossing
 of Pawnee Fork, the same place where he had had his first fight.
 The men had set out from the fort for the purpose of meeting a small
 caravan of wagons from the East, loaded with supplies for the Bents'
 trading post.  It happened that a band of sixteen Pawnees were
 watching for the arrival of the train, too.[55]  Wooton's party were
 well mounted, while the Pawnees were on foot, and although the savages
 were two to one, the advantage was decidedly in favour of the whites.
 
 The Indians were armed with bows and arrows only, and while it was
 an easy matter for the whites to keep out of the way of the shower
 of missiles which the Indians commenced to hurl at them, the latter
 became an easy prey to the unerring rifles of their assailants,
 who killed thirteen out of the sixteen in a very short time.
 The remaining three took French leave of their comrades at the
 beginning of the conflict, and abandoning their arms rushed up to
 the caravan, which was just appearing over a small divide, and gave
 themselves up.  The Indian custom was observed in their case,[56]
 although it was rarely that any prisoners were taken in these
 conflicts on the Trail.  Another curious custom was also followed.[57]
 When the party encamped they were well fed, and the next morning
 supplied with rations enough to last them until they could reach one
 of their villages, and sent off to tell their head chief what had
 become of the rest of his warriors.
 
 Wooton had an adventure once while he was stationed at Bent's Fort
 during a trading expedition with the Utes, on the Purgatoire, or
 Purgatory River,[58] about ten or twelve miles from Trinidad.
 He had taken with him, with others, a Shawnee Indian.  Only a short
 time before their departure from the fort, an Indian of that tribe
 had been murdered by a Ute, and one day this Shawnee who was with
 Wooton spied a Ute, when revenge inspired him, and he forthwith
 killed his enemy.  Knowing that as soon as the news of the shooting
 reached the Ute village, which was not a great distance off,
 the whole tribe would be down upon him, Wooton abandoned any attempt
 to trade with them and tried to get out of their country as quickly
 as he could.
 
 As he expected, the Utes followed on his trail, and came up with his
 little party on a prairie where there was not the slightest chance
 to ambush or hide.  They had to fight, because they could not help
 it, but resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, as the
 Utes outnumbered them twenty to one; Wooton having only eight men
 with him, including the Shawnee.
 
 The pack-animals, of which they had a great many, loaded with the
 goods intended for the savages, were corralled in a circle, inside
 of which the men hurried themselves and awaited the first assault
 of the foe.  In a few moments the Utes began to circle around the
 trappers and open fire.  The trappers promptly responded, and they
 made every shot count; for all of the men, not even excepting the
 Shawnee, were experts with the rifle.  They did not mind the arrows
 which the Utes showered upon them, as few, if any, reached to where
 they stood.  The savages had a few guns, but they were of the poorest
 quality; besides, they did not know how to handle them then as they
 learned to do later, so their bullets were almost as harmless as
 their arrows.
 
 The trappers made terrible havoc among the Utes' horses, killing
 so many of them that the savages in despair abandoned the fight and
 gave Wooton and his men an opportunity to get away, which they did
 as rapidly as possible.
 
 The Raton Pass, through which the Old Trail ran, was a relatively
 fair mountain road, but originally it was almost impossible for
 anything in the shape of a wheeled vehicle to get over the narrow
 rock-ribbed barrier; saddle horses and pack-mules could, however,
 make the trip without much difficulty.  It was the natural highway to
 southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico, but the overland
 coaches could not get to Trinidad by the shortest route, and as the
 caravans also desired to make the same line, it occurred to Uncle
 Dick that he would undertake to hew out a road through the pass,
 which, barring grades, should be as good as the average turnpike.
 He could see money in it for him, as he expected to charge toll,
 keeping the road in repair at his own expense, and he succeeded in
 procuring from the legislatures of Colorado and New Mexico charters
 covering the rights and privileges which he demanded for his project.
 
 In the spring of 1866, Uncle Dick took up his abode on the top of
 the mountains, built his home, and lived there until two years ago,
 when he died at a very ripe old age.
 
 The old trapper had imposed on himself anything but an easy task in
 constructing his toll-road.  There were great hillsides to cut out,
 immense ledges of rocks to blast, bridges to build by the dozen, and
 huge trees to fell, besides long lines of difficult grading to engineer.
 
 Eventually Uncle Dick's road was a fact, but when it was completed,
 how to make it pay was a question that seriously disturbed his mind.
 The method he employed to solve the problem I will quote in his
 own words: "Such a thing as a toll-road was unknown in the country
 at that time.  People who had come from the States understood,
 of course, that the object of building a turnpike was to enable
 the owner to collect toll from those who travelled over it, but I
 had to deal with a great many people who seemed to think that they
 should be as free to travel over my well-graded and bridged roadway
 as they were to follow an ordinary cow path.
 
 "I may say that I had five classes of patrons to do business with.
 There was the stage company and its employees, the freighters, the
 military authorities, who marched troops and transported supplies
 over the road, the Mexicans, and the Indians.
 
 "With the stage company, the military authorities, and the American
 freighters I had no trouble.  With the Indians, when a band came
 through now and then, I didn't care to have any controversy about
 so small a matter as a few dollars toll!  Whenever they came along,
 the toll-gate went up, and any other little thing I could do to
 hurry them on was done promptly and cheerfully.  While the Indians
 didn't understand anything about the system of collecting tolls,
 they seemed to recognize the fact that I had a right to control
 the road, and they would generally ride up to the gate and ask
 permission to go through.  Once in a while the chief of a band would
 think compensation for the privilege of going through in order, and
 would make me a present of a buckskin or something of that sort.
 
 "My Mexican patrons were the hardest to get along with.  Paying for
 the privilege of travelling over any road was something they were
 totally unused to, and they did not take to it kindly.  They were
 pleased with my road and liked to travel over it, until they came
 to the toll-gate.  This they seemed to look upon as an obstruction
 that no man had a right to place in the way of a free-born native
 of the mountain region.  They appeared to regard the toll-gate as
 a new scheme for holding up travellers for the purpose of robbery,
 and many of them evidently thought me a kind of freebooter, who ought
 to be suppressed by law.
 
 "Holding these views, when I asked them for a certain amount of money,
 before raising the toll-gate, they naturally differed with me very
 frequently about the propriety of complying with the request.
 
 "In other words, there would be at such times probably an honest
 difference of opinion between the man who kept the toll-gate and
 the man who wanted to get through it.  Anyhow, there was a difference,
 and such differences had to be adjusted.  Sometimes I did it through
 diplomacy, and sometimes I did it with a club.  It was always settled
 one way, however, and that was in accordance with the toll schedule,
 so that I could never have been charged with unjust discrimination
 of rates."
 
 Soon after the road was opened a company composed of Californians
 and Mexicans, commanded by a Captain Haley, passed Uncle Dick's
 toll-gate and house, escorting a large caravan of about a hundred
 and fifty wagons.  While they stopped there, a non-commissioned
 officer of the party was brutally murdered by three soldiers, and
 Uncle Dick came very near being a witness to the atrocious deed.
 
 The murdered man was a Mexican, and his slayers were Mexicans too.
 The trouble originated at Las Vegas, where the privates had been
 bound and gagged, by order of the corporal, for creating a disturbance
 at a fandango the evening before.
 
 The name of the corporal was Juan Torres, and he came down to Uncle
 Dick's one evening while the command was encamped on the top of the
 mountain, accompanied by the three privates, who had already plotted
 to kill him, though he had not the slightest suspicion of it.
 
 Uncle Dick, in telling the story, said: "They left at an early hour,
 going in an opposite direction from their camp, and I closed my doors
 soon after, for the night.  They had not been gone more than half
 an hour, when I heard them talking not far from my house, and a few
 seconds later I heard the half-suppressed cry of a man who has
 received his death-blow.
 
 "I had gone to bed, and lay for a minute or two thinking whether I
 should get up and go to the rescue or insure my own safety by
 remaining where I was.
 
 "A little reflection convinced me that the murderers were undoubtedly
 watching my house, to prevent any interference with the carrying out
 of their plot, and that if I ventured out I should only endanger
 my own life, while there was scarcely a possibility of my being
 able to save the life of the man who had been assailed.
 
 "In the morning, when I got up, I found the dead body of the corporal
 stretched across Raton Creek, not more than a hundred yards from my house.
 
 "As I surmised, he had been struck with a heavy club or stone, and
 it was at that time that I heard his cry.  After that his brains
 had been beaten out, and the body left where I had found it.
 
 "I at once notified Captain Haley of the occurrence, and identified
 the men who had been in company with the corporal, and who were
 undoubtedly his murderers.
 
 "They were taken into custody, and made a confession, in which they
 stated that one of their number had stood at my door on the night
 of the murder to shoot me if I had ventured out to assist the
 corporal.  Two of the scoundrels were hung afterward at Las Vegas,
 and the third sent to prison for life."
 
 The corporal was buried near where the soldiers were encamped at
 the time of the tragedy, and it is his lonely grave which frequently
 attracts the attention of the passengers on the Atchison, Topeka,
 and Santa Fe trains, just before the Raton tunnel is reached, as
 they travel southward.
 
 In 1866-67 the Indians broke out, infesting all the most prominent
 points of the Old Santa Fe Trail, and watching an opportunity to
 rob and murder, so that the government freight caravans and the
 stages had to be escorted by detachments of troops.  Fort Larned
 was the western limit where these escorts joined the outfits going
 over into New Mexico.
 
 There were other dangers attending the passage of the Trail to
 travellers by the stage besides the attacks of the savages.  These
 were the so-called road agents--masked robbers who regarded life as
 of little worth in the accomplishment of their nefarious purposes.
 Particularly were they common after the mines of New Mexico began
 to be operated by Americans.  The object of the bandits was generally
 the strong box of the express company, which contained money and
 other valuables.  They did not, of course, hesitate to take what
 ready cash and jewelry the passengers might happen to have upon
 their persons, and frequently their hauls amounted to large sums.
 
 When the coaches began to travel over Uncle Dick's toll-road, his
 house was made a station, and he had many stage stories.  He said:--
 
 "Tavern-keepers in those days couldn't choose their guests, and we
 entertained them just as they came along.  The knights of the road
 would come by now and then, order a meal, eat it hurriedly, pay for
 it, and move on to where they had arranged to hold up a stage that
 night.  Sometimes they did not wait for it to get dark, but halted
 the stage, went through the treasure box in broad daylight, and
 then ordered the driver to move on in one direction, while they
 went off in another.
 
 "One of the most daring and successful stage robberies that I remember
 was perpetrated by two men, when the east-bound coach was coming up
 on the south side of the Raton Mountains, one day about ten o'clock
 in the forenoon.
 
 "On the morning of the same day, a little after sunrise, two rather
 genteel-looking fellows, mounted on fine horses, rode up to my
 house and ordered breakfast.  Being informed that breakfast would
 be ready in a few minutes, they dismounted, hitched their horses
 near the door, and came into the house.
 
 "I knew then, just as well as I do now, they were robbers, but I
 had no warrant for their arrest, and I should have hesitated about
 serving it if I had, because they looked like very unpleasant men
 to transact that kind of business with.
 
 "Each of them had four pistols sticking in his belt and a repeating
 rifle strapped on to his saddle.  When they dismounted, they left
 their rifles with the horses, but walked into the house and sat down
 at the table, without laying aside the arsenal which they carried
 in their belts.
 
 "They had little to say while eating, but were courteous in their
 behaviour, and very polite to the waiters.  When they had finished
 breakfast, they paid their bills, and rode leisurely up the mountain.
 
 "It did not occur to me that they would take chances on stopping
 the stage in daylight, or I should have sent some one to meet the
 incoming coach, which I knew would be along shortly, to warn the
 driver and passengers to be on the lookout for robbers.
 
 "It turned out, however, that a daylight robbery was just what they
 had in mind, and they made a success of it.
 
 "About halfway down the New Mexico side of the mountain, where the
 canyon is very narrow, and was then heavily wooded on either side,
 the robbers stopped and waited for the coach.  It came lumbering
 along by and by, neither the driver nor the passengers dreaming of
 a hold-up.
 
 "The first intimation they had of such a thing was when they saw
 two men step into the road, one on each side of the stage, each of
 them holding two cocked revolvers, one of which was brought to bear
 on the passengers and the other on the driver, who were politely
 but very positively told that they must throw up their hands without
 any unnecessary delay, and the stage came to a standstill.
 
 "There were four passengers in the coach, all men, but their hands
 went up at the same instant that the driver dropped his reins and
 struck an attitude that suited the robbers.
 
 "Then, while one of the men stood guard, the other stepped up to
 the stage and ordered the treasure box thrown off.  This demand was
 complied with, and the box was broken and rifled of its contents,
 which fortunately were not of very great value.
 
 "The passengers were compelled to hand out their watches and other
 jewelry, as well as what money they had in their pockets, and then
 the driver was directed to move up the road.  In a minute after
 this the robbers had disappeared with their booty, and that was
 the last seen of them by that particular coach-load of passengers.
 
 "The men who planned and executed that robbery were two cool,
 level-headed, and daring scoundrels, known as 'Chuckle-luck' and
 'Magpie.'  They were killed soon after this occurrence, by a member
 of their own band, whose name was Seward.  A reward of a thousand
 dollars had been offered for their capture, an this tempted Seward
 to kill them, one night when they were asleep in camp.
 
 "He then secured a wagon, into which he loaded the dead robbers,
 and hauled them to Cimarron City, where he turned them over to the
 authorities and received his reward."
 
 Among the Arapahoes Wooton was called "Cut Hand," from the fact
 that he had lost two fingers on his left hand by an accident in his
 childhood.  The tribe had the utmost veneration for the old trapper,
 and he was perfectly safe at any time in their villages or camps;
 it had been the request of a dying chief, who was once greatly
 favoured by Wooton, that his warriors should never injure him although
 the nation might be at war with all the rest of the whites in the world.
 
 Uncle Dick died a few seasons ago, at the age of nearly ninety.
 He was blind for some time, but a surgical operation partly restored
 his sight, which made the old man happy, because he could look again
 upon the beautiful scenery surrounding his mountain home, really
 the grandest in the entire Raton Range.  The Atchison, Topeka, and
 Santa Fe Railroad had one of its freight locomotives named "Uncle
 Dick," in honour of the veteran mountaineer, past whose house it
 hauled the heavy-laden trains up the steep grade crossing into the
 valley beyond.  At the time of its baptism, now fifteen or sixteen
 years ago, it was the largest freight engine in the world.
 
 Old Bill Williams was another character of the early days of the
 Trail, and was called so when Carson, Uncle Dick Wooton, and Maxwell
 were comparatively young in the mountains.  He was, at the time of
 their advent in the remote West, one of the best known men there,
 and had been famous for years as a hunter and trapper.  Williams was
 better acquainted with every pass in the Rockies than any other man
 of his time, and only surpassed by Jim Bridger later.  He was with
 General Fremont on his exploring expedition across the continent;
 but the statement of the old trappers, and that of General Fremont,
 in relation to his services then, differ widely.  Fremont admits
 Williams' knowledge of the country over which he had wandered to have
 been very extensive, but when put to the test on the expedition,
 he came very near sacrificing the lives of all.  This was probably
 owing to Williams' failing intellect, for when he joined the great
 explorer he was past the meridian of life.  Now the old mountaineers
 contend that if Fremont had profited by the old man's advice, he would
 never have run into the deathtrap which cost him three men, and
 in which he lost all his valuable papers, his instruments, and the
 animals which he and his party were riding.  The expedition had
 followed the Arkansas River to its source, and the general had
 selected a route which he desired to pursue in crossing the mountains.
 It was winter, and Williams explained to him that it was perfectly
 impracticable to get over at that season.  The general, however,
 ignoring the statement, listened to another of his party, a man who
 had no such experience but said that he could pilot the expedition.
 Before they had fairly started, they were caught in one of the most
 terrible snowstorms the region had ever witnessed, in which all their
 horses and mules were literally frozen to death.  Then, when it was
 too late, they turned back, abandoning their instruments, and able
 only to carry along a very limited stock of food.  The storm continued
 to rage, so that even Williams failed to prevent them from getting
 lost, and they wandered about aimlessly for many days before they
 luckily arrived at Taos, suffering seriously from exhaustion and
 hunger.  Three of the men were frozen to death on the return trip,
 and the remaining fifteen were little better than dead when Uncle
 Dick Wooton happened to run across them and piloted them into the
 village.  It was immediately after this disaster that the three most
 noted men in the mountains--Carson, Maxwell, and Dick Owens--became the
 guides of the pathfinder, with whom he had no trouble, and to whom
 he owed more of his success than history has given them credit for.
 
 At one period of his eventful career, while he lived in Missouri,
 before he wandered to the mountains, Old Bill Williams was a Methodist
 preacher; of which fact he boasted frequently while he trapped and
 hunted with other pioneers.  Whenever he related that portion of his
 early life, he declared that he "was so well known in his circuit,
 that the chickens recognized him as he came riding by the scattered
 farmhouses, and the old roosters would crow 'Here comes Parson
 Williams!  One of us must be made ready for dinner.'"
 
 Upon leaving the States, he travelled very extensively among the
 various tribes of Indians who roamed over the great plains and in the
 mountains.  When sojourning with a certain band, he would invariably
 adopt their manners and customs.  Whenever he grew tired of that
 nation, he would seek another and live as they lived.  He had been
 so long among the savages that he looked and talked like one, and
 had imbibed many of their strange notions and curious superstitions.
 
 To the missionaries he was very useful.  He possessed the faculty
 of easily acquiring languages that other white men failed to learn,
 and could readily translate the Bible into several Indian dialects.
 His own conduct, however, was in strange contrast with the precepts
 of the Holy Book with which he was so familiar.
 
 To the native Mexicans he was a holy terror and an unsolvable riddle.
 They thought him possessed of an evil spirit.  He at one time took up
 his residence among them and commenced to trade.  Shortly after he
 had established himself and gathered in a stock of goods, he became
 involved in a dispute with some of his customers in relation to his
 prices.  Upon this he apparently took an intense dislike to the
 people whom he had begun to traffic with, and in his disgust tossed
 his whole mass of goods into the street, and, taking up his rifle,
 left at once for the mountains.
 
 Among the many wild ideas he had imbibed from his long association
 with the Indians, was faith in their belief in the transmigration
 of souls.  He used so to worry his brain for hours cogitating upon
 this intricate problem concerning a future state, that he actually
 pretended to know exactly the animal whose place he was destined to
 fill in the world after he had shaken off this mortal human coil.
 
 Uncle Dick Wooton told how once, when he, Old Bill Williams, and
 many other trappers, were lying around the camp-fire one night,
 the strange fellow, in a preaching style of delivery, related to them
 all how he was to be changed into a buck elk and intended to make
 his pasture in the very region where they then were.  He described
 certain peculiarities which would distinguish him from the common
 run of elk, and was very careful to caution all those present never
 to shoot such an animal, should they ever run across him.
 
 Williams was regarded as a warm-hearted, brave, and generous man.
 He was at last killed by the Indians, while trading with them, but
 has left his name to many mountain peaks, rivers, and passes
 discovered by him.
 
 Tom Tobin, one of the last of the famous trappers, hunters, and Indian
 fighters to cross the dark river, flourished in the early days, when
 the Rocky Mountains were a veritable terra incognita to nearly all
 excepting the hardy employees of the several fur companies and the
 limited number of United States troops stationed in their remote wilds.
 
 Tom was an Irishman, quick-tempered, and a dead shot with either
 rifle, revolver, or the formidable bowie-knife.  He would fight at
 the drop of the hat, but no man ever went away from his cabin hungry,
 if he had a crust to divide; or penniless, if there was anything
 remaining in his purse.
 
 He, like Carson, was rather under the average stature, red-faced,
 and lacking much of being an Adonis, but whole-souled, and as quick
 in his movements as an antelope.
 
 Tobin played an important rôle in avenging the death of the Americans
 killed in the Taos massacre, at the storming of the Indian pueblo,
 but his greatest achievement was the ending of the noted bandit
 Espinosa's life, who, at the height of his career of blood, was the
 terror of the whole mountain region.
 
 At the time of the acquisition of New Mexico by the United States,
 Espinosa, who was a Mexican, owning vast herds of cattle and sheep,
 resided upon his ancestral hacienda in a sort of barbaric luxury,
 with a host of semi-serfs, known as Peons, to do his bidding, as did
 the other "Muy Ricos," the "Dons," so called, of his class of natives.
 These self-styled aristocrats of the wild country all boasted of
 their Castilian blue blood, claiming descent from the nobles of
 Cortez' army, but the fact is, however, with rare exceptions, that
 their male ancestors, the rank and file of that army, intermarried
 with the Aztec women, and they were really only a mixture of Indian
 and Spanish.
 
 It so happened that Espinosa met an adventurous American, who, with
 hundreds of others, had been attached to the "Army of Occupation"
 in the Mexican War, or had emigrated from the States to seek their
 fortunes in the newly acquired and much over-rated territory.
 
 The Mexican Don and the American became fast friends, the latter
 making his home with his newly found acquaintance at the beautiful
 ranch in the mountains, where they played the rôle of a modern Damon
 and Pythias.
 
 Now with Don Espinosa lived his sister, a dark-eyed, bewitchingly
 beautiful girl about seventeen years old, with whom the susceptible
 American fell deeply in love, and his affection was reciprocated
 by the maiden, with a fervour of which only the women of the race
 from which she sprang are capable.
 
 The fascinating American had brought with him from his home in one
 of the New England States a large amount of money, for his parents
 were rich, and spared no indulgence to their only son.  He very soon
 unwisely made Espinosa his confidant, and told him of the wealth
 he possessed.
 
 One night after the American had retired to his chamber, adjoining
 that of his host, he was surprised, shortly after he had gone to bed,
 by discovering a man standing over him, whose hand had already grasped
 the buckskin bag under his pillow which contained a considerable
 portion of his gold and silver.  He sprang from his couch and fired
 his pistol at random in the darkness at the would-be robber.
 
 Espinosa, for it was he, was wounded slightly, and, being either
 enraged or frightened, he stabbed with his keen-pointed stiletto,
 which all Mexicans then carried, the young man whom he had invited
 to become his guest, and the blade entered the American's heart,
 killing him instantly.
 
 The report of the pistol-shot awakened the other members of the
 household, who came rushing into the room just as the victim was
 breathing his last.  Among them was the sister of the murderer,
 who, throwing herself on the body of her dead lover, poured forth
 the most bitter curses upon her brother.
 
 Espinosa, realizing the terrible position in which he had placed
 himself, then and there determined to become an outlaw, as he could
 frame no excuse for his wicked deed.  He therefore hid himself
 at once in the mountains, carrying with him, of course, the sack
 containing the murdered American's money.
 
 Some time necessarily passed before he could get together a sufficient
 number of cut-throats and renegades from justice to enable him wholly
 to defy the authorities; but at last he succeeded in rallying a
 strong force to his standard of blood, and became the terror of the
 whole region, equalling in boldness and audacity the terrible Joaquin,
 of California notoriety in after years.
 
 His headquarters were in the almost impregnable fastnesses of the
 Sangre de Cristo Mountains, from which he made his invariably
 successful raids into the rich valleys below.  There was nothing
 too bloody for him to shrink from; he robbed indiscriminately the
 overland coaches to Santa Fe, the freight caravans of the traders
 and government, the ranches of the Mexicans, or stole from the poorer
 classes, without any compunction.  He ran off horses, cattle, sheep--
 in fact, anything that he could utilize.  If murder was necessary
 to the completion of his work, he never for a moment hesitated.
 Kidnapping, too, was a favourite pastime; but he rarely carried
 away to his rendezvous any other than the most beautiful of the
 New Mexican young girls, whom he held in his mountain den until
 they were ransomed, or subjected to a fate more terrible.
 
 In 1864 the bandit, after nearly ten years of unparalleled outlawry,
 was killed by Tobin.  Tom had been on his trail for some time, and
 at last tracked him to a temporary camp in the foot-hills, which
 he accidentally discovered in a grove of cottonwoods, by the smoke
 of the little camp-fire as it curled in light wreaths above the trees.
 
 Tobin knew that at the time there was but one of Espinosa's followers
 with him, as he had watched them both for some days, waiting for an
 opportunity to get the drop on them.  To capture the pair of outlaws
 alive never entered his thoughts; he was as cautious as brave, and
 to get them dead was much safer and easier; so he crept up to the
 grove on his belly, Indian fashion, and lying behind the cover of
 a friendly log, waited until the noted desperado stood up, when he
 pulled the trigger of his never-erring rifle, and Espinosa fell dead.
 A second shot quickly disposed of his companion, and the old trapper's
 mission was accomplished.
 
 To be able to claim the reward offered by the authorities, Tom had
 to prove, beyond the possibility of doubt, that those whom he had
 killed were the dreaded bandit and one of his gang.  He thought it
 best to cut off their heads, which he deliberately did, and packing
 them on his mule in a gunny-sack, he brought them into old Fort
 Massachusetts, afterward Fort Garland, where they were speedily
 recognized; but whether Tom ever received the reward, I have my
 doubts, as he never claimed that he did.  Tobin died only a short
 time ago, gray, grizzled, and venerable, his memory respected by all
 who had ever met him.
 
 James Hobbs, among all the men of whom I have presented a hurried
 sketch, had perhaps a more varied experience than any of his colleagues.
 During his long life on the frontier, he was in turn a prisoner among
 the savages, and held for years by them; an excellent soldier in
 the war with Mexico; an efficient officer in the revolt against
 Maximilian, when the attempt of Napoleon to establish an empire on
 this continent, with that unfortunate prince at its head, was defeated;
 an Indian fighter; a miner; a trapper; a trader, and a hunter.
 
 Hobbs was born in the Shawnee nation, on the Big Blue, about
 twenty-three miles from Independence, Missouri.  His early childhood
 was entrusted to one of his father's slaves.  Reared on the eastern
 limit of the border, he very soon became familiar with the use of
 the rifle and shot-gun; in fact, he was the principal provider of
 all the meat which the family consumed.
 
 In 1835, when only sixteen, he joined a fur-trading expedition under
 Charles Bent, destined for the fort on the Arkansas River built by
 him and his brothers.
 
 They arrived at the crossing of the Santa Fe Trail over Pawnee Fork
 without special adventure, but there they had the usual tussle with
 the savages, and Hobbs killed his first Indian.  Two of the traders
 were pierced with arrows, but not seriously hurt, and the Pawnees
 --the tribe which had attacked the outfit--were driven away discomfited,
 not having been successful in stampeding a single animal.
 
 When the party reached the Caches, on the Upper Arkansas, a smoke
 rising on the distant horizon, beyond the sand hills south of the
 river, made them proceed cautiously; for to the old plainsmen, that
 far-off wreath indicated either the presence of the savages, or a
 signal to others at a greater distance of the approach of the trappers.
 
 The next morning, nothing having occurred to delay the march, buffalo
 began to appear, and Hobbs killed three of them.  A cow, which he
 had wounded, ran across the Trail in front of the train, and Hobbs
 dashed after her, wounding her with his pistol, and then she started
 to swim the river.  Hobbs, mad at the jeers which greeted him from
 the men at his missing the animal, started for the last wagon,
 in which was his rifle, determined to kill the brute that had
 enraged him.  As he was riding along rapidly, Bent cried out to him,--
 
 "Don't try to follow that cow; she is going straight for that smoke,
 and it means Injuns, and no good in 'em either."
 
 "But I'll get her," answered Hobbs, and he called to his closest
 comrade, John Baptiste, a boy of about his own age, to go and get
 his pack-mule and come along.  "All right," responded John; and
 together the two inexperienced youngsters crossed the river against
 the protests of the veteran leader of the party.
 
 After a chase of about three miles, the boys came up with the cow,
 but she turned and showed fight.  Finally Hobbs, by riding around her,
 got in a good shot, which killed her.  Jumping off their animals,
 both boys busied themselves in cutting out the choice pieces for
 their supper, packed them on the mule, and started back for the train.
 But it had suddenly become very dark, and they were in doubt as to
 the direction of the Trail.
 
 Soon night came on so rapidly that neither could they see their own
 tracks by which they had come, nor the thin fringe of cottonwoods
 that lined the bank of the stream.  Then they disagreed as to which
 was the right way.  John succeeded in persuading Hobbs that he was
 correct, and the latter gave in, very much against his own belief
 on the subject.
 
 They travelled all night, and when morning came, were bewilderingly
 lost.  Then Hobbs resolved to retrace the tracks by which, now that
 the sun was up, he saw that they had been going south, right away
 from the Arkansas.  Suddenly an immense herd of buffalo, containing
 at least two thousand, dashed by the boys, filling the air with the
 dust raised by their clattering hoofs, and right behind them rode
 a hundred Indians, shooting at the stampeded animals with their arrows.
 
 "Get into that ravine!" shouted Hobbs to his companion.  "Throw away
 that meat, and run for your life!"
 
 It was too late; just as they arrived at the brink of the hollow,
 they looked back, and close behind them were a dozen Comanches.
 
 The savages rode up, and one of the party said in very good English,
 "How d' do?"
 
 "How d' do?" Hobbs replied, thinking it would be better to be as
 polite as the Indian, though the state of the latter's health just
 then was a matter of small concern.
 
 "Texas?" inquired the Indian.  The Comanches had good reasons to
 hate the citizens of that country, and it was a lucky thing for
 Hobbs that he had heard of their prejudice from the trappers, and
 possessed presence of mind to remember it.  He replied promptly:
 "No, friendly; going to establish a trading-post for the Comanches."
 
 "Friendly?  Better go with us, though.  Got any tobacco?"
 
 Hobbs had some of the desired article, and he was not long in handing
 it over to his newly found friend.
 
 Both of the boys were escorted to the temporary camp of the savages,
 but the original number of their captors was increased to over a
 thousand before they arrived there.  They were supplied with some
 dried buffalo-meat, and then taken to the lodge of Old Wolf, the
 head chief of the tribe.
 
 A council was called immediately to consider what disposition should
 be made of them, but nothing was decided upon, and the assembly of
 warriors adjourned until morning.  Hobbs told me that it was because
 Old Wolf had imbibed too much brandy, a bottle of which Baptiste had
 brought with him from the train, and which the thirsty warrior saw
 suspended from his saddle-bow as they rode up to the chief's lodge;
 the aged rascal got beastly drunk.
 
 About noon of the next day, after the dispersion of the council,
 the boys were informed that if they were not Texans, would behave
 themselves, and not attempt to run away, they might stay with the
 Indians, who would not kill them; but a string of dried scalps was
 pointed out, hanging on a lodge pole, of some Mexicans whom they
 had captured and put to herding their ponies, and who had tried to
 get away.  They succeeded in making a few miles; the Indians chased
 them, after deciding in council, that, if caught, only their scalps
 were to be brought back.  The moral of this was that the same fate
 awaited the boys if they followed the example of the foolish Mexicans.
 
 Hobbs had excellent sense and judgment, and he knew that it would
 be the height of folly for him and Baptiste, mere boys, to try and
 reach either Bent's Fort or the Missouri River, not having the
 slightest knowledge of where they were situated.
 
 Hobbs grew to be a great favourite with the Comanches; was given
 the daughter of Old Wolf in marriage, became a great chief, fought
 many hard battles with his savage companions, and at last, four years
 after, was redeemed by Colonel Bent, who paid Old Wolf a small
 ransom for him at the Fort, where the Indians had come to trade.
 Baptiste, whom the Indians never took a great fancy to, because he
 did not develop into a great warrior, was also ransomed by Bent,
 his price being only an antiquated mule.
 
 At Bent's Fort Hobbs went out trapping under the leadership of Kit
 Carson, and they became lifelong friends.  In a short time Hobbs
 earned the reputation of being an excellent mountaineer, trapper,
 and as an Indian fighter he was second to none, his education among
 the Comanches having trained him in all the strategy of the savages.
 
 After going through the Mexican War with an excellent record, Hobbs
 wandered about the country, now engaged in mining in old Mexico, then
 fighting the Apaches under the orders of the governor of Chihuahua,
 and at the end of the campaign going back to the Pacific coast,
 where he entered into new pursuits.  Sometimes he was rich, then as
 poor as one can imagine.  He returned to old Mexico in time to become
 an active partisan in the revolt which overthrew the short-lived
 dynasty of Maximilian, and was present at the execution of that
 unfortunate prince.  Finally he retired to the home of his childhood
 in the States, where he died a few months ago, full of years and honours.
 
 William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," is one of the famous plainsmen,
 of later days, however, than Carson, Bridger, John Smith, Maxwell,
 and others whom I have mentioned.  The mantle of Kit Carson, perhaps,
 fits more perfectly the shoulders of Cody than those of any other
 of the great frontiersman's successors, and he has had some experiences
 that surpassed anything which fell to their lot.
 
 He was born in Iowa, in 1845, and when barely seven years old his
 father emigrated to Kansas, then far remote from civilization.
 
 Thirty-six years ago, he was employed as guide and scout in an
 expedition against the Kiowas and Comanches, and his line of duty
 took him along the Santa Fe Trail all one summer when not out as
 a scout, carrying despatches between Fort Lyon and Fort Larned,
 the most important military posts on the great highway as well as
 to far-off Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River, the headquarters
 of the department.  Fort Larned was the general rendezvous of all
 the scouts on the Kansas and Colorado plains, the chief of whom was
 a veteran interpreter and guide, named Dick Curtis.
 
 When Cody first reported there for his responsible duty, a large camp
 of the Kiowas and Comanches was established within sight of the fort,
 whose warriors had not as yet put on their war-paint, but were
 evidently restless and discontented under the restraint of their
 chiefs.  Soon those leading men, Satanta, Lone Wolf, Satank, and
 others of lesser note, grew rather impudent and haughty in their
 deportment, and they were watched with much concern.  The post was
 garrisoned by only two companies of infantry and one of cavalry.
 
 General Hazen, afterward chief of the signal service in Washington,
 was at Fort Larned at the time, endeavouring to patch up a peace with
 the savages, who seemed determined to break out.  Cody was special
 scout to the general, and one morning he was ordered to accompany him
 as far as Fort Zarah, on the Arkansas, near the mouth of Walnut Creek,
 in what is now Barton County, Kansas, the general intending to go
 on to Fort Harker, on the Smoky Hill.  In making these trips of
 inspection, with incidental collateral duties, the general usually
 travelled in an ambulance, but on this journey he rode in a six-mule
 army-wagon, escorted by a detachment of a score of infantry.  It was
 a warm August day, and an early start was made, which enabled them
 to reach Fort Zarah, over thirty miles distant, by noon.  After dinner,
 the general proposed to go on to Fort Harker, forty-one miles away,
 without any escort, leaving orders for Cody to return to Fort Larned
 the next day, with the soldiers.  But Cody, ever impatient of delay
 when there was work to do, notified the sergeant in charge of the
 men that he was going back that very afternoon.  I tell the story
 of his trip as he has often told it to me, and as he has written
 it in his autobiography.
 
 "I accordingly saddled up my mule and set out for Fort Larned.
 I proceeded on uninterruptedly until I got about halfway between
 the two posts, when, at Pawnee Rock, I was suddenly jumped by about
 forty Indians, who came dashing up to me, extending their hands
 and saying, 'How!  How!'  They were some of the Indians who had been
 hanging around Fort Larned in the morning.  I saw they had on their
 war-paint, and were evidently now out on the war-path.
 
 "My first impulse was to shake hands with them, as they seemed so
 desirous of it.  I accordingly reached out my hand to one of them,
 who grasped it with a tight grip, and jerked me violently forward;
 then pulled my mule by the bridle, and in a moment I was completely
 surrounded.  Before I could do anything at all, they had seized my
 revolvers from the holsters, and I received a blow on the head from
 a tomahawk which nearly rendered me senseless.  My gun, which was
 lying across the saddle, was snatched from its place, and finally
 the Indian who had hold of the bridle started off toward the Arkansas
 River, leading the mule, which was being lashed by the other Indians,
 who were following.  The savages were all singing, yelling, and
 whooping, as only Indians can do, when they are having their little
 game all their own way.  While looking toward the river, I saw on
 the opposite side an immense village moving along the bank, and then
 I became convinced that the Indians had left the post and were now
 starting out on the war-path.  My captors crossed the stream with me,
 and as we waded through the shallow water they continued to lash the
 mule and myself.  Finally they brought me before an important-looking
 body of Indians, who proved to be the chiefs and principal warriors.
 I soon recognized old Satanta among them, as well as others whom
 I knew, and supposed it was all over with me.
 
 "The Indians were jabbering away so rapidly among themselves that
 I could not understand what they were saying.  Satanta at last asked
 me where I had been.  As good luck would have it, a happy thought
 struck me.  I told him I had been after a herd of cattle, or
 'whoa-haws,' as they called them.  It so happened that the Indians
 had been out of meat for several weeks, as the large herd of cattle
 which had been promised them had not yet arrived, although they
 expected them.
 
 "The moment I mentioned that I had been searching for 'whoa-haws,'
 old Satanta began questioning me in a very eager manner.  He asked me
 where the cattle were, and I replied that they were back a few miles,
 and that I had been sent by General Hazen to inform him that the
 cattle were coming, and that they were intended for his people.
 This seemed to please the old rascal, who also wanted to know if there
 were any soldiers with the herd, and my reply was that there were.
 Thereupon the chiefs held a consultation, and presently Satanta asked
 me if General Hazen had really said that they should have the cattle.
 I replied in the affirmative, and added that I had been directed to
 bring the cattle to them.  I followed this up with a very dignified
 inquiry, asking why his young men had treated me so.  The old wretch
 intimated that it was only a 'freak of the boys'; that the young men
 wanted to see if I was brave; in fact, they had only meant to test me,
 and the whole thing was a joke.
 
 "The veteran liar was now beating me at my own game of lying, but
 I was very glad, as it was in my favour.  I did not let him suspect
 that I doubted his veracity, but I remarked that it was a rough way
 to treat friends.  He immediately ordered his young men to give
 back my arms, and scolded them for what they had done.  Of course,
 the sly old dog was now playing it very fine, as he was anxious
 to get possession of the cattle, with which he believed there was
 a 'heap' of soldiers coming.  He had concluded it was not best to
 fight the soldiers if he could get the cattle peaceably.
 
 "Another council was held by the chiefs, and in a few minutes old
 Satanta came and asked me if I would go to the river and bring the
 cattle down to the opposite side, so that they could get them.
 I replied, 'Of course; that's my instruction from General Hazen.'
 
 "Satanta said I must not feel angry at his young men, for they had
 only been acting in fun.  He then inquired if I wished any of his men
 to accompany me to the cattle herd.  I replied that it would be better
 for me to go alone, and then the soldiers could keep right on to
 Fort Larned, while I could drive the herd down on the bottom.  Then
 wheeling my mule around, I was soon recrossing the river, leaving old
 Satanta in the firm belief that I had told him a straight story, and
 that I was going for the cattle which existed only in my imagination.
 
 "I hardly knew what to do, but thought that if I could get the river
 between the Indians and myself, I would have a good three-quarters of
 a mile the start of them, and could then make a run for Fort Larned,
 as my mule was a good one.
 
 "Thus far my cattle story had panned out all right; but just as I
 reached the opposite bank of the river, I looked behind me and saw
 that ten or fifteen Indians, who had begun to suspect something
 crooked, were following me.  The moment that my mule secured a good
 foothold on the bank, I urged him into a gentle lope toward the place
 where, according to my statement, the cattle were to be brought.
 Upon reaching a little ridge and riding down the other side out of
 view, I turned my mule and headed him westward for Fort Larned.
 I let him out for all that he was worth, and when I came out on a
 little rise of ground, I looked back and saw the Indian village in
 plain sight.  My pursuers were now on the ridge which I had passed
 over, and were looking for me in every direction.
 
 "Presently they spied me, and seeing that I was running away, they
 struck out in swift pursuit, and in a few minutes it became painfully
 evident they were gaining on me.  They kept up the chase as far as
 Ash Creek, six miles from Fort Larned.  I still led them half a mile,
 as their horses had not gained much during the last half of the race.
 My mule seemed to have gotten his second wind, and as I was on the
 old road, I played the spurs and whip on him without much cessation;
 the Indians likewise urged their steeds to the utmost.
 
 "Finally, upon reaching the dividing ridge between Ash Creek and
 Pawnee Fork, I saw Fort Larned only four miles away.  It was now
 sundown, and I heard the evening gun.  The troops of the small
 garrison little dreamed there was a man flying for his life and
 trying to reach the post.  The Indians were once more gaining on me,
 and when I crossed the Pawnee Fork two miles from the post, two or
 three of them were only a quarter of a mile behind me.  Just as I
 gained the opposite bank of the stream, I was overjoyed to see some
 soldiers in a government wagon only a short distance off.  I yelled
 at the top of my voice, and riding up to them, told them that the
 Indians were after me.
 
 "'Denver Jim,' a well-known scout, asked me how many there were, and
 upon my informing him that there were about a dozen, he said: 'Let's
 drive the wagon into the trees, and we'll lay for 'em.'  The team
 was hurriedly driven among the trees and low box-elder bushes, and
 there secreted.
 
 "We did not have to wait long for the Indians, who came dashing up,
 lashing their ponies, which were panting and blowing.  We let two
 of them pass by, but we opened a lively fire on the next three or
 four, killing two of them at the first crack.  The others following
 discovered that they had run into an ambush, and whirling off into
 the brush, they turned and ran back in the direction whence they
 had come.  The two who had passed by heard the firing and made their
 escape.  We scalped the two that we had killed, and appropriated
 their arms and equipments; then, catching their ponies, we made our
 way into the Post."  


 

MAXWELL'S RANCH.
 
 
 
 One of the most interesting and picturesque regions of all New Mexico
 is the immense tract of nearly two million acres known as Maxwell's
 Ranch, through which the Old Trail ran, and the title to which was
 some years since determined by the Supreme Court of the United States
 in favour of an alien company.[59]  Dead long ago, Maxwell belonged
 to a generation and a class almost completely extinct, and the like
 of which will, in all probability, never be seen again; for there
 is no more frontier to develop them.
 
 Several years prior to the acquisition of the territory by the
 United States, the immense tract comprised in the geographical limits
 of the ranch was granted to Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda,
 both citizens of the province of New Mexico, and agents of the
 American Fur Company.  Attached to the company as an employer,
 a trapper, and hunter, was Lucien B. Maxwell, an Illinoisan by birth,
 who married a daughter of Beaubien.  After the death of the latter
 Maxwell purchased all the interest of the joint proprietor, Miranda,
 and that of the heirs of Beaubien, thus at once becoming the largest
 landowner in the United States.
 
 At the zenith of his influence and wealth, during the War of the
 Rebellion, when New Mexico was isolated and almost independent of
 care or thought by the government at Washington, he lived in a
 sort of barbaric splendour, akin to that of the nobles of England
 at the time of the Norman conquest.
 
 The thousands of arable acres comprised in the many fertile valleys
 of his immense estate were farmed in a primitive, feudal sort of way,
 by native Mexicans principally, under the system of peonage then
 existing in the Territory.  He employed about five hundred men, and
 they were as much his thralls as were Gurth and Wamba of Cedric of
 Rotherwood, only they wore no engraved collars around their necks
 bearing their names and that of their master.  Maxwell was not a
 hard governor, and his people really loved him, as he was ever their
 friend and adviser.
 
 His house was a palace when compared with the prevailing style of
 architecture in that country, and cost an immense sum of money.
 It was large and roomy, purely American in its construction, but the
 manner of conducting it was strictly Mexican, varying between the
 customs of the higher and lower classes of that curious people.
 
 Some of its apartments were elaborately furnished, others devoid of
 everything except a table for card-playing and a game's complement
 of chairs.  The principal room, an extended rectangular affair,
 which might properly have been termed the Baronial Hall, was almost
 bare except for a few chairs, a couple of tables, and an antiquated
 bureau.  There Maxwell received his friends, transacted business
 with his vassals, and held high carnival at times.
 
 I have slept on its hardwood floor, rolled up in my blanket, with
 the mighty men of the Ute nation lying heads and points all around me,
 as close as they could possibly crowd, after a day's fatiguing hunt
 in the mountains.  I have sat there in the long winter evenings,
 when the great room was lighted only by the cheerful blaze of the
 crackling logs roaring up the huge throats of its two fireplaces
 built diagonally across opposite corners, watching Maxwell, Kit Carson,
 and half a dozen chiefs silently interchange ideas in the wonderful
 sign language, until the glimmer of Aurora announced the advent of
 another day.  But not a sound had been uttered during the protracted
 hours, save an occasional grunt of satisfaction on the part of the
 Indians, or when we white men exchanged a sentence.
 
 Frequently Maxwell and Carson would play the game of seven-up for
 hours at a time, seated at one of the tables.  Kit was usually the
 victor, for he was the greatest expert in that old and popular
 pastime I have ever met.  Maxwell was an inveterate gambler, but
 not by any means in a professional sense; he indulged in the hazard
 of the cards simply for the amusement it afforded him in his rough
 life of ease, and he could very well afford the losses which the
 pleasure sometimes entailed.  His special penchant, however, was
 betting on a horse race, and his own stud comprised some of the
 fleetest animals in the Territory.  Had he lived in England he might
 have ruled the turf, but many jobs were put up on him by unscrupulous
 jockeys, by which he was outrageously defrauded of immense sums.
 
 He was fond of cards, as I have said, both of the purely American
 game of poker, and also of old sledge, but rarely played except with
 personal friends, and never without stakes.  He always exacted the
 last cent he had won, though the next morning, perhaps, he would
 present or loan his unsuccessful opponent of the night before five
 hundred or a thousand dollars, if he needed it; an immensely greater
 sum, in all probability, than had been gained in the game.
 
 The kitchen and dining-rooms of his princely establishment were
 detached from the main residence.  There was one of the latter for
 the male portion of his retinue and guests of that sex, and another
 for the female, as, in accordance with the severe, and to us strange,
 Mexican etiquette, men rarely saw a woman about the premises, though
 there were many.  Only the quick rustle of a skirt, or a hurried view
 of a reboso, as its wearer flashed for an instant before some window
 or half-open door, told of their presence.
 
 The greater portion of his table-service was solid silver, and at
 his hospitable board there were rarely any vacant chairs.  Covers
 were laid daily for about thirty persons; for he had always many
 guests, invited or forced upon him in consequence of his proverbial
 munificence, or by the peculiar location of his manor-house which
 stood upon a magnificently shaded plateau at the foot of mighty
 mountains, a short distance from a ford on the Old Trail.  As there
 were no bridges over the uncertain streams of the great overland
 route in those days, the ponderous Concord coaches, with their
 ever-full burden of passengers, were frequently water-bound, and
 Maxwell's the only asylum from the storm and flood; consequently
 he entertained many.
 
 At all times, and in all seasons, the group of buildings, houses,
 stables, mill, store, and their surrounding grounds, were a constant
 resort and loafing-place of Indians.  From the superannuated chiefs,
 who revelled lazily during the sunny hours in the shady peacefulness
 of the broad porches; the young men of the tribe, who gazed with
 covetous eyes upon the sleek-skinned, blooded colts sporting in the
 spacious corrals; the squaws, fascinated by the gaudy calicoes,
 bright ribbons, and glittering strings of beads on the counters
 or shelves of the large store, to the half-naked, chubby little
 pappooses around the kitchen doors, waiting with expectant mouths
 for some delicious morsel of refuse to be thrown to them--all assumed,
 in bearing and manner, a vested right of proprietorship in their
 agreeable environment.
 
 To this motley group, always under his feet, as it were, Maxwell was
 ever passively gracious, although they were battening in idleness
 on his prodigal bounty from year to year.
 
 His retinue of servants, necessarily large, was made up of a
 heterogeneous mixture of Indians, Mexicans, and half-breeds.
 The kitchens were presided over by dusky maidens under the tutelage
 of experienced old crones, and its precincts were sacred to them;
 but the dining-rooms were forbidden to women during the hours of
 meals, which were served by boys.
 
 Maxwell was rarely, as far as my observation extended, without a
 large amount of money in his possession.  He had no safe, however,
 his only place of temporary deposit for the accumulated cash being
 the bottom drawer of the old bureau in the large room to which I
 have referred, which was the most antiquated concern of common pine
 imaginable.  There were only two other drawers in this old-fashioned
 piece of furniture, and neither of them possessed a lock.  The third,
 or lower, the one that contained the money, did, but it was absolutely
 worthless, being one of the cheapest pattern and affording not the
 slightest security; besides, the drawers above it could be pulled out,
 exposing the treasure immediately beneath to the cupidity of any one.
 
 I have frequently seen as much as thirty thousand dollars--gold,
 silver, greenbacks, and government checks--at one time in that novel
 depository.  Occasionally these large sums remained there for several
 days, yet there was never any extra precaution taken to prevent its
 abstraction; doors were always open and the room free of access to
 every one, as usual.
 
 I once suggested to Maxwell the propriety of purchasing a safe for
 the better security of his money, but he only smiled, while a strange,
 resolute look flashed from his dark eyes, as he said: "God help the
 man who attempted to rob me and I knew him!"
 
 The sources of his wealth were his cattle, sheep, and the products
 of his area of cultivated acres--barley, oats, and corn principally--
 which he disposed of to the quartermaster and commissary departments
 of the army, in the large military district of New Mexico.
 His wool-clip must have been enormous, too; but I doubt whether he
 could have told the number of animals that furnished it or the
 aggregate of his vast herds.  He had a thousand horses, ten thousand
 cattle, and forty thousand sheep at the time I knew him well,
 according to the best estimates of his Mexican relatives.
 
 He also possessed a large and perfectly appointed gristmill, which
 was a great source of revenue, for wheat was one of the staple crops
 of his many farms.
 
 Maxwell was fond of travelling all over the Territory, his equipages
 comprising everything in the shape of a vehicle, through all their
 varieties, from the most plainly constructed buckboard to the
 lumbering, but comfortable and expensive, Concord coach, mounted on
 thorough braces instead of springs, and drawn by four or six horses.
 He was perfectly reckless in his driving, dashing through streams,
 over irrigating ditches, stones, and stumps like a veritable Jehu,
 regardless of consequences, but, as is usually the fortune of such
 precipitate horsemen, rarely coming to grief.
 
 The headquarters of the Ute agency were established at Maxwell's Ranch
 in early days, and the government detailed a company of cavalry to
 camp there, more, however, to impress the plains tribes who roamed
 along the Old Trail east of the Raton Range, than for any effect on
 the Utes, whom Maxwell could always control, and who regarded him
 as a father.
 
 On the 4th of July, 1867, Maxwell, who owned an antiquated and rusty
 six-pound field howitzer, suggested to the captain of the troop
 stationed there the propriety of celebrating the day.  So the old
 piece was dragged from its place under a clump of elms, where it had
 been hidden in the grass and weeds ever since the Mexican War probably,
 and brought near the house.  The captain and Maxwell acted the rôle
 of gunners, the former at the muzzle, the latter at the breech;
 the discharge was premature, blowing out the captain's eye and taking
 off his arm, while Maxwell escaped with a shattered thumb.  As soon
 as the accident occurred, a sergeant was despatched to Fort Union on
 one of the fastest horses on the ranch, the faithful animal falling
 dead the moment he stopped in front of the surgeon's quarters, having
 made the journey of fifty-five miles in little more than four hours.
 
 The surgeon left the post immediately, arriving at Maxwell's late that
 night, but in time to save the officer's life, after which he dressed
 Maxwell's apparently inconsiderable wound.  In a few days, however,
 the thumb grew angry-looking; it would not yield to the doctor's
 careful treatment, so he reluctantly decided that amputation was
 necessary.  After an operation was determined upon, I prevailed upon
 Maxwell to come to the fort and remain with me, inviting Kit Carson
 at the same time, that he might assist in catering to the amusement
 of my suffering guest.  Maxwell and Carson arrived at my quarters
 late in the day, after a tedious ride in the big coach, and the
 surgeon, in order to allow a prolonged rest on account of Maxwell's
 feverish condition, postponed the operation until the following evening.
 
 The next night, as soon as it grew dark--we waited for coolness,
 as the days were excessively hot--the necessary preliminaries were
 arranged, and when everything was ready the surgeon commenced.
 Maxwell declined the anaesthetic prepared for him, and sitting in a
 common office chair put out his hand, while Carson and myself stood
 on opposite sides, each holding an ordinary kerosene lamp.  In a few
 seconds the operation was concluded, and after the silver-wire
 ligatures were twisted in their places, I offered Maxwell, who had
 not as yet permitted a single sigh to escape his lips, half a
 tumblerful of whiskey; but before I had fairly put it to his mouth,
 he fell over, having fainted dead away, while great beads of
 perspiration stood on his forehead, indicative of the pain he had
 suffered, as the amputation of the thumb, the surgeon told us then,
 was as bad as that of a leg.
 
 He returned to his ranch as soon as the surgeon pronounced him well,
 and Carson to his home in Taos.  I saw the latter but once more at
 Maxwell's; but he was en route to visit me at Fort Harker, in Kansas,
 when he was taken ill at Fort Lyon, where he died.
 
           A boy's will is the wind's will,
           And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.
 
 How true it now seems to me, as the recollections of my boyish days,
 when I read of the exploits of Kit Carson, crowd upon my memory!
 I firmly believed him to be at least ten feet tall, carrying a rifle
 so heavy that, like Bruce's sword, it required two men to lift it.
 I imagined he drank out of nothing smaller than a river, and picked
 the carcass of a whole buffalo as easily as a lady does the wing of
 a quail.  Ten years later I made the acquaintance of the foremost
 frontiersman, and found him a delicate, reticent, under-sized,
 wiry man, as perfectly the opposite of the type my childish brain
 had created as it is possible to conceive.
 
 At Fort Union our mail arrived every morning by coach over the Trail,
 generally pulling up at the sutler's store, whose proprietor was
 postmaster, about daylight.  While Maxwell and Kit were my guests,
 I sauntered down after breakfast one morning to get my mail, and
 while waiting for the letters to be distributed, happened to glance
 at some papers lying on the counter, among which I saw a new periodical
 --the _Day's Doings_, I think it was--that had a full-page illustration
 of a scene in a forest.  In the foreground stood a gigantic figure
 dressed in the traditional buckskin; on one arm rested an immense
 rifle; his other arm was around the waist of the conventional female
 of such sensational journals, while in front, lying prone upon the
 ground, were half a dozen Indians, evidently slain by the singular
 hero in defending the impossibly attired female.  The legend related
 how all this had been effected by the famous Kit Carson.  I purchased
 the paper, returned with it to my room, and after showing it to
 several officers who had called upon Maxwell, I handed it to Kit.
 He wiped his spectacles, studied the picture intently for a few
 seconds, turned round, and said: "Gentlemen, that thar may be true,
 but I hain't got no recollection of it."
 
 I passed a delightful two weeks with Maxwell, late in the summer of
 1867, at the time that the excitement over the discovery of gold on
 his ranch had just commenced, and adventurers were beginning to
 congregate in the hills and gulches from everywhere.  The discovery
 of the precious metal on his estate was the first cause of his
 financial embarrassment.  It was the ruin also of many other prominent
 men in New Mexico, who expended their entire fortune in the construction
 of an immense ditch, forty miles in length--from the Little Canadian
 or Red River--to supply the placer diggings in the Moreno valley with
 water, when the melted snow of Old Baldy range had exhausted itself
 in the late summer.  The scheme was a stupendous failure; its ruins
 may be seen to-day in the deserted valleys, a monument to man's
 engineering skill, but the wreck of his hopes.
 
 For some years previous to the discovery of gold in the mountains and
 gulches of Maxwell's Ranch, it was known that copper existed in the
 region; several shafts had been sunk and tunnels driven in various
 places, and gold had been found from time to time, but was kept a
 secret for many months.  Its presence was at last revealed to Maxwell
 by a party of his own miners, who were boring into the heart of
 Old Baldy for a copper lead that had cropped out and was then lost.
 
 Of course, to keep the knowledge of the discovery of gold from the
 world is an impossibility; such was the case in this instance, and
 soon commenced that squatter immigration out of which, after the
 ranch was sold and Maxwell died, grew that litigation which has
 resulted in favour of the company who purchased from or through the
 first owners after Maxwell's death.
 
 He was a representative man of the border of the same class as his
 compeers--"wild-civilized men," to borrow an expressive term from
 John Burroughs--of strong local attachments, and overflowing with the
 milk of human kindness.  To such as he there was an unconquerable
 infatuation in life on the remote plains and in the solitude of the
 mountains.  There was never anything of the desperado in their
 character, while the adventurers who at times have made the far West
 infamous, since the advent of the railroad, were bad men originally.
 
 Occasionally such men turn up everywhere, and become a terror to
 the community, but they are always wound up sooner or later; they
 die with their boots on; Western graveyards are full of them.
 
 Maxwell, under contract with the Interior Department, furnished
 live beeves to the Ute nation, the issue of which was made weekly
 from his own vast herds.  The cattle, as wild as those from the
 Texas prairies, were driven by his herders into an immense enclosed
 field, and there turned loose to be slaughtered by the savages.
 
 Once when at the ranch I told Maxwell I should like to have a horse
 to witness the novel sight.  He immediately ordered a Mexican groom
 to procure one; but I did not see the peculiar smile that lighted up
 his face, as he whispered something to the man which I did not catch.
 Presently the groom returned leading a magnificent gray, which I
 mounted, Maxwell suggesting that I should ride down to the large
 field and wait there until the herd arrived.  I entered the great
 corral, patting my horse on the neck now and then, to make him
 familiar with my touch, and attempted to converse with some of the
 chiefs, who were dressed in their best, painted as if for the
 war-path, gaily bedecked with feathers and armed with rifles and
 gaudily appointed bows and arrows; but I did not succeed very well
 in drawing them from their normal reticence.  The squaws, a hundred
 of them, were sitting on the ground, their knives in hand ready for
 the labour which is the fate of their sex in all savage tribes,
 while their lords' portion of the impending business was to end with
 the more manly efforts of the chase.
 
 Suddenly a great cloud of dust rose on the trail from the mountains,
 and on came the maddened animals, fairly shaking the earth with
 their mighty tread.  As soon as the gate was closed behind them,
 and uttering a characteristic yell that was blood-curdling in its
 ferocity, the Indians charged upon the now doubly frightened herd,
 and commenced to discharge their rifles, regardless of the presence
 of any one but themselves.  My horse became paralyzed for an instant
 and stood poised on his hind legs, like the steed represented in
 that old lithographic print of Napoleon crossing the Alps; then taking
 the bit in his teeth, he rushed aimlessly into the midst of the
 flying herd, while the bullets from the guns of the excited savages
 rained around my head.  I had always boasted of my equestrian
 accomplishments--I was never thrown but once in my life, and that was
 years afterward--but in this instance it taxed all my powers to keep
 my seat.  In less than twenty minutes the last beef had fallen; and
 the warriors, inflated with the pride of their achievement, rode
 silently out of the field, leaving the squaws to cut up and carry
 away the meat to their lodges, more than three miles distant, which
 they soon accomplished, to the last quivering morsel.
 
 As I rode leisurely back to the house, I saw Maxwell and Kit standing
 on the broad porch, their sides actually shaking with laughter at
 my discomfiture, they having been watching me from the very moment
 the herd entered the corral.  It appeared that the horse Maxwell
 ordered the groom to bring me was a recent importation from St. Louis,
 had never before seen an Indian, and was as unused to the prairies
 and mountains as a street-car mule.  Kit said that my mount reminded
 him of one that his antagonist in a duel rode a great many years ago
 when he was young.  If the animal had not been such "a fourth-of-July"
 brute, his opponent would in all probability have finished him, as he
 was a splendid shot; but Kit fortunately escaped, the bullet merely
 grazing him under the ear, leaving a scar which he then showed me.
 
 One night Kit Carson, Maxwell, and I were up in the Raton Mountains
 above the Old Trail, and having lingered too long, were caught above
 the clouds against our will, darkness having overtaken us before we
 were ready to descend into the valley.  It was dangerous to undertake
 the trip over such a precipitous and rocky trail, so we were compelled
 to make the best of our situation.  It was awfully cold, and as we
 had brought no blankets, we dared not go to sleep for fear our fire
 might go out, and we should freeze.  We therefore determined to make
 a night of it by telling yarns, smoking our pipes, and walking around
 at times.  After sitting awhile, Maxwell pointed toward the Spanish
 Peaks, whose snow-white tops cast a diffused light in the heavens
 above them, and remarked that in the deep canyon which separates them,
 he had had one of the "closest calls" of his life, willingly complying
 when I asked him to tell us the story.
 
 "It was in 1847.  I came down from Taos with a party to go to the
 Cimarron crossing of the Santa Fe Trail to pick up a large herd of
 horses for the United States Quartermaster's Department.  We succeeded
 in gathering about a hundred and started back with them, letting
 them graze slowly along, as we were in no hurry.  When we arrived
 at the foot-hills north of Bent's Fort, we came suddenly upon the
 trail of a large war-band of Utes, none of whom we saw, but from
 subsequent developments the savages must have discovered us days
 before we reached the mountains.  I knew we were not strong enough
 to cope with the whole Ute nation, and concluded the best thing for
 us to do under the ticklish circumstances was to make a detour,
 and put them off our trail.  So we turned abruptly down the Arkansas,
 intending to try and get to Taos in that direction, more than one
 hundred and fifty miles around.  It appeared afterward that the
 Indians had been following us all the way.  When we found this out,
 some of the men believed they were another party, and not the same
 whose trail we came upon when we turned down the river, but I always
 insisted they were.  When we arrived within a few days' drive of Taos,
 we were ambushed in one of the narrow passes of the range, and had
 the bloodiest fight with the Utes on record.  There were thirteen
 of us, all told, and two little children whom we were escorting to
 their friends at Taos, having received them at the Cimarron crossing.
 
 "While we were quietly taking our breakfast one morning, and getting
 ready to pull out for the day's march, perfectly unsuspicious of the
 proximity of any Indians, they dashed in upon us, and in less than
 a minute stampeded all our stock--loose animals as well as those we
 were riding.  While part of the savages were employed in running off
 the animals, fifty of their most noted warriors, splendidly mounted
 and horribly painted, rushed into the camp, around the fire of which
 the men and the little children were peacefully sitting, and,
 discharging their guns as they rode up, killed one man and wounded
 another.
 
 "Terribly surprised as we were, it did not turn the heads of the old
 mountaineers, and I immediately told them to make a break for a clump
 of timber near by, and that we would fight them as long as one of us
 could stand up.  There we fought and fought against fearful odds,
 until all were wounded except two.  The little children were captured
 at the beginning of the trouble and carried off at once.  After a
 while the savages got tired of the hard work, and, as is frequently
 the case, went away of their own free will; but they left us in a
 terrible plight.  All were sore, stiff, and weak from their many wounds;
 on foot, and without any food or ammunition to procure game with,
 having exhausted our supply in the awfully unequal battle; besides,
 we were miles from home, with every prospect of starving to death.
 
 "We could not remain where we were, so as soon as darkness came on,
 we started out to walk to some settlement.  We dared not show
 ourselves by daylight, and all through the long hours when the sun
 was up, we were obliged to hide in the brush and ravines until night
 overtook us again, and we could start on our painful march.
 
 "We had absolutely nothing to eat, and our wounds began to fester,
 so that we could hardly move at all.  We should undoubtedly have
 perished, if, on the third day, a band of friendly Indians of another
 tribe had not gone to Taos and reported the fight to the commanding
 officer of the troops there.  These Indians had heard of our trouble
 with the Utes, and knowing how strong they were, and our weakness,
 surmised our condition, and so hastened to convey the bad news.
 
 "A company of dragoons was immediately sent to our rescue, under the
 guidance of Dick Wooton, who was and has ever been a warm personal
 friend of mine.  They came upon us about forty miles from Taos, and
 never were we more surprised; we had become so starved and emaciated
 that we had abandoned all hope of escaping what seemed to be our
 inevitable fate.
 
 "When the troops found us, we had only a few rags, our clothes having
 been completely stripped from our bodies while struggling through
 the heavy underbrush on our trail, and we were so far exhausted that
 we could not stand on our feet.  One more day, and we would have been
 laid out.
 
 "The little children were, fortunately, saved from the horror of
 that terrible march after the fight, as the Indians carried them to
 their winter camp, where, if not absolutely happy, they were under
 shelter and fed; escaping the starvation which would certainly have
 been their fate if they had remained with us.  They were eventually
 ransomed for a cash payment by the government, and altogether had not
 been very harshly treated." 


 

BENT'S FORTS.
 
 
 
 The famous Bent brothers, William, George, Robert, and Charles, were
 French-Canadian hunters and trappers, and had been employed almost
 from boyhood, in the early days of the border, by the American Fur
 Company in the mountains of the Northwest.
 
 In 1826, almost immediately after the transference of the fur trade
 to the valley of the Arkansas, when the commerce of the prairies
 was fairly initiated, the three Bents and Ceran St. Vrain, also a
 French-Canadian and trapper, settled on the Upper Arkansas, where
 they erected a stockade.  It was, of course, a rude affair, formed of
 long stakes or pickets driven into the ground, after the Mexican
 style known as jacal.  The sides were then ceiled and roofed, and
 it served its purpose of a trading-post.  This primitive fort was
 situated on the left or north bank of the river, about halfway between
 Pueblo and Canyon City, those beautiful mountain towns of to-day.
 
 Two years afterward, in 1828, the proprietors of the primitive
 stockade in the remote wilderness found it necessary to move closer
 to the great hunting-grounds lower down the valley.  There, about
 twelve miles northeast of the now thriving town of Las Animas,
 the Bents commenced the construction of a relatively large and more
 imposing-looking structure than the first.  The principal material
 used in the new building, or rather in its walls, was adobe, or
 sun-dried brick, so common even to-day in New Mexican architecture.
 Four years elapsed before the new fort was completed, during which
 period its owners, like other trappers, lived in tents or teepees
 fashioned of buffalo-skins, after the manner of the Indians.
 
 When at last the new station was completed, it was named Fort William,
 in honour of Colonel William Bent, who was the leader of the family
 and the most active trader among the four partners in the concern.
 The colonel frequently made long trips to the remote villages of the
 Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Comanches, which were situated far
 to the south and east, on the Canadian River and its large tributaries.
 His miscellaneous assortment of merchandise he transported upon
 pack-mules to the Indian rendezvous, bringing back to the fort the
 valuable furs he had exchanged for the goods so eagerly coveted by
 the savages.  It was while on one of his trading expeditions to the
 Cheyenne nation that the colonel married a young squaw of that tribe,
 the daughter of the principal chief.
 
 William Bent for his day and time was an exceptionally good man.
 His integrity, his truthfulness on all occasions, and his remarkable
 courage endeared him to the red and white man alike, and Fort William
 prospered wonderfully under his careful and just management.  Both
 his brothers and St. Vrain had taken up their residence in Taos, and
 upon the colonel devolved the entire charge of the busy establishment.
 It soon became the most popular rendezvous of the mountaineers and
 trappers, and in its immediate vicinity several tribes of Indians
 took up their temporary encampment.
 
 In 1852 Fort William was destroyed under the following strange
 circumstances: It appears that the United States desired to purchase
 it.  Colonel Bent had decided upon a price--sixteen thousand dollars--
 but the representatives of the War Department offered only twelve
 thousand, which, of course, Bent refused.  Negotiations were still
 pending, when the colonel, growing tired of the red-tape and
 circumlocution of the authorities, and while in a mad mood, removed
 all his valuables from the structure, excepting some barrels of
 gunpowder, and then deliberately set fire to the old landmark.
 When the flames reached the powder, there was an explosion which
 threw down portions of the walls, but did not wholly destroy them.
 The remains of the once noted buildings stand to-day, melancholy
 relics of a past epoch.
 
 In the same year the indefatigable and indomitable colonel determined
 upon erecting a much more important structure.  He selected a site
 on the same side of the Arkansas, in the locality known as Big Timbers.
 Regarding this new venture, Colonel or Judge Moore of Las Animas,
 a son-in-law of William Bent, tells in a letter to the author of
 the history of Colorado the following facts:--
 
           Leaving ten men in camp to get out stone for the new post,
           Colonel Bent took a part of his outfit and went to a Kiowa
           village, about two hundred miles southwest, and remained
           there all winter, trading with the Kiowas and Comanches.
           In the spring of 1853 he returned to Big Timbers, when
           the construction of the new post was begun, and the work
           continued until completed in the summer of 1854; and it
           was used as a trading-post until the owner leased it to
           the government in the autumn of 1859.  Colonel Sedgwick had
           been sent out to fight the Kiowas that year, and in the fall
           a large quantity of commissary stores had been sent him.
           Colonel Bent then moved up the river to a point just above
           the mouth of the Purgatoire, and built several rooms of
           cottonwood pickets, and there spent the winter.  In the
           spring of 1860, Colonel Sedgwick began the construction of
           officers' buildings, company quarters, corrals, and stables,
           all of stone, and named the place Fort Wise, in honour of
           Governor Wise of Virginia.  In 1861 the name was changed to
           Fort Lyon, in honour of General Lyon, who was killed at the
           battle of Wilson Creek, Missouri.  In the spring of 1866,
           the Arkansas River overflowed its banks, swept up into the
           fort, and, undermining the walls, rendered it untenable for
           military purposes.  The camp was moved to a point twenty
           miles below, and the new Fort Lyon established.  The old
           post was repaired, and used as a stage station by Barlow,
           Sanderson, and Company, who ran a mail, express, and
           passenger line between Kansas City and Santa Fe.
 
 The contiguous region to Fort William was in the early days a famous
 hunting-ground.  It abounded in nearly every variety of animal
 indigenous to the mountains and plains, among which were the panther
 --the so-called California lion of to-day--the lynx, erroneously termed
 wild cat, white wolf, prairie wolf, silver-gray fox, prairie fox,
 antelope, buffalo, gray, grizzly and cinnamon bears, together with
 the common brown and black species, the red deer and the black-tail,
 the latter the finest venison in the world.  Of birds there were
 wild turkeys, quail, and grouse, besides an endless variety of the
 smaller-sized families, not regarded as belonging to the domain of
 game in a hunter's sense.  It was a veritable paradise, too, for the
 trappers.  Its numerous streams and creeks were famous for beaver,
 otter, and mink.
 
 Scarcely an acre of the surrounding area within the radius of
 hundreds of miles but has been the scene of many deadly encounters
 with the wily red man, stories of which are still current among the
 few old mountaineers yet living.
 
 The fort was six hundred and fifty miles west of Fort Leavenworth,
 in latitude thirty-eight degrees and two minutes north, and longitude
 one hundred and three degrees and three minutes west, from Greenwich.
 The exterior walls of the fort, whose figure was that of a parallelogram,
 were fifteen feet high and four feet thick.  It was a hundred and
 thirty-five feet wide and divided into various compartments.  On the
 northwest and southeast corners were hexagonal bastions, in which
 were mounted a number of cannon.  The walls of the building served
 as the walls of the rooms, all of which faced inwards on a plaza,
 after the general style of Mexican architecture.  The roofs of the
 rooms were made of poles, on which was a heavy layer of dirt, as in
 the houses of native Mexicans to-day.  The fort possessed a billiard
 table, that visitors might amuse themselves, and in the office was
 a small telescope with a fair range of seven miles.
 
 The occupants of the far-away establishment, in its palmy days
 (for years it was the only building between Council Grove and the
 mountains), were traders, Indians, hunters, and French trappers,
 who were the employees of the great fur companies.  Many of the latter
 had Indian wives.  Later, after a stage line had been put in operation
 across the plains to Santa Fe, the fort was relegated to a mere
 station for the overland route, and with the march of civilization
 in its course westward, the trappers, hunters, and traders vanished
 from the once famous rendezvous.
 
 The walls were loopholed for musketry, and the entrance to the plaza,
 or corral, was guarded by large wooden gates.  During the war with
 Mexico, the fort was headquarters for the commissary department,
 and many supplies were stored there, though the troops camped below
 on the beautiful river-bottom.  In the centre of the corral, in the
 early days when the place was a rendezvous of the trappers, a large
 buffalo-robe press was erected.  When the writer first saw the famous
 fort, now over a third of a century ago, one of the cannon, that
 burst in firing a salute to General Kearney, could be seen half
 buried in the dirt of the plaza.
 
 By barometrical measurements taken by the engineer officers of the
 army at different times, the height of Bent's Fort above the ocean
 level is approximately eight thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight
 feet, and the fall of the Arkansas River from the fort to the great
 bend of that stream, about three hundred and eleven miles east,
 is seven feet and four-tenths per mile.
 
 It was in a relatively fair state of preservation thirty-three years
 ago, but now not a vestige of it remains, excepting perhaps a mound
 of dirt, the disintegration of the mud bricks of which the historical
 structure was built.
 
 The Indians whose villages were located a few miles below the fort,
 or at least the chief men of the various tribes, passed much of their
 time within the shelter of the famous structure.  They were bountifully
 fed, and everything they needed furnished them.  This was purely from
 policy, however; for if their wishes were not gratified, their
 hunters would not bring in their furs to trade.  The principal chiefs
 never failed to be present when a meal was announced as ready, and
 however scarce provisions might be, the Indians must be fed.
 
 The first farm in the fertile and now valuable lands of the valley of
 the Rio de las Animas[60] was opened by the Bents.  The area selected
 for cultivation was in the beautiful bottom between the fort and the
 ford, a strip about a mile in length, and from one hundred and fifty
 to six hundred feet in width.  Nothing could be grown without irrigation,
 and to that end an acequia, as the Mexicans call the ditch through
 which the water flows, was constructed, and a crop put in.  Before
 the enterprising projectors of the scheme could reap a harvest,
 the hostile savages dashed in and destroyed everything.
 
 Uncle John Smith was one of the principal traders back in the '30's,
 and he was very successful, perhaps because he was undoubtedly the
 most perfect master of the Cheyenne language at that time in the
 whole mountain region.
 
 Among those who frequently came to the fort were Kit Carson,
 L. B. Maxwell, Uncle Dick Wooton, Baptiste Brown, Jim Bridger,
 Old Bill Williams, James Beckwourth, Shawnee Spiebuck, Shawnee Jake
 --the latter two, noted Indian trappers--besides a host of others.
 
 The majority of the old trappers, to a stranger, until he knew their
 peculiar characteristics, were seemingly of an unsociable disposition.
 It was an erroneous idea, however; for they were the most genial
 companions imaginable, generous to a fault, and to fall into one of
 their camps was indeed a lucky thing for the lost traveller.
 Everything the host had was at his guest's disposal, and though
 coffee and sugar were the dearest of his luxuries, often purchased
 with a whole season's trapping, the black fluid was offered with
 genuine free-heartedness, and the last plug of tobacco placed at the
 disposition of his chance visitor, as though it could be picked up
 on the ground anywhere.
 
 Goods brought by the traders to the rendezvous for sale to the
 trappers and hunters, although of the most inferior quality, were
 sold at enormously high prices.
 
 Coffee, by the pint-cup, which was the usual measure for everything,
 cost from a dollar and twenty cents to three dollars; tobacco a dollar
 and a half a plug; alcohol from two dollars to five dollars a pint;
 gunpowder one dollar and sixty cents a pint-cup, and all other
 articles at proportionably exorbitant rates.
 
 The annual gatherings of the trappers at the rendezvous were often
 the scene of bloody duels; for over their cups and cards no men were
 more quarrelsome than the old-time mountaineers.  Rifles at twenty
 paces settled all difficulties, and, as may be imagined, the fall
 of one or the other of the combatants was certain, or, as sometimes
 happened, both fell at the word "Fire!"
 
 The trapper's visits to the Mexican settlements, or to the lodges
 of a tribe of Indians, for the purpose of trading, often resulted
 in his returning to his quiet camp with a woman to grace his solitary
 home, the loving and lonely couple as devoted to each other in the
 midst of blood-thirsty enemies, howling wolves, and panthers, as if
 they were in some quiet country village.
 
 The easy manners of the harum-scarum, reckless trappers at the
 rendezvous, and the simple, unsuspecting hearts of those nymphs of
 the mountains, the squaws, caused their husbands to be very jealous
 of the attentions bestowed upon them by strangers.  Often serious
 difficulties arose, in the course of which the poor wife received
 a severe whipping with the knot of a lariat, or no very light
 lodge-poling at the hands of her imperious sovereign.  Sometimes
 the affair ended in a more tragical way than a mere beating, not
 infrequently the gallant paying the penalty of his interference with
 his life.
 
 Garrard, a traveller on the great plains and in the Rocky Mountains
 half a century ago, from whose excellent diary I have frequently
 quoted, passed many days and nights at Bent's Fort fifty years ago,
 and his quaint description of life there in that remote period of
 the extreme frontier is very amusing.  Its truth has often been
 confirmed by Uncle John Smith, who was my guide and interpreter in
 the Indian expedition of 1868-69, only two decades after Garrard's
 experience.
 
 Rosalie, a half-breed French and Indian squaw, wife of the carpenter,
 and Charlotte, the culinary divinity, were, as a Missouri teamster
 remarked, "the only female women here."  They were nightly led to
 the floor to trip the light fantastic toe, and swung rudely or gently
 in the mazes of the contra-dance, but such a medley of steps is
 seldom seen out of the mountains--the halting, irregular march of the
 war-dance, the slipping gallopade, the boisterous pitching of the
 Missouri backwoodsman, and the more nice gyrations of the Frenchman;
 for all, irrespective of rank, age, or colour, went pell-mell into
 the excitement, in a manner that would have rendered a leveller of
 aristocracies and select companies frantic with delight.  And the
 airs assumed by the fair ones, more particularly Charlotte, who took
 pattern from life in the States, were amusing.  She acted her part
 to perfection; she was the centre of attraction, the belle of the
 evening.  She treated the suitors for the pleasure of the next set
 with becoming ease and suavity of manner; she knew her worth, and
 managed accordingly.  When the favoured gallant stood by her side
 waiting for the rudely scraped tune from a screeching fiddle,
 satisfaction, joy, and triumph over his rivals were pictured on his
 radiant face.
 
 James Hobbs, of whom I have already spoken, once gave me a graphic
 description of the annual feast of the Comanches, Cheyennes, and
 Arapahoes, which always took place at Big Timbers, near Fort William.
 
 Hobbs was married to the daughter of Old Wolf, the chief of the
 Comanches, a really beautiful Indian girl, with whom he lived
 faithfully many years.  In the early summer of 1835, he went with his
 father-in-law and the rest of the tribe to the great feast of that
 season.  He stated that on that occasion there were forty thousand
 Indians assembled, and consequently large hunting parties were sent
 out daily to procure food for such a vast host.  The entertainment
 was kept up for fifteen days, enlivened by horse races, foot races,
 and playing ball.  In these races the tribes would bet their horses
 on the result, the Comanches generally winning, for they are the best
 riders in the world.  By the time the feast was ended, the Arapahoes
 and Cheyennes usually found themselves afoot, but Old Wolf, who was a
 generous fellow, always gave them back enough animals to get home with.
 
 The game of ball was played with crooked sticks, and is very much
 like the American boys' "shinny."  The participants are dressed in
 a simple breech-cloth and moccasins.  It is played with great
 enthusiasm and affords much amusement.
 
 At these annual feasts a council of the great chiefs of the three
 tribes is always held, and at the one during the season referred to,
 Hobbs said the Cheyenne chiefs wanted Old Wolf to visit Bent's Fort,
 where he had never been.  Upon the arrival of the delegation there,
 it was heartily welcomed by all the famous men who happened to be at
 the place, among whom were Kit Carson, Old John Smith, and several
 noted trappers.  Whiskey occupied a prominent place in the rejoicing,
 and "I found it hard work," said Hobbs, "to stand the many toasts
 drank to my good health."  The whole party, including Old Wolf and
 his companion the Cheyenne chief, got very much elated, and every
 person in the fort smelt whiskey, if they did not get their feet
 tangled with it.
 
 About midnight a messenger came inside, reporting that a thousand
 Comanche warriors were gathering around the fort.  They demanded
 their leaders, fearing treachery, and desired to know why their chief
 had not returned.  Hobbs went out and explained that he was safe;
 but they insisted on seeing him, so he and Hobbs showed themselves
 to the assembled Indians, and Old Wolf made a speech, telling them
 that he and the Cheyenne chief were among good friends to the Indians,
 and presents would be given to them the next morning.  The warriors
 were pacified with these assurances, though they did not leave the
 vicinity of the fort.
 
 It was at this time that Hobbs was ransomed by Colonel Bent, who gave
 Old Wolf, for him, six yards of red flannel, a pound of tobacco, and
 an ounce of beads.
 
 The chief was taken in charge by a lieutenant, who showed him all
 over the fort, letting him see the rifle port-holes, and explaining
 how the place could stand a siege against a thousand Indians.  Finally,
 he was taken out on the parapet, where there was a six-pounder at
 each angle.  The old savage inquired how they could shoot such a thing,
 and at Hobbs' request, a blank cartridge was put in the piece and
 fired.  Old Wolf sprang back in amazement, and the Indians on the
 outside, under the walls, knowing nothing of what was going on,
 ran away as fast as their legs could carry them, convinced that
 their chief must be dead now and their own safety dependent upon
 flight.  Old Wolf and Hobbs sprang upon the wall and signalled and
 shouted to them, and they returned, asking in great astonishment
 what kind of a monstrous gun it was.
 
 About noon trading commenced.  The Indians wished to come into the
 fort, but Bent would not let any enter but the chiefs.  At the back
 door the colonel displayed his goods, and the Indians brought forward
 their ponies, buffalo-robes, deer and other skins, which they traded
 for tobacco, beads, calico, flannel, knives, spoons, whistles,
 jews'-harps, etc.
 
 Whiskey was sold to them the first day, but as it caused several
 fights among them before night, Bent stopped its sale, at Hobbs'
 suggestion and with Old Wolf's consent.  Indians, when they get drunk,
 do not waste time by fighting with fists, like white men, but use
 knives and tomahawks; so that a general scrimmage is a serious affair.
 Two or three deaths resulted the first day, and there would have been
 many more if the sale of whiskey had not been stopped.
 
 The trading continued for eight days, and Colonel Bent reaped a rich
 harvest of what he could turn into gold at St. Louis.  Old Wolf slept
 in the fort each night except one during that time, and every time
 his warriors aroused him about twelve o'clock and compelled him to
 show himself on the walls to satisfy them of his safety.
 
 About a hundred trappers were in the employ of Bent and his partners.
 Sometimes one-half of the company were off on a hunt, leaving but
 a small force at the fort for its protection, but with the small
 battery there its defence was considered sufficient.
 
 One day a trapping party, consisting of Kit Carson, "Peg-leg" Smith,
 and James Hobbs, together with some Shawnee Indians, all under the
 lead of Carson, started out from Bent's Fort for the Picketwire to
 trap beaver.
 
 Grizzlies were very abundant in that region then, and one of the
 party, named McIntire, having killed an elk the evening before, said
 to Hobbs that they might stand a good chance to find a grizzly by
 the elk he had shot but had not brought in.  Hobbs said that he was
 willing to go with him, but as McIntire was a very green man in the
 mountains, Hobbs had some doubts of depending on him in case of an
 attack by a grizzly bear.
 
 The two men left for the ravine in which McIntire had killed the elk
 very early in the morning, taking with them tomahawks, hunting-knives,
 rifles, and a good dog.  On arriving at the ravine, Hobbs told
 McIntire to cross over to the other side and climb the hill, but on
 no account to go down into the ravine, as a grizzly is more dangerous
 when he has a man on the downhill side.  Hobbs then went to where he
 thought the elk might be if he had died by the bank of the stream;
 but as soon as he came near the water, he saw that a large grizzly
 had got there before him, having scented the animal, and was already
 making his breakfast.
 
 The bear was in thick, scrubby oak brush, and Hobbs, making his dog
 lie down, crawled behind a rock to get a favourable shot at the beast.
 He drew a bead on him and fired, but the bear only snarled at the
 wound made by the ball and started tearing through the brush, biting
 furiously at it as he went.  Hobbs reloaded his rifle carefully,
 and as quickly as he could, in order to get a second shot; but,
 to his amazement, he saw the bear rushing down the ravine chasing
 McIntire, who was only about ten feet in advance of the enraged beast,
 running for his life, and making as much noise as a mad bull.  He was
 terribly scared, and Hobbs hastened to his rescue, first sending his
 dog ahead.
 
 Just as the dog reached the bear, McIntire darted behind a tree and
 flung his hat in the bear's face, at the same time sticking his
 rifle toward him.  The old grizzly seized the muzzle of the gun in
 his teeth, and, as it was loaded and cocked, it either went off
 accidentally or otherwise and blew the bear's head open, just as the
 dog had fastened on his hindquarters.  Hobbs ran to the assistance
 of his comrade with all haste, but he was out of danger and had sat
 down a few rods away, with his face as white as a sheet, a badly
 frightened man.
 
 After that fearful scare, McIntire would cook or do anything, but
 said he never intended to make a business of bear-hunting; he had
 only wished for one adventure, and this one had satisfied him. 


 

PAWNEE ROCK.
 
 
 
 That portion of the great central plains which radiates from
 Pawnee Rock, including the Big Bend of the Arkansas, thirteen miles
 distant, where that river makes a sudden sweep to the southeast,
 and the beautiful valley of the Walnut, in all its vast area of
 more than a million square acres, was from time immemorial a sort of
 debatable land, occupied by none of the Indian tribes, but claimed
 by all to hunt in; for it was a famous pasturage of the buffalo.
 
 None of the various bands had the temerity to attempt its permanent
 occupancy; for whenever hostile tribes met there, which was of
 frequent occurrence, in their annual hunt for their winter's supply
 of meat, a bloody battle was certain to ensue.  The region referred
 to has been the scene of more sanguinary conflicts between the
 different Indians of the plains, perhaps, than any other portion
 of the continent.  Particularly was it the arena of war to the death,
 when the Pawnees met their hereditary enemies, the Cheyennes.
 
 Pawnee Rock was a spot well calculated by nature to form, as it
 has done, an important rendezvous and ambuscade for the prowling
 savages of the prairies, and often afforded them, especially the
 once powerful and murderous Pawnees whose name it perpetuates,
 a pleasant little retreat or eyrie from which to watch the passing
 Santa Fe traders, and dash down upon them like hawks, to carry off
 their plunder and their scalps.
 
 Through this once dangerous region, close to the silent Arkansas,
 and running under the very shadow of the rock, the Old Trail wound
 its course.  Now, at this point, it is the actual road-bed of the
 Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, so strangely are the past
 and present transcontinental highways connected here.
 
 Who, among bearded and grizzled old fellows like myself, has forgotten
 that most sensational of all the miserably executed illustrations
 in the geographies of fifty years ago, "The Santa Fe Traders attacked
 by Indians"?  The picture located the scene of the fight at Pawnee
 Rock, which formed a sort of nondescript shadow in the background
 of a crudely drawn representation of the dangers of the Trail.
 
 If this once giant sentinel[61] of the plains might speak, what a
 story it could tell of the events that have happened on the beautiful
 prairie stretching out for miles at its feet!
 
 In the early fall, when the rock was wrapped in the soft amber haze
 which is a distinguishing characteristic of the incomparable Indian
 summer on the plains; or in the spring, when the mirage weaves its
 mysterious shapes, it loomed up in the landscape as if it were a huge
 mountain, and to the inexperienced eye appeared as if it were the
 abrupt ending of a well-defined range.  But when the frost came,
 and the mists were dispelled; when the thin fringe of timber on the
 Walnut, a few miles distant, had doffed its emerald mantle, and
 the grass had grown yellow and rusty, then in the golden sunlight
 of winter, the rock sank down to its normal proportions, and cut
 the clear blue of the sky with sharply marked lines.
 
 In the days when the Santa Fe trade was at its height, the Pawnees
 were the most formidable tribe on the eastern central plains, and
 the freighters and trappers rarely escaped a skirmish with them
 either at the crossing of the Walnut, Pawnee Rock, the Fork of the
 Pawnee, or at Little and Big Coon creeks.  To-day what is left of
 the historic hill looks down only upon peaceful homes and fruitful
 fields, whereas for hundreds of years it witnessed nothing but battle
 and death, and almost every yard of brown sod at its base covered
 a skeleton.  In place of the horrid yell of the infuriated savage,
 as he wrenched off the reeking scalp of his victim, the whistle of
 the locomotive and the pleasant whirr of the reaping-machine is heard;
 where the death-cry of the painted warrior rang mournfully over
 the silent prairie, the waving grain is singing in beautiful rhythm
 as it bows to the summer breeze.
 
 Pawnee Rock received its name in a baptism of blood, but there are
 many versions as to the time and sponsors.  It was there that Kit
 Carson killed his first Indian, and from that fight, as he told me
 himself, the broken mass of red sandstone was given its distinctive
 title.
 
 It was late in the spring of 1826; Kit was then a mere boy, only
 seventeen years old, and as green as any boy of his age who had never
 been forty miles from the place where he was born.  Colonel Ceran
 St. Vrain, then a prominent agent of one of the great fur companies,
 was fitting out an expedition destined for the far-off Rocky Mountains,
 the members of which, all trappers, were to obtain the skins of the
 buffalo, beaver, otter, mink, and other valuable fur-bearing animals
 that then roamed in immense numbers on the vast plains or in the
 hills, and were also to trade with the various tribes of Indians on
 the borders of Mexico.
 
 Carson joined this expedition, which was composed of twenty-six
 mule wagons, some loose stock, and forty-two men.  The boy was hired
 to help drive the extra animals, hunt game, stand guard, and to make
 himself generally useful, which, of course, included fighting Indians
 if any were met with on the long route.
 
 The expedition left Fort Osage one bright morning in May in excellent
 spirits, and in a few hours turned abruptly to the west on the broad
 Trail to the mountains.  The great plains in those early days were
 solitary and desolate beyond the power of description; the Arkansas
 River sluggishly followed the tortuous windings of its treeless banks
 with a placidness that was awful in its very silence; and whoso
 traced the wanderings of that stream with no companion but his own
 thoughts, realized in all its intensity the depth of solitude from
 which Robinson Crusoe suffered on his lonely island.  Illimitable as
 the ocean, the weary waste stretched away until lost in the purple of
 the horizon, and the mirage created weird pictures in the landscape,
 distorted distances and objects which continually annoyed and deceived.
 Despite its loneliness, however, there was then, and ever has been
 for many men, an infatuation for those majestic prairies that once
 experienced is never lost, and it came to the boyish heart of Kit,
 who left them but with life, and full of years.
 
 There was not much variation in the eternal sameness of things during
 the first two weeks, as the little train moved day after day through
 the wilderness of grass, its ever-rattling wheels only intensifying
 the surrounding monotony.  Occasionally, however, a herd of buffalo
 was discovered in the distance, their brown, shaggy sides contrasting
 with the never-ending sea of verdure around them.  Then young Kit,
 and two or three others of the party who were detailed to supply
 the teamsters and trappers with meat, would ride out after them on
 the best of the extra horses which were always kept saddled and tied
 together behind the last wagon for services of this kind.  Kit, who
 was already an excellent horseman and a splendid shot with the rifle,
 would soon overtake them, and topple one after another of their huge
 fat carcasses over on the prairie until half a dozen or more were
 lying dead.  The tender humps, tongues, and other choice portions
 were then cut out and put in a wagon which had by that time reached
 them from the train, and the expedition rolled on.
 
 So they marched for about three weeks, when they arrived at the
 crossing of the Walnut, where they saw the first signs of Indians.
 They had halted for that day; the mules were unharnessed, the
 camp-fires lighted, and the men just about to indulge in their
 refreshing coffee, when suddenly half a dozen Pawnees, mounted on
 their ponies, hideously painted and uttering the most demoniacal
 yells, rushed out of the tall grass on the river-bottom, where they
 had been ambushed, and swinging their buffalo-robes, attempted to
 stampede the herd picketed near the camp.  The whole party were on
 their feet in an instant with rifles in hand, and all the savages
 got for their trouble were a few well-deserved shots as they hurriedly
 scampered back to the river and over into the sand hills on the other
 side, soon to be out of sight.
 
 The expedition travelled sixteen miles next day, and camped at
 Pawnee Rock, where, after the experience of the evening before,
 every precaution was taken to prevent a surprise by the savages.
 The wagons were formed into a corral, so that the animals could be
 secured in the event of a prolonged fight; the guards were drilled
 by the colonel, and every man slept with his rifle for a bed-fellow,
 for the old trappers knew that the Indians would never remain
 satisfied with their defeat on the Walnut, but would seize the first
 favourable opportunity to renew their attack.
 
 At dark the sentinels were placed in position, and to young Kit fell
 the important post immediately in front of the south face of the
 Rock, nearly two hundred yards from the corral; the others being at
 prominent points on top, and on the open prairie on either side.
 All who were not on duty had long since been snoring heavily,
 rolled up in their blankets and buffalo-robes, when at about half-past
 eleven, one of the guard gave the alarm, "Indians!" and ran the mules
 that were nearest him into the corral.  In a moment the whole company
 turned out at the report of a rifle ringing on the clear night air,
 coming from the direction of the rock.  The men had gathered at
 the opening to the corral, waiting for developments, when Kit came
 running in, and as soon as he was near enough, the colonel asked him
 whether he had seen any Indians.  "Yes," Kit replied, "I killed one
 of the red devils; I saw him fall!"
 
 The alarm proved to be false; there was no further disturbance that
 night, so the party returned to their beds, and the sentinels to
 their several posts, Kit of course to his place in front of the Rock.
 
 Early the next morning, before breakfast even, all were so anxious
 to see Kit's dead Indian, that they went out en masse to where he was
 still stationed, and instead of finding a painted Pawnee, as was
 expected, they found the boy's riding mule dead, shot right through
 the head.
 
 Kit felt terribly mortified over his ridiculous blunder, and it was
 a long time before he heard the last of his midnight adventure and
 his raid on his own mule.  But he always liked to tell the "balance
 of the story," as he termed it, and this is his version: "I had not
 slept any the night before, for I stayed awake watching to get a
 shot at the Pawnees that tried to stampede our animals, expecting
 they would return; and I hadn't caught a wink all day, as I was out
 buffalo hunting, so I was awfully tired and sleepy when we arrived
 at Pawnee Rock that evening, and when I was posted at my place at
 night, I must have gone to sleep leaning against the rocks; at any
 rate, I was wide enough awake when the cry of Indians was given by
 one of the guard.  I had picketed my mule about twenty steps from
 where I stood, and I presume he had been lying down; all I remember
 is that the first thing I saw after the alarm was something rising up
 out of the grass, which I thought was an Indian.  I pulled the trigger;
 it was a centre shot, and I don't believe the mule ever kicked after
 he was hit!"
 
 The next morning about daylight, a band of Pawnees attacked the train
 in earnest, and kept the little command busy all that day, the next
 night, and until the following midnight, nearly three whole days,
 the mules all the time being shut in the corral without food or water.
 At midnight of the second day the colonel ordered the men to hitch up
 and attempt to drive on to the crossing of Pawnee Fork, thirteen miles
 distant.[62]  They succeeded in getting there, fighting their way
 without the loss of any of their men or animals.  The Trail crossed
 the creek in the shape of a horseshoe, or rather, in consequence of
 the double bend of the stream as it empties into the Arkansas, the
 road crossed it twice.  In making this passage, dangerous on account
 of its crookedness, Kit said many of the wagons were badly mashed up;
 for the mules were so thirsty that their drivers could not control
 them.  The train was hardly strung out on the opposite bank when
 the Indians poured in a volley of bullets and a shower of arrows
 from both sides of the Trail; but before they could load and fire
 again, a terrific charge was on them, led by Colonel St. Vrain and
 Carson.  It required only a few moments more to clean out the
 persistent savages, and the train went on.  During the whole fight
 the little party lost four men killed and seven wounded, and eleven
 mules killed (not counting Kit's), and twenty badly wounded.
 
 A great many years ago, very early in the days of the trade with
 New Mexico, seven Americans were surprised by a large band of Pawnees
 in the vicinity of the Rock and were compelled to retreat to it for
 safety.  There, without water, and with but a small quantity of
 provisions, they were besieged by their blood-thirsty foes for two
 days, when a party of traders coming on the Trail relieved them from
 their perilous situation and the presence of their enemy.  There were
 several graves on its summit when I first saw Pawnee Rock; but
 whether they contained the bones of savages or those of white men,
 I do not know.
 
 Carson related to me another terrible fight that took place at the
 rock, when he first became a trapper.  He was not a participant,
 but knew the parties well.  About twenty-nine years ago, Kit, Jack
 Henderson, who was agent for the Ute Indians, Lucien B. Maxwell,
 General Carleton and myself were camped halfway up the rugged sides
 of Old Baldy, in the Raton Range.  The night was intensely cold,
 although in midsummer, and we were huddled around a little fire of
 pine knots, more than seven thousand feet above the level of the sea,
 close to the snow limit.
 
 Kit, or "the General," as every one called him, was in a good humour
 for talking, and we naturally took advantage of this to draw him out;
 for usually he was the most reticent of men in relating his own
 exploits.  A casual remark made by Maxwell opened Carson's mouth,
 and he said he remembered one of the "worst difficults" a man ever
 got into.[63]  So he made a fresh corn-shuck cigarette, and related
 the following; but the names of the old trappers who were the
 principals in the fight I have unfortunately forgotten.
 
 Two men had been trapping in the Powder River country during one
 winter with unusually good luck, and they got an early start with
 their furs, which they were going to take to Weston, on the Missouri,
 one of the principal trading points in those days.  They walked the
 whole distance, driving their pack-mules before them, and experienced
 no trouble until they struck the Arkansas valley at Pawnee Rock.
 There they were intercepted by a war-party of about sixty Pawnees.
 Both of the trappers were notoriously brave and both dead shots.
 Before they arrived at the rock, to which they were finally driven,
 they killed two of the Indians, and had not themselves received a
 scratch.  They had plenty of powder, a pouch full of balls each,
 and two good rifles.  They also had a couple of jack-rabbits for
 food in case of a siege, and the perpendicular walls of the front
 of the rock made them a natural fortification, an almost impregnable
 one against Indians.
 
 They succeeded in securely picketing their animals at the side of
 the rock, where they could protect them by their unerring rifles
 from being stampeded.  After the Pawnees had "treed" the two trappers
 on the rock, they picked up their dead, and packed them off to their
 camp at the mouth of a little ravine a short distance away.  In a few
 moments back they all came, mounted on fast ponies, with their
 war-paint and other fixings on, ready to renew the fight.  They
 commenced to circle around the place, coming closer, Indian fashion,
 every time, until they got within easy rifle-range, when they slung
 themselves on the opposite sides of their horses, and in that position
 opened fire.  Their arrows fell like a hailstorm, but as good luck
 would have it, none of them struck, and the balls from their rifles
 were wild, as the Indians in those days were not very good shots;
 the rifle was a new weapon to them.  The trappers at first were
 afraid the savages would surely try to kill the mules, but soon
 reflected that the Indians believed they had the "dead-wood" on them,
 and the mules would come handy after they had been scalped; so they
 felt satisfied their animals were safe for a while anyhow.  The men
 were taking in all the chances, however; both kept their eyes skinned,
 and whenever one of them saw a stray leg or head, he drew a bead
 on it and when he pulled the trigger, its owner tumbled over with
 a yell of rage from his companions.
 
 Whenever the savages attempted to carry off their dead,[64] the two
 trappers took advantage of the opportunity, and poured in their
 shots every time with telling effect.
 
 By this time night had fallen, and the Indians did not seem anxious
 to renew the fight after dark; but they kept their mounted patrols
 on every side of the rock, at a respectable distance from such dead
 shots, watching to prevent the escape of the besieged.  As they were
 hungry, one of the men went down under cover of the darkness to get
 a few buffalo-chips with which to cook their rabbit, and to change
 the animals to where they could get fresh grass.  He returned safely
 to the summit of the rock, where a little fire was made and their
 supper prepared.  They had to go without water all the time, and so
 did the mules; the men did not mind the want of it themselves, but
 they could not help pitying their poor animals that had had none
 since they left camp early that morning.  It was no use to worry,
 though; the nearest water was at the river, and it would have been
 certain death to have attempted to go there unless the savages
 cleared out, and from all appearances they had no idea of doing that.
 
 What gave the trappers more cause for alarm than anything else,
 was the fear that the Indians would fire the prairie in the morning,
 and endeavour to smoke them out or burn them up.  The grass was in
 just the condition to make a lively blaze, and they might escape
 the flames, and then they might not.  It can well be imagined how
 eagerly they watched for the dawn of another day, perhaps the last
 for them.
 
 The first gray streaks of light had hardly peeped above the horizon,
 when, with an infernal yell, the Indians broke for the rock, and
 the trappers were certain that some new project had entered their
 heads.  The wind was springing up pretty freshly, and nature seemed
 to conspire with the red devils, if they really meant to burn the
 trappers out; and from the movements of the savages, that was what
 they expected.  The Indians kept at a respectful distance from the
 range of the trappers' rifles, who chafed because they could not
 stop some of the infernal yelling with a few well-directed bullets,
 but they had to choke their rage, and watch events closely.  During
 a temporary lull in hostilities, one of the trappers took occasion
 to crawl down to where the mules were, and shift them to the west
 side of the rock, where the wall was the highest; so that the flame
 and smoke might possibly pass by them without so much danger as where
 they were picketed before.  He had just succeeded in doing this,
 and, tearing up the long grass for several yards around the animals,
 was in the act of going back, when his partner yelled out to him:
 "Look out!  D---n 'em, they've fired the prairie!"  He was back on
 the top of the rock in another moment, and took in at a glance what
 was coming.
 
 The spectacle for a short interval was indescribably grand; the sun
 was shining with all the power of its rays on the huge clouds of smoke
 as they rolled down from the north, tinting them a glorious crimson.
 The two trappers had barely time to get under the shelter of a large
 projecting point of the rocky wall, when the wind and smoke swept
 down to the ground, and instantly they were enveloped in the darkness
 of midnight.  They could not discern a single object; neither Indians,
 horses, the prairie, nor the sun; and what a terrible wind!
 
 The trappers stood breathless, clinging to the projections of rock,
 and did not realize the fire was so near them until they were struck
 in the face by pieces of burning buffalo-chips that were carried
 toward them with the rapidity of the awful wind.  They were now badly
 scared, for it seemed as if they were to be suffocated.  They were
 saved, however, almost miraculously; the sheet of flame passed them
 twenty yards away, as the wind fortunately shifted at the moment
 the fire reached the foot of the rock.  The darkness was so intense
 that they did not discover the flame; they only knew that they were
 saved as the clear sky greeted them from behind the dense smoke-cloud.
 
 Two of the Indians and their horses were caught in their own trap,
 and perished miserably.  They had attempted to reach the east side
 of the rock, so as to steal around to the other side where the mules
 were, and either cut them loose or crawl up on the trappers while
 bewildered in the smoke and kill them, if they were not already dead.
 But they had proceeded only a few rods on their little expedition,
 when the terrible darkness of the smoke-cloud overtook them and soon
 the flames, from which there was no possible escape.
 
 All the game on the prairie which the fire swept over was killed too.
 Only a few buffalo were visible in that region before the fire, but
 even they were killed.  The path of the flames, as was discovered by
 the caravans that passed over the Trail a few days afterward, was
 marked with the crisp and blackened carcasses of wolves, coyotes,
 turkeys, grouse, and every variety of small birds indigenous to the
 region.  Indeed, it seemed as if no living thing it had met escaped
 its fury.  The fire assumed such gigantic proportions, and moved
 with such rapidity before the wind, that even the Arkansas River
 did not check its path for a moment; it was carried as readily across
 as if the stream had not been in its way.
 
 The first thought of the trappers on the rock was for their poor
 mules.   One crawled to where they were, and found them badly singed,
 but not seriously injured.  The men began to brighten up again when
 they knew that their means of transportation were relatively all
 right, and themselves also, and they took fresh courage, beginning
 to believe they should get out of their bad scrape after all.
 
 In the meantime the Indians, with the exception of three or four
 left to guard the rock, so as to prevent the trappers from getting
 away, had gone back to their camp in the ravine, and were evidently
 concocting some new scheme for the discomfort of the besieged
 trappers.  The latter waited patiently two or three hours for the
 development of events, snatching a little sleep by turns, which they
 needed much; for both were worn out by their constant watching.
 At last when the sun was about three hours high, the Indians commenced
 their infernal howling again, and then the trappers knew they had
 decided upon something; so they were on the alert in a moment to
 discover what it was, and euchre them if possible.
 
 The devils this time had tied all their ponies together, covered
 them with branches of trees that they had gone up on the Walnut for,
 packed some lodge-skins on these, and then, driving the living
 breastworks before them, moved toward the rock.  They proceeded
 cautiously but surely, and matters began to look very serious for
 the trappers.  As the strange cavalcade approached, a trapper raised
 his rifle, and a masked pony tumbled over on the scorched sod dead.
 As one of the Indians ran to cut him loose, the other trapper took
 him off his feet by a well-directed shot; he never uttered a groan.
 The besieged now saw their only salvation was to kill the ponies
 and so demoralize the Indians that they would have to abandon such
 tactics, and quicker than I can tell it, they had stretched four
 more out on the prairie, and made it so hot for the savages that
 they ran out of range and began to hold a council of war.
 
 Finding that their plan would not work--for as the last pony was shot,
 the rest stampeded and were running wild over the prairie--the Indians
 soon went back to their camp again, and the trappers now had a few
 spare moments in which to take an account of stock.  They discovered,
 much to their chagrin, that they had used up all their ammunition
 except three or four loads, and despair hovered over them once more.
 
 The Indians did not reappear that evening, and the cause was apparent;
 for in the distance could be seen a long line of wagons, one of the
 large American caravans en route to Santa Fe.  The savages had seen
 it before the trappers, and had cleared out.  When the train arrived
 opposite the rock, the relieved men came down from their little
 fortress, joined the caravan, and camped with the Americans that
 night on the Walnut.  While they were resting around their camp-fire,
 smoking and telling of their terrible experience on the top of the
 rock, the Indians could be heard chanting the death-song while they
 were burying their warriors under the blackened sod of the prairie.
 
 I witnessed a spirited encounter between a small band of Cheyennes
 and Pawnees in the fall of 1867.  It occurred on the open prairie
 north of the mouth of the Walnut, and not a great distance from
 Pawnee Rock.  Both tribes were hunting buffalo, and when they,
 by accident, discovered the presence of each other, with a yell
 that fairly shook the sand dunes on the Arkansas, they rushed at once
 into the shock of battle.
 
 That night, in a timbered bend of the Walnut, the victors had a grand
 dance, in which scalps, ears, and fingers of their enemies, suspended
 by strings to long poles, were important accessories to their weird
 orgies around their huge camp-fires.[65]
 
 One of the most horrible massacres in the history of the Trail
 occurred at Little Cow Creek in the summer of 1864.  In July of that
 year a government caravan, loaded with military stores for Fort Union
 in New Mexico, left Fort Leavenworth for the long and dangerous
 journey of more than seven hundred miles over the great plains,
 which that season were infested by Indians to a degree almost without
 precedent in the annals of freight traffic.
 
 The train was owned by a Mr. H. C. Barret, a contractor with the
 quartermaster's department; but he declined to take the chances of
 the trip unless the government would lease the outfit in its entirety,
 or give him an indemnifying bond as assurance against any loss.
 The chief quartermaster executed the bond as demanded, and Barret
 hired his teamsters for the hazardous journey; but he found it a
 difficult matter to induce men to go out that season.
 
 Among those whom he persuaded to enter his employ was a mere boy,
 named McGee, who came wandering into Leavenworth a few weeks before
 the train was ready to leave, seeking work of any description.
 His parents had died on their way to Kansas, and on his arrival at
 Westport Landing, the emigrant outfit that had extended to him
 shelter and protection in his utter loneliness was disbanded; so the
 youthful orphan was thrown on his own resources.  At that time the
 Indians of the great plains, especially along the line of the Santa Fe
 Trail, were very hostile, and continually harassing the freight
 caravans and stage-coaches of the overland route.  Companies of men
 were enlisting and being mustered into the United States service to
 go out after the savages, and young Robert McGee volunteered with
 hundreds of others for the dangerous duty.  The government needed
 men badly, but McGee's youth militated against him, and he was below
 the required stature; so he was rejected by the mustering officer.
 
 Mr. Barret, in hunting for teamsters to drive his caravan, came
 across McGee, who, supposing that he was hiring as a government
 employee, accepted Mr. Barret's offer.
 
 By the last day of June the caravan was all ready, and on the morning
 of the next day, July 1, the wagons rolled out of the fort, escorted
 by a company of United States troops, from the volunteers referred to.
 
 The caravan wound its weary way over the lonesome Trail with nothing
 to relieve the monotony save a few skirmishes with the Indians; but
 no casualties occurred in these insignificant battles, the savages
 being afraid to venture too near on account of the presence of the
 military escort.
 
 On the 18th of July, the caravan arrived in the vicinity of Fort
 Larned.  There it was supposed that the proximity of that military
 post would be a sufficient guarantee from any attack of the savages;
 so the men of the train became careless, and as the day was excessively
 hot, they went into camp early in the afternoon, the escort remaining
 in bivouac about a mile in the rear of the train.
 
 About five o'clock, a hundred and fifty painted savages, under the
 command of Little Turtle of the Brule Sioux, swooped down on the
 unsuspecting caravan while the men were enjoying their evening meal.
 Not a moment was given them to rally to the defence of their lives,
 and of all belonging to the outfit, with the exception of one boy,
 not a soul came out alive.
 
 The teamsters were every one of them shot dead and their bodies
 horribly mutilated.  After their successful raid, the savages
 destroyed everything they found in the wagons, tearing the covers
 into shreds, throwing the flour on the trail, and winding up by
 burning everything that was combustible.
 
 On the same day the commanding officer of Fort Larned had learned
 from some of his scouts that the Brule Sioux were on the war-path,
 and the chief of the scouts with a handful of soldiers was sent out
 to reconnoitre.  They soon struck the trail of Little Turtle and
 followed it to the scene of the massacre on Cow Creek, arriving
 there only two hours after the savages had finished their devilish
 work.  Dead men were lying about in the short buffalo-grass which
 had been stained and matted by their flowing blood, and the agonized
 posture of their bodies told far more forcibly than any language
 the tortures which had come before a welcome death.  All had been
 scalped; all had been mutilated in that nameless manner which seems
 to delight the brutal instincts of the North American savage.
 
 Moving slowly from one to the other of the lifeless forms which
 still showed the agony of their death-throes, the chief of the scouts
 came across the bodies of two boys, both of whom had been scalped
 and shockingly wounded, besides being mutilated, yet, strange to say,
 both of them were alive.  As tenderly as the men could lift them,
 they were conveyed at once back to Fort Larned and given in charge
 of the post surgeon.  One of the boys died in a few hours after his
 arrival in the hospital, but the other, Robert McGee, slowly regained
 his strength, and came out of the ordeal in fairly good health.
 
 The story of the massacre was related by young McGee, after he was
 able to talk, while in the hospital at the fort; for he had not
 lost consciousness during the suffering to which he was subjected
 by the savages.
 
 He was compelled to witness the tortures inflicted on his wounded and
 captive companions, after which he was dragged into the presence of
 the chief, Little Turtle, who determined that he would kill the boy
 with his own hands.  He shot him in the back with his own revolver,
 having first knocked him down with a lance handle.  He then drove
 two arrows through the unfortunate boy's body, fastening him to the
 ground, and stooping over his prostrate form ran his knife around
 his head, lifting sixty-four square inches of his scalp, trimming
 it off just behind his ears.
 
 Believing him dead by that time, Little Turtle abandoned his victim;
 but the other savages, as they went by his supposed corpse, could not
 resist their infernal delight in blood, so they thrust their knives
 into him, and bored great holes in his body with their lances.
 
 After the savages had done all that their devilish ingenuity could
 contrive, they exultingly rode away, yelling as they bore off the
 reeking scalps of their victims, and drove away the hundreds of mules
 they had captured.
 
 When the tragedy was ended, the soldiers, who had from their
 vantage-ground witnessed the whole diabolical transaction, came up
 to the bloody camp by order of their commander, to learn whether
 the teamsters had driven away their assailants, and saw too late
 what their cowardice had allowed to take place.  The officer in
 command of the escort was dismissed the service, as he could not
 give any satisfactory reason for not going to the rescue of the
 caravan he had been ordered to guard. 


 

FOOLING STAGE ROBBERS.
 
 
 
 The Wagon Mound, so called from its resemblance to a covered army-wagon,
 is a rocky mesa forty miles from Point of Rocks, westwardly.
 The stretch of the Trail from the latter to the mound has been
 the scene of some desperate encounters, only exceeded in number
 and sanguinary results by those which have occurred in the region of
 Pawnee Rock, the crossing of the Walnut, Pawnee Fork, and Cow Creek.
 
 One of the most remarkable stories of this Wagon Mound country dealt
 with the nerve and bravery exhibited by John L. Hatcher in defence
 of his life, and those of the men in his caravan, about 1858.
 
 Hatcher was a noted trader and merchant of New Mexico.  He was also
 celebrated as an Indian fighter, and his name was a terror to the
 savages who infested the settlements of New Mexico and raided the Trail.
 
 He left Taos, where he then resided, in the summer, with his caravan
 loaded with furs and pelts destined for Westport Landing; to be
 forwarded from there to St. Louis, the only market for furs in the
 far West.  His train was a small one, comprising about fifteen wagons
 and handled by about as many men, including himself.  At the date
 of his adventure the Indians were believed to be at peace with
 everybody; a false idea, as Hatcher well knew, for there never was
 such a condition of affairs as absolute immunity from their attacks.
 While it might be true that the old men refrained for a time from
 starting out on the war-path, there were ever the vastly greater
 number of restless young warriors who had not yet earned their eagle
 feathers, who could not be controlled by their chiefs, and who were
 always engaged in marauding, either among the border settlements
 or along the line of the Trail.
 
 When Hatcher was approaching the immediate vicinity of Wagon Mound,[66]
 with his train strung out in single column, to his great astonishment
 there suddenly charged on him from over the hill about three hundred
 savages, all feather-bedecked and painted in the highest style of
 Indian art.  As they rode toward the caravan, they gave the sign
 of peace, which Hatcher accepted for the time as true, although he
 knew them well.  However, he invited the head men to some refreshment,
 as was usual on such occasions in those days, throwing a blanket
 on the ground, on which sugar in abundance was served out.
 The sweet-toothed warriors helped themselves liberally, and affected
 much delight at the way they were being treated; but Hatcher, with
 his knowledge of the savage character, was firm in the belief that
 they came for no other purpose than to rob the caravan and kill him
 and his men.
 
 They were Comanches, and one of the most noted chiefs of the tribe
 was in command of the band, with some inferior chiefs under him.
 I think it was Old Wolf, a very old man then, whose raids into Texas
 had made his name a terror to the Mexicans living on the border.
 
 While the chiefs were eating their saccharine lunch, Hatcher was
 losing no time in forming his wagons into a corral, but he told his
 friends afterward that he had no idea that either he or any of his
 men would escape; only fifteen or sixteen men against over three
 hundred merciless savages, and those the worst on the continent,
 and a small corral--the chances were totally hopeless!  Nothing but
 a desperate action could avail, and maybe not even that.[67]  Hatcher,
 after the other head men had finished eating, asked the old chief
 to send his young warriors away over the hill.  They were all sitting
 close to one of the wagons, Old Wolf, in fact, leaning against the
 wheel resting on his blanket, with Hatcher next him on his right.
 Hatcher was so earnest in his appeal to have the young men sent away,
 that both the venerable villain and his other chiefs rose and were
 standing.  Without a moment's notice or the slightest warning,
 Hatcher reached with his left hand and grabbed Old Wolf by his
 scalp-lock, and with his right drew his butcher-knife from its
 scabbard and thrust it at the throat of the chief.  All this was
 done in an instant, as quick as lightning; no one had time to move.
 The situation was remarkable.  The little, wiry man, surrounded by
 eight or nine of the most renowned warriors of the dreaded Comanches,
 stood firm; everybody was breathless; not a word did the savages say.
 Hatcher then said again to Old Wolf, in the most determined manner:
 "Send your young men over the hill at once, or I'll kill you right
 where you are!" holding on to the hair of the savage with his left
 hand and keeping the knife at his throat.
 
 The other Indians did not dare to make a move; they knew what kind of
 a man Hatcher was; they knew he would do as he had said, and that if
 they attempted a rescue he would kill their favourite chief in a second.
 
 Old Wolf shook his head defiantly in the negative.  Hatcher repeated
 his order, getting madder all the time: "Send your young men over
 the hill; I tell you!"  Old Wolf was still stubborn; he shook his
 head again.  Hatcher gave him another chance: "Send your young men
 over the hill, I tell you, or I'll scalp you alive as you are!"
 Again the chief shook his head.  Then Hatcher, still holding on the
 hair of his stubborn victim, commenced to make an incision in the
 head of Old Wolf, for the determined man was bound to carry out his
 threat; but he began very slowly.
 
 As the chief felt the blood trickle down his forehead, he weakened.
 He ordered his next in command to send the young men over the hill
 and out of sight.  The order was repeated immediately to the warriors,
 who were astonished spectators of the strange scene, and they quickly
 mounted their horses and rode away over the hill as fast as they
 could thump their animals' sides with their legs, leaving only five
 or six chiefs with Old Wolf and Hatcher.
 
 Hatcher held on like grim death to the old chief's head, and immediately
 ordered his men to throw the robes out of the wagons as quickly as
 they could, and get inside themselves.  This was promptly obeyed,
 and when they were all under the cover of the wagon sheets, Hatcher
 let go of his victim's hair, and, with a last kick, told him and his
 friends that they could leave.  They went off, and did not return.
 
 Some laughable incidents have enlivened the generally sanguinary
 history of the Old Santa Fe Trail, but they were very serious at
 the time to those who were the actors, and their ludicrousness came
 after all was over.
 
 In the late summer of 1866, a thieving band of Apaches came into the
 vicinity of Fort Union, New Mexico, and after carefully reconnoitring
 the whole region and getting at the manner in which the stock
 belonging to the fort was herded, they secreted themselves in the
 Turkey Mountains overlooking the entire reservation, and lay in wait
 for several days, watching for a favourable moment to make a raid
 into the valley and drive off the herd.
 
 Selecting an occasion when the guard was weak and not very alert,
 they in broad daylight crawled under the cover of a hill, and,
 mounting their horses, dashed out with the most unearthly yells and
 down among the animals that were quietly grazing close to the fort,
 which terrified these so greatly that they broke away from the herders,
 and started at their best gait toward the mountains, closely followed
 by the savages.
 
 The astonished soldiers used every effort to avert the evident loss
 of their charge, and many shots were exchanged in the running fight
 that ensued; but the Indians were too strong for them, and they were
 forced to abandon the chase.
 
 Among the herders was a bugler boy, who was remarkable for his bravery
 in the skirmish and for his untiring endeavours to turn the animals
 back toward the fort, but all without avail; on they went, with the
 savages, close to their heels, giving vent to the most vociferous
 shouts of exultation, and directing the most obscene and insulting
 gesticulations to the soldiers that were after them.
 
 While this exciting contest for the mastery was going on, an old
 Apache chief dashed in the rear of the bold bugler boy, and could,
 without doubt, easily have killed the little fellow; but instead of
 doing this, from some idea of a good joke, or for some other
 incomprehensible reason, his natural blood-thirsty instinct was
 changed, and he merely knocked the bugler's hat from his head with
 the flat of his hand, and at the same time encouragingly stroked his
 hair, as much as to say: "You are a brave boy," and then rode off
 without doing him any harm.
 
 Thirty years ago last August, I was riding from Fort Larned to Fort
 Union, New Mexico, in the overland coach.  I had one of my clerks
 with me; we were the only passengers, and arrived at Fort Dodge,
 which was the commencement of the "long route," at midnight.
 There we changed drivers, and at the break of day were some
 twenty-four miles on our lonely journey.  The coach was rattling
 along at a breakneck gait, and I saw that something was evidently
 wrong.  Looking out of one of the doors, I noticed that our Jehu was
 in a beastly state of intoxication.  It was a most dangerous portion
 of the Trail; the Indians were not in the best of humours, and an
 attack was not at all improbable before we arrived at the next
 station, Fort Lyon.
 
 I said to my clerk that something must be done; so I ordered the
 driver to halt, which he did willingly, got out, and found that,
 notwithstanding his drunken mood, he was very affable and disposed
 to be full of fun.  I suggested that he get inside the coach and
 lie down to sleep off his potations, to which he readily assented,
 while I and my clerk, after snugly fixing him on the cushions,
 got on the boot, I taking the lines, he seizing an old trace-chain,
 with which he pounded the mules along; for we felt ourselves in a
 ticklish predicament should we come across any of the brigands of
 the plains, on that lonely route, with the animals to look out for,
 and only two of us to do the fighting.
 
 Suddenly we saw sitting on the bank of the Arkansas River, about
 a dozen rods from the Trail, an antiquated-looking savage with his
 war-bonnet on, and armed with a long lance and his bow and arrows.
 We did not care a cent for him, but I thought he might be one of
 the tribe's runners, lying in wait to discover the condition of the
 coach--whether it had an escort, and how many were riding in it, and
 that then he would go and tell how ridiculously small the outfit was,
 and swoop down on us with a band of his colleagues, that were hidden
 somewhere in the sand hills south of the river.  He rose as we came
 near, and made the sign, after he had given vent to a series of
 "How's!" that he wanted to talk; but we were not anxious for any
 general conversation with his savage majesty just then, so my clerk
 applied the trace-chain more vigorously to the tired mules, in order
 to get as many miles between him and the coach as we could before
 he could get over into the sand hills and back.
 
 It was, fortunately, a false alarm; the old warrior perhaps had no
 intentions of disturbing us.  We arrived at Fort Lyon in good season,
 with our valorous driver absolutely sobered, requesting me to say
 nothing about his accident, which, of course, I did not.
 
 As has been stated, the caravans bound for Santa Fe and the various
 forts along the line of the Old Trail did not leave the eastern end
 of the route until the grass on the plains, on which the animals
 depended solely for subsistence the whole way, grew sufficiently to
 sustain them, which was usually about the middle of May.  But a great
 many years ago, one of the high officials of the quartermaster's
 department at Washington, who had never been for a moment on duty
 on the frontier in his life, found a good deal of fault with what he
 thought the dilatoriness of the officer in charge at Fort Leavenworth,
 who controlled the question of transportation for the several forts
 scattered all over the West, for not getting the freight caravans
 started earlier, which the functionary at the capital said must and
 should be done.  He insisted that they must leave the Missouri River
 by the middle of April, a month earlier than usual, and came out
 himself to superintend the matter.  He made the contracts accordingly,
 easily finding contractors that suited him.  He then wrote to
 headquarters in a triumphant manner that he had revolutionized the
 whole system of army transportation of supplies to the military posts.
 Delighted with his success, he rode out about the second week of May
 to Salt Creek, only three miles from the fort, and, very much to his
 astonishment, found his teams, which he had believed to be on the
 way to Santa Fe a month ago, snugly encamped.  They had "started,"
 just as was agreed.
 
 There are, or rather were, hundreds of stories current thirty-five
 years ago of stage-coach adventures on the Trail; a volume could be
 filled with them, but I must confine myself to a few.
 
 John Chisholm was a famous ranchman a long while ago, who had so many
 cattle that it was said he did not know their number himself.  At one
 time he had a large contract to furnish beef to an Indian agency
 in Arizona; he had just delivered an immense herd there, and very
 wisely, after receiving his cash for them, sent most of it on to
 Santa Fe in advance of his own journey.  When he arrived there,
 he started for the Missouri River with a thousand dollars and
 sufficient small change to meet his current expenses on the road.
 
 The very first night out from Santa Fe, the coach was halted by a
 band of men who had been watching Chisholm's movements from the time
 he left the agency in Arizona.  The instant the stage came to a
 standstill, Chisholm divined what it meant, and had time to thrust
 a roll of money down one of the legs of his trousers before the door
 was thrown back and he was ordered to fork over what he had.
 
 He invited the robbers to search him, and to take what they might
 find, but said he was not in a financial condition at that juncture
 to turn over much.  The thieves found his watch, took that, and then
 began to search him.  As luck would have it, they entirely missed
 the roll that was down his leg, and discovered but a two-dollar bill
 in his vest.  When he told them it was all he had to buy grub on
 the road, one of the robbers handed him a silver dollar, remarking
 as he did so: "That a man who was mean enough to travel with only
 two dollars ought to starve, but he would give him the dollar just
 to let him know that he was dealing with gentlemen!"
 
 One of the essentials to the comfort of the average soldier is
 tobacco.  He must have it; he would sooner forego any component part
 of his ration than give it up.
 
 In November, 1865, a detachment of Company L, of the Eleventh Kansas
 Volunteers, and of the Second Colorado were ordered from Fort Larned
 to Fort Lyon on a scouting expedition along the line of the Trail,
 the savages having been very active in their raids on the freight caravans.
 
 In a short time their tobacco began to run low, and as there was no
 settlement of any kind between the two military posts, there was no
 chance to replenish their stock.  One night, while encamped on the
 Arkansas, the only piece that was left in the whole command, about
 half a plug, was unfortunately lost, and there was dismay in the
 camp when the fact was announced.  Hours were spent in searching for
 the missing treasure.  The next morning the march was delayed for
 some time, while further diligent search was instituted by all hands,
 but without result, and the command set out on its weary tramp,
 as disconsolate as may well be imagined by those who are victims to
 the habit of chewing the weed.
 
 Arriving at Fort Lyon, to their greater discomfort it was learned
 that the sutler at that post was entirely out of the coveted article,
 and the troops began their return journey more disconsolate than ever.
 Dry leaves, grass, and even small bits of twigs, were chewed as a
 substitute, until, reaching the spot where they had lost the part of
 a plug, they determined to remain there that night and begin a more
 vigorous hunt for the missing piece.  Just before dark their efforts
 were rewarded; one of the men found it, and such a scramble occurred
 for even the smallest nibble at it!  Enormous prices were given for
 a single chew.  It opened at one dollar for a mere sliver, rose to
 five, and closed at ten dollars when the last morsel was left. 


 

A DESPERATE RIDE.
 
 
 
 In the Rocky Mountains and on the great plains along the line of the
 Old Trail are many rude and widely separated graves.  The sequestered
 little valleys, the lonely gulches, and the broad prairies through
 which the highway to New Mexico wound its course, hide the bones of
 hundreds of whom the world will never have any more knowledge.
 The number of these solitary, and almost obliterated mounds is small
 when compared with the vast multitude in the cemeteries of our towns,
 though if the host of those whose bones are mouldering under the
 short buffalo-grass and tall blue-stem of the prairies between the
 Missouri and the mountains were tabulated, the list would be appalling.
 Their aggregate will never be known; for the once remote region of
 the mid-continent, like the ocean, rarely gave up its victims.
 Lives went out there as goes an expiring candle, suddenly, swiftly,
 and silently; no record was kept of time or place.  All those who
 thus died are graveless and monumentless, the great circle of the
 heavens is the dome of their sepulchre, and the recurring blossoms
 of springtime their only epitaph.
 
 Sometimes the traveller over the Old Trail will suddenly, in the most
 unexpected places, come across a little mound, perhaps covered with
 stones, under which lie the mouldering bones of some unfortunate
 adventurer.  Above, now on a rude board, then on a detached rock, or
 maybe on the wall of a beetling canyon, he may frequently read, in crude
 pencilling or rougher carving, the legend of the dead man's ending.
 
 The line of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, which
 practically runs over the Old Trail for nearly its whole length to
 the mountains, is a fertile field of isolated graves.  The savage
 and soldier, the teamster and scout, the solitary trapper or hunter,
 and many others who have gone down to their death fighting with the
 relentless nomad of the plains, or have been otherwise ruthlessly
 cut off, mark with their last resting-places that well-worn pathway
 across the continent.
 
 The tourist, looking from his car-window as he is whirled with the
 speed of a tornado toward the snow-capped peaks of the "Great Divide,"
 may see as he approaches Walnut Creek, three miles east of the town
 of Great Bend in Kansas, on the beautiful ranch of Hon. D. Heizer,
 not far from the stream, and close to the house, a series of graves,
 numbering, perhaps, a score.  These have been most religiously
 cared for by the patriotic proprietor of the place during all the
 long years since 1864, as he believes them to be the last resting-place
 of soldiers who were once a portion of the garrison of Fort Zarah,
 the ruins of which (now a mere hole in the earth) are but a few
 hundred yards away, on the opposite side of the railroad track,
 plainly visible from the train.
 
 The Walnut debouches into the Arkansas a short distance from where
 the railroad crosses the creek, and at this point, too, the trail
 from Fort Leavenworth merges into the Old Santa Fe.  The broad pathway
 is very easily recognized here; for it runs over a hard, flinty,
 low divide, that has never been disturbed by the plough, and the
 traveller has only to cast his eyes in a northeasterly direction
 in order to see it plainly.
 
 The creek is fairly well timbered to-day, as it has been ever since
 the first caravan crossed the clear water of the little stream.
 It was always a favourite place of ambush by the Indians, and many
 a conflict has occurred in the beautiful bottom bounded by a margin
 of trees on two sides, between the traders, trappers, troops, and
 the Indians, and also between the several tribes that were hereditary
 enemies, particularly the Pawnees and the Cheyennes.  It is only
 about sixteen miles east of Pawnee Rock, and included in that region
 of debatable ground where no band of Indians dared establish a
 permanent village; for it was claimed by all the tribes, but really
 owned by none.
 
 In 1864 the commerce of the great plains had reached enormous
 proportions, and immense caravans rolled day after day toward the
 blue hills which guard the portals of New Mexico, and the precious
 freight constantly tempted the wily savages to plunder.
 
 To protect the caravans on their monotonous route through the "Desert,"
 as this portion of the plains was then termed, troops were stationed,
 a mere handful relatively, at intervals on the Trail, to escort the
 freighters and mail coaches over the most exposed and dangerous
 portions of the way.
 
 On the bank of the Walnut, at this time, were stationed three hundred
 unassigned recruits of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, under the command
 of Captain Conkey.  This point was rightly regarded as one of the
 most important on the whole overland route; for near it passed the
 favourite highway of the Indians on their yearly migrations north
 and south, in the wake of the strange elliptical march of the buffalo
 far beyond the Platte, and back to the sunny knolls of the Canadian.
 
 This primitive cantonment which grew rapidly in strategical importance,
 was two years later made quite formidable defensively, and named
 Fort Zarah, in memory of the youngest son of Major General Curtis,
 who was killed by guerillas somewhere south of Fort Scott, Kansas,
 while escorting General James G. Blunt, of frontier fame during
 the Civil War.
 
 Captain Henry Booth, during the year above mentioned, was chief of
 cavalry and inspecting officer of the military district of the Upper
 Arkansas, the western geographical limits of which extended to the
 foot-hills of the mountains.
 
 One day he received an order from the head-quarters of the department
 to make a special inspection of all the outposts on the Santa Fe Trail.
 He was stationed at Fort Riley at the time, and the evening the order
 arrived, active preparations were immediately commenced for his
 extended and hazardous trip across the plains.  Lieutenant Hallowell,
 of the Ninth Wisconsin Battery, was to accompany him, and both
 officers went at once to their quarters, took down from the walls,
 where they had been hanging idly for weeks, their rifles and pistols,
 and carefully examined and brushed them up for possible service in
 the dreary Arkansas bottom.  Camp-kettles, until late in the night,
 sizzled and sputtered over crackling log-fires; for their proposed
 ride beyond the settlements demanded cooked rations for many a
 weary day.  All the preliminaries arranged, the question of the means
 of transportation was determined, and, curiously enough, it saved
 the lives of the two officers in the terrible gauntlet they were
 destined to run.
 
 Hallowell was a famous whip, and prided himself upon the exceptionally
 fine turnout which he daily drove among the picturesque hills around
 the fort.
 
 "Booth," said he in the evening, "let's not take a great lumbering
 ambulance on this trip; if you will get a good way-up team of mules
 from the quartermaster, we'll use my light rig, and we'll do our
 own driving."
 
 To this proposition Booth readily assented, procured the mules, and,
 as it turned out, they were a "good way-up team."
 
 Hallowell had a set of bows fitted to his light wagon, over which
 was thrown an army-wagon-sheet, drawn up behind with a cord, similar
 to those of the ordinary emigrant outfit to be seen daily on the
 roads of the Western prairies.  A round hole was necessarily left
 in the rear end, serving the purpose of a lookout.
 
 Two grip-sacks, containing their dress uniforms, a box of crackers
 and cheese, meat and sardines, together with a bottle of anti-snake
 bite, made up the principal freight for the long journey, and in the
 clear cold of the early morning they rolled out of the gates of the
 fort, escorted by Company L, of the Eleventh Kansas, commanded by
 Lieutenant Van Antwerp.
 
 The company of one hundred mounted men acting as escort was too
 formidable a number for the Indians, and not a sign of one was seen
 as the dangerous flats of Plum Creek and the rolling country beyond
 were successively passed, and early in the afternoon the cantonment
 on Walnut Creek was reached.  At this important outpost Captain
 Conkey's command was living in a rude but comfortable sort of a way,
 in the simplest of dugouts, constructed along the right bank of the
 stream; the officers, a little more in accordance with military
 dignity, in tents a few rods in rear of the line of huts.
 
 A stockade stable had been built, with a capacity for two hundred
 and fifty horses, and sufficient hay had been put up by the men in
 the fall to carry the animals through the winter.
 
 Captain Conkey was a brusque but kind-hearted man, and with him were
 stationed other officers, one of whom was a son of Admiral Goldsborough.
 The morning after the arrival of the inspecting officers a rigid
 examination of all the appointments and belongings of the place was
 made, and, as an immense amount of property had accumulated for
 condemnation, when evening came the books and papers were still
 untouched; so that branch of the inspection had to be postponed
 until the next morning.
 
 After dark, while sitting around the camp-fire, discussing the war,
 telling stories, etc., Captain Conkey said to Booth: "Captain,
 it won't require more than half an hour in the morning to inspect
 the papers and finish up what you have to do; why don't you start
 your escort out very early, so it won't be obliged to trot after
 the ambulance, or you to poke along with it?  You can then move out
 briskly and make time."
 
 Booth, acting upon what he thought at the time an excellent suggestion,
 in a few moments went over the creek to Lieutenant Van Antwerp's camp,
 to tell him that he need not wait for the wagon in the morning, but
 to start out early, at half-past six, in advance.
 
 According to instructions, the escort marched out of camp at daylight
 next morning, while Booth and Hallowell remained to finish their
 inspection.  It was soon discovered, however, that either Captain
 Conkey had underrated the amount of work to be done, or misjudged
 the inspecting officers' ability to complete it in a certain time;
 so almost three hours elapsed after the cavalry had departed before
 the task ended.
 
 At last everything was closed up, much to Hallowell's satisfaction,
 who had been chafing under the vexatious delay ever since the escort
 left.  When all was in readiness, the little wagon drawn up in front
 of the commanding officer's quarters, and farewells said, Hallowell
 suggested to Booth the propriety of taking a few of the troops
 stationed there to go with them until they overtook their own escort,
 which must now be several miles on the Trail to Fort Larned.
 Booth asked Captain Conkey what he thought of Hallowell's suggestion.
 Captain Conkey replied: "Oh! there's not the slightest danger;
 there hasn't been an Indian seen around here for over ten days."
 
 If either Booth or Hallowell had been as well acquainted with the
 methods and character of the plains Indians then as they afterward
 became, they would have insisted upon an escort; but both were
 satisfied that Captain Conkey knew what he was talking about,
 so they concluded to push on.
 
 Jumping into their wagon, Lieutenant Hallowell took the reins and
 away they went rattling over the old log bridge that used to span
 the Walnut at the crossing of the Old Santa Fe Trail, as light of
 heart as if riding to a dance.
 
 The morning was bright and clear with a stiff breeze blowing from
 the northwest, and the Trail was frozen hard in places, which made
 it very rough, as it had been cut up by the travel of the heavily
 laden caravans when it was wet.  Booth sat on the left side of
 Hallowell with the whip in his hand, now and then striking the mules,
 to keep up their speed.  Hallowell started up a tune--he was a good
 singer--and Booth joined in as they rolled along, as oblivious of any
 danger as though they were in their quarters at Fort Riley.
 
 After they had proceeded some distance, Hallowell remarked to Booth:
 "The buffalo are grazing a long way from the road to-day; a circumstance
 that I think bodes no good."  He had been on the plains the summer
 before, and was better acquainted with the Indians and their
 peculiarities than Captain Booth; but the latter replied that he
 thought it was because their escort had gone on ahead, and had
 probably frightened them off.
 
 The next mile or two was passed, and still they saw no buffalo between
 the Trail and the Arkansas, though nothing more was said by either
 regarding the suspicious circumstance, and they rode rapidly on.
 
 When they had gone about five or six miles from the Walnut, Booth,
 happening to glance toward the river, saw something that looked
 strangely like a flock of turkeys.  He watched them intently for a
 moment, when the objects rose up and he discovered they were horsemen.
 He grasped Hallowell by the arm, directing his attention to them, and
 said, "What are they?"  Hallowell gave a hasty look toward the point
 indicated, and replied, "Indians! by George!" and immediately turning
 the mules around on the Trail, started them back toward the cantonment
 on the Walnut at a full gallop.[68]
 
 "Hold on!" said Booth to Hallowell when he understood the latter's
 movement; "maybe it's part of our escort."
 
 "No! no!" replied Hallowell.  "I know they are Indians; I've seen
 too many of them to be mistaken."
 
 "Well," rejoined Booth, "I'm going to know for certain"; so, stepping
 out on the foot-board, and with one hand holding on to the front bow,
 he looked back over the top of the wagon-sheet.  They were Indians,
 sure enough; they had fully emerged from the ravine in which they had
 hidden, and while he was looking at them they were slipping off their
 buffalo robes from their shoulders, taking arrows out of their quivers,
 drawing up their spears, and making ready generally for a red-hot time.
 
 While Booth was intently regarding the movements of the savages,
 Hallowell inquired of him: "They're Indians, aren't they, Booth?"
 
 "Yes," was Booth's answer, "and they're coming down on us like a
 whirlwind."
 
 "Then I shall never see poor Lizzie again!" said Hallowell.  He had
 been married only a few weeks before starting out on this trip, and
 his young wife's name came to his lips.
 
 "Never mind Lizzie," responded Booth; "let's get out of here!"  He was
 as badly frightened as Hallowell, but had no bride at Riley, and,
 as he tells it, "was selfishly thinking of himself only, and escape."
 
 In answer to Booth's remark, Hallowell, in a firm, clear voice, said:
 "All right!  You do the shooting, and I'll do the driving," and
 suiting the action to the words, he snatched the whip out of Booth's
 hand, slipped from the seat to the front of the wagon, and commenced
 lashing the mules furiously.
 
 Booth then crawled back, pulled out one of his revolvers, crept, or
 rather fell, over the "lazy-back" of the seat, and reaching the hole
 made by puckering the wagon-sheet, looked out of it, and counted
 the Indians; thirty-four feather-bedecked, paint-bedaubed savages,
 as vicious a set as ever scalped a white man, swooping down on them
 like a hawk upon a chicken.
 
 Hallowell, between his yells at the mules, cried out, "How far are
 they off now, Booth?" for of course he could see nothing of what
 was going on in his rear.
 
 Booth replied as well as he could judge of the distance, while
 Hallowell renewed his yelling at the animals and redoubled his
 efforts with the lash.
 
 Noiselessly the Indians gained on the little wagon, for they had not
 as yet uttered a whoop, and the determined driver, anxious to know
 how far the red devils were from him, again asked Booth.  The latter
 told him how near they were, guessing at the distance, from which
 Hallowell gathered inspiration for fresh cries and still more vigorous
 blows with his whip.
 
 Booth, all this time, was sitting on the box containing the crackers
 and sardines, watching the rapid approach of the cut-throats, and
 seeing with fear and trembling the ease with which they gained upon
 the little mules.
 
 Once more Hallowell made his stereotyped inquiry of Booth; but before
 the latter could reply, two shots were fired from the rifles of the
 Indians, accompanied by a yell that was demoniacal enough to cause
 the blood to curdle in one's veins.  Hallowell yelled at the mules,
 and Booth yelled too; for what reason he could not tell, unless to
 keep company with his comrade, who plied the whip more mercilessly
 than ever upon the poor animals' backs, and the wagon flew over
 the rough road, nearly upsetting at every jump.
 
 In another moment the bullets from two of the Indians' rifles passed
 between Booth and Hallowell, doing no damage, and almost instantly
 the savages charged upon them, at the same time dividing into two
 parties, one going on one side and one on the other, both delivering
 a volley of arrows into the wagon as they rode by.
 
 Just as the savages rushed past the wagon, Hallowell cried out to
 Booth, "Cap, I'm hit!" and turning around to look, Booth saw an arrow
 sticking in Hallowell's head above his right ear.  His arm was still
 plying the whip, which was going on unceasingly as the sails of a
 windmill, and his howling at the mules only stopped long enough to
 answer, "Not much!" in response to Booth's inquiry of "Does it hurt?"
 as he grabbed the arrow and pulled it out of his head.
 
 The Indians had by this time passed on, and then, circling back,
 prepared for another charge.  Down they came, again dividing as before
 into two bands, and delivering another shower of arrows.  Hallowell
 ceased his yelling long enough to cry out, "I'm hit once more, Cap!"
 Looking at the plucky driver, Booth saw this time an arrow sticking
 over his left ear, and hanging down his back.  He snatched it out,
 inquiring if it hurt, but received the same answer: "No, not much."
 
 Both men were now yelling at the top of their voices; and the mules
 were jerking the wagon along the rough trail at a fearful rate,
 frightened nearly out of their wits at the sight of the Indians and
 the terrible shouting and whipping of the driver.
 
 Booth crawled to the back end of the wagon again, looked out of the
 hole in the cover, and saw the Indians moving across the Trail,
 preparing for another charge.  One old fellow, mounted on a black
 pony, was jogging along in the centre of the road behind them, but
 near enough and evidently determined to send an arrow through the
 puckered hole of the sheet.  In a moment the savage stopped his pony
 and let fly.  Booth dodged sideways--the arrow sped on its course, and
 whizzing through the opening, struck the black-walnut "lazy-back"
 of the seat, the head sticking out on the other side, and the sudden
 check causing the feathered end to vibrate rapidly with a vro-o-o-ing
 sound.  With a quick blow Booth struck it, and broke the shaft from
 the head, leaving the latter embedded in the wood.
 
 As quickly as possible, Booth rushed to the hole and fired his
 revolver at the old devil, but failed to hit him.  While he was
 trying to get in another shot, an arrow came flying through from
 the left side of the Trail, and striking him on the inside of the
 elbow, or "crazy-bone," so completely benumbed his hand that he
 could not hold on to the pistol, and it dropped into the road with
 one load still in its chamber.  Just then the mules gave an
 extraordinary jump to one side, which jerked the wagon nearly from
 under him, and he fell sprawling on the end-gate, evenly balanced,
 with his hands on the outside, attempting to clutch at something to
 save himself!  Seeing his predicament, the Indians thought they had
 him sure, so they gave a yell of exultation, supposing he must
 tumble out, but he didn't; he fortunately succeeded in grabbing
 one of the wagon-bows with his right hand and pulled himself in;
 but it was a close call.
 
 While all this was going on, Hallowell had not been neglected by
 the Indians; about a dozen of them had devoted their time to him,
 but he never flinched.  Just as Booth had regained his equilibrium
 and drawn his second revolver from its holster, Hallowell yelled
 to him: "Right off to your right, Cap, quick!"
 
 Booth tumbled over the back of the seat, and, clutching at a wagon-bow
 to steady himself, he saw, "off to the right," an Indian who was in
 the act of letting an arrow drive at Hallowell; it struck the side of
 the box, and at the same instant Booth fired, scaring the red devil badly.
 
 Back over the seat again he rushed to guard the rear, only to find
 a young buck riding close to the side of the wagon, his pony running
 in the deep path made by the ox-drivers in walking alongside of their
 teams.  Putting his left arm around one of the wagon-bows to prevent
 his being jerked out, Booth quietly stuck his revolver through the
 hole in the sheet; but before he could pull the trigger, the Indian
 flopped over on the off side of his pony, and nothing could be seen
 of him excepting one arm around his animal's neck and from the knee
 to the toes of one leg.  Booth did not wait for him to ride up;
 he could almost hit the pony's head with his hand, so close was he
 to the wagon.  Booth struck at the beast several times, but the
 Indian kept him right up in his place by whipping him on the opposite
 of his neck.  Presently the plucky savage's arm began to move.
 Booth watched him intently, and saw that he had fixed an arrow in
 his bow under the pony's shoulder; just as he was on the point of
 letting go the bowstring, with the head of the arrow not three feet
 from Booth's breast as he leaned out of the hole, the latter struck
 frantically at the weapon, dodged back into the wagon, and up came
 the Indian.  Whenever Booth looked out, down went the Indian on
 the other side of his pony, to rise again in a moment, and Booth,
 afraid to risk himself with his head and breast exposed at this game
 of hide and seek, drew suddenly back as the Indian went down the
 third time, and in a second came up; but this was once too often.
 Booth had not dodged completely into the wagon, nor dropped his
 revolver, and as the Indian rose he fired.
 
 The savage was naked to the waist; the ball struck him in the left
 nipple, the blood spirted out of the wound, his bow and arrows and
 lariat, with himself, rolled off the pony, falling heavily on the
 ground, and with one convulsive contraction of his legs and an "Ugh!"
 he was as dead as a stone.
 
 "I've killed one of 'em!" called out Booth to Hallowell, as he saw
 his victim tumble from his pony.
 
 "Bully for you, Cap!" came Hallowell's response as he continued his
 shouting, and the blows of that tireless whip fell incessantly on
 the backs of the poor mules.
 
 After he had killed the warrior, Booth kept his seat on the cracker box,
 watching to see what the Indians were going to do next, when he was
 suddenly interrupted by Hallowell's crying out to him: "Off to the
 right again, Cap, quick!" and, whirling around instantly, he saw an
 Indian within three feet of the wagon, with his bow and arrow almost
 ready to shoot; there was no time to get over the seat, and as he
 could not fire so close to Hallowell, he cried to the latter:
 "Hit him with the whip!  Hit him with the whip!"  The lieutenant
 diverted one of the blows intended for the mules, and struck the
 savage fairly across the face.  The whip had a knot in the end of it
 to prevent its unravelling, and this knot must have hit the Indian
 squarely in the eye; for he dropped his bow, put both hands up to
 his face, rubbed his eyes, and digging his heels into his pony's
 sides was soon out of range of a revolver; but, nevertheless, he was
 given a parting shot as a sort of salute.
 
 A terrific yell from the rear at this moment caused both Booth and
 Hallowell to look around, and the latter to inquire: "What's the
 matter now, Booth?"  "They are coming down on us like lightning,"
 said he; and, sure enough, those who had been prancing around their
 dead comrade were tearing along the Trail toward the wagon with a
 more hideous noise than when they began.
 
 Hallowell yelled louder than ever and lashed the mules more furiously
 still, but the Indians gained upon them as easily as a blooded racer
 on a common farm plug.  Separating as before, and passing on each
 side of the wagon, they delivered another volley of bullets and
 arrows as they rushed on.
 
 When this charge was made, Booth drew away from the hole in the rear
 and turned toward the Indians, but forgot that as he was sitting,
 with his back pressed against the sheet, his body was plainly outlined
 on the canvas.
 
 When the Indians dashed by Hallowell cried out, "I'm hit again, Cap!"
 and Booth, in turning around to go to his relief, felt something
 pulling at him; and glancing over his left shoulder he discovered
 an arrow sticking into him and out through the wagon-sheet.  With a
 jerk of his body, he tore himself loose, and going to Hallowell,
 asked him where he was hit.  "In the back," was the reply; where
 Booth saw an arrow extending under the "lazy-back" of the seat.
 Taking hold of it, Booth gave a pull, but Hallowell squirmed so that
 he desisted.  "Pull it out!" cried the plucky driver.  Booth thereupon
 took hold of it again, and giving a jerk or two, out it came.  He was
 thoroughly frightened as he saw it leave the lieutenant's body;
 it seemed to have entered at least six inches, and the wound appeared
 to be a dangerous one.  Hallowell, however, did not cease for a moment
 belabouring the mules, and his yells rang out as clear and defiant
 as before.
 
 After extracting the arrow from Hallowell's back, Booth turned again
 to the opening in the rear of the wagon to see what new tricks the
 devils were up to, when Hallowell again called out, "Off to the left,
 Cap, quick!"
 
 Rushing to the front as soon as possible, Booth saw one of the savages
 in the very act of shooting at Hallowell from the left side of the
 wagon, not ten feet away.  The last revolver was empty, but something
 had to be done at once; so, levelling the weapon at him, Booth shouted
 "Bang! you son-of-a-gun!"  Down the Indian ducked his head; rap, rap,
 went his knees against his pony's sides, and away he flew over
 the prairie!
 
 Back to his old place in the rear tumbled Booth, to load his revolver.
 The cartridges they used in the army in those days were the
 old-fashioned kind made of paper.  Biting off one end, he endeavoured
 to pour the powder into the chamber of the pistol; but as the wagon
 was tumbling from side to side, and jumping up and down, as it fairly
 flew over the rough Trail, more fell into the bottom of the wagon
 than into the revolver.  Just as he was inserting a ball, Hallowell
 yelled, "To the left, Cap, quick!"
 
 Over the seat Booth piled once more, and there was another Indian
 with his bow and arrow all ready to pinion the brave lieutenant.
 Pointing his revolver at him, Booth yelled as he had at the other,
 but this savage had evidently noticed the first failure, and concluded
 there were no more loads left; so, instead of taking a hasty departure,
 he grinned demoniacally and endeavoured to fix the arrow in his bow.
 Booth rose up in the wagon, and grasping hold of one of its bows
 with his left hand, seized the revolver by the muzzle, and with all
 the force he could muster hurled it at the impudent brute.  It was
 a Remington, its barrel octagon-shaped, with sharp corners, and when
 it was thrown, it turned in the air, and striking the Indian
 muzzle-first on the ribs, cut a long gash.
 
 "Ugh!" he grunted, as, dropping his bow and spear, he flung himself
 over the side of his pony, and away he went across the prairie.
 
 Only one revolver remaining now, and that empty, with the savages
 still howling around the apparently doomed men like so many demons!
 Booth fell over the seat, as was his usual fate whenever he attempted
 to get to the back of the wagon, picked up the empty revolver, and
 tried to load it; but before he could bite the end of a cartridge,
  Hallowell yelled, "Cap, I'm hit again!"
 
 "Where this time?" inquired Booth, anxiously.  "In the hand," replied
 Hallowell; and, looking around, Booth noticed that although his right
 arm was still thrashing at the now lagging mules with as much energy
 as ever, through the fleshy part of the thumb was an arrow, which was
 flopping up and down as he raised and lowered his hand in ceaseless
 efforts to keep up the speed of the almost exhausted animals.
 
 "Let me pull it out," said Booth, as he came forward to do so.
 
 "No, never mind," replied Hallowell; "can't stop! can't stop!" and up
 and down went the arm, and flip, flap, went the arrow with it, until
 finally it tore through the flesh and fell to the ground.
 
 Along they bowled, the Indians yelling, and the occupants of the
 little wagon defiantly answering them, while Booth continued to
 struggle desperately with that empty pistol, in his vain efforts
 to load it.  In another moment Hallowell shouted, "Booth, they are
 trying to crowd the mules into the sunflowers!"
 
 Alongside of the Trail huge sunflowers had grown the previous summer,
 and now their dry stalks stood as thick as a cane-brake; if the wagon
 once got among them, it would be impossible for the mules to keep up
 their gallop.  The savages seemed to realize this; for one huge old
 fellow kept riding alongside the off mule, throwing his spear at him
 and then jerking it back with the thong, one end of which was fastened
 to his wrist.  The near mule was constantly pushed further and further
 from the Trail by his mate, which was jumping frantically, scared out
 of his senses by the Indian.
 
 At this perilous juncture, Booth stepped out on the foot-board of
 the wagon, and, holding on by a bow, commenced to kick the frightened
 mule vigorously, while Hallowell pulled on one line, whipping and
 yelling at the same time; so together they succeeded in forcing the
 animals back into the Trail.
 
 The Indians kept close to the mules in their efforts to force them
 into the sunflowers, and Booth made several attempts to scare the
 old fellow that was nearest by pointing his empty revolver at him,
 but he would not scare; so in his desperation Booth threw it at him.
 He missed the old brute, but hit his pony just behind its rider's leg,
 which started the animal into a sort of a stampede; his ugly master
 could not control him, and thus the immediate peril from the
 persistent cuss was delayed.
 
 Now the pair were absolutely without firearms of any kind, with
 nothing left except their sabres and valises, and the savages came
 closer and closer.  In turn the two swords were thrown at them as they
 came almost within striking distance; then followed the scabbards,
 as the howling fiends surrounded the wagon and attempted to spear
 the mules.  Fortunately their arrows were exhausted.
 
 The cantonment on the Walnut was still a mile and a half away, and
 there was nothing for our luckless travellers to do but whip and kick,
 both of which they did most vigorously.  Hallowell sat as immovable
 as the Sphinx, excepting his right arm, which from the moment they
 had started on the back trail had not once ceased its incessant motion.
 
 Happening to cast his eyes back on the Trail, Booth saw to his dismay
 twelve or fifteen of the savages coming up on the run with fresh
 energy, their spears poised ready for action, and he felt that
 something must be done very speedily to divert them; for if these
 added their number to those already surrounding the wagon, the chances
 were they would succeed in forcing the mules into the sunflowers,
 and his scalp and Hallowell's would dangle at the belt of the leader.
 
 Glancing around in the bottom of the wagon for some kind of weapon,
 his eye fell on the two valises containing the dress-suits.
 He snatched up his own, and threw it out while the pursuers were yet
 five or six rods in the rear.  The Indians noticed this new trick
 with a great yell of satisfaction, and the moment they arrived at
 the spot where the valise lay, all dismounted; one of them, seizing
 it by the two handles, pulled with all his strength to open it, and
 when he failed, another drew a long knife from under his blanket and
 ripped it apart.  He then put his hand in, pulling out a sash, which
 he began to wind around his head, like a negress with a bandanna,
 letting the tassels hang down his back.  While he was thus amusing
 himself, one of the others had taken out a dress-coat, a third a pair
 of drawers, and still another a shirt, which they proceeded to put on,
 meanwhile dancing around and howling.
 
 Booth told Hallowell of the sacrifice of the valise, and said,
 "I'm going to throw out yours."  "All right," replied Hallowell;
 "all we want is time."  So out it went on the Trail, and shared
 the same fate as the other.
 
 The lull in hostilities caused by their outstripping their pursuers
 gave the almost despairing men time to talk over their situation.
 Hallowell said he did not propose to be captured and then butchered
 or burned at the pleasure of the Indians.  He said to Booth: "If they
 kill one of the mules, and so stop us, let's kick, strike, throw dirt
 or anything, and compel them to kill us on the spot."  So it was agreed,
 if the worst came to the worst, to stand back to back and fight.
 
 During this discussion the arm of Hallowell still plied the effective
 lash, and they drew perceptibly nearer the camp, and as they caught
 the first glimpse of its tents and dugouts, hope sprang up within them.
 The mules were panting like a hound after a deer; wherever the
 harness touched them, it was white with lather, and it was evident
 they could keep on their feet but a short time longer.  Would they
 hold out until the bridge was reached?  The whipping and the kicking
 had but little effect on them now.  They still continued their gallop,
 but it was slower and more laboured than before.
 
 The Indians who had torn open the valises had not returned to the
 chase, and although there were still a sufficient number of the
 fiends pursuing to make it interesting, they did not succeed in
 spearing the mules, as at every attempt the plucky animals would
 jump sideways or forward and evade the impending blow.
 
 The little log bridge was reached; the savages had all retreated,
 but the valorous Hallowell kept the mules at their fastest pace.
 The bridge was constructed of half-round logs, and of course was
 extremely rough; the wagon bounded up and down enough to shake the
 teeth out of one's head as the little animals went flying over it.
 Booth called out to Hallowell, "No need to drive so fast now,
 the Indians have all left us"; but he replied, "I ain't going to stop
 until I get across"; and down came the whip, on sped the mules,
 not breaking their short gallop until they were pulled up in front
 of Captain Conkey's quarters.
 
 The rattling of the wagon on the bridge was the first intimation
 the garrison had of its return.
 
 The officers came running out of their tents, the enlisted men poured
 out of their dugouts like a lot of ants, and Booth and Hallowell were
 surrounded by their friends in a moment.  Captain Conkey ordered his
 bugler to sound "Boots and Saddles," and in less than ten minutes
 ninety troopers were mounted, and with the captain at their head
 started after the Indians.
 
 When Hallowell tried to rise from his seat so as to get out every
 effort only resulted in his falling back.  Some one stepped around
 to the other side to assist him, when it was discovered that the
 skirt of his overcoat had worked outside of the wagon-sheet and
 hung over the edge, and that three or four of the arrows fired at him
 by the savages had struck the side of the wagon, and, passing through
 the flap of his coat, had pinned him down.  Booth pulled the arrows
 out and helped him up; he was pretty stiff from sitting in his cramped
 position so long, and his right arm dropped by his side as if paralysed.
 
 Booth stood looking on while his comrade's wounds were being dressed,
 when the adjutant asked him: "What makes you shrug your shoulder so?"
 He answered, "I don't know; something makes it smart."  The officer
 looked at him and said, "Well, I don't wonder; I should think it
 would smart; here's an arrow-head sticking into you," and he tried
 to pull it out, but it would not come.  Captain Goldsborough then
 attempted it, but was not any more successful.  The doctor then told
 them to let it alone, and he would attend to Booth after he had done
 with Hallowell.  When he examined Booth's shoulder, he found that
 the arrow-head had struck the thick portion of the shoulder-blade,
 and had made two complete turns, wrapping itself around the muscles,
 which had to be cut apart before the sharp point could be withdrawn.
 
 Booth was not seriously hurt.  Hallowell, however, had received two
 severe wounds; the arrow that had lodged in his back had penetrated
 almost to his kidneys, and the wound in his thumb was very painful,
 not so much from the simple impact of the arrow as from the tearing
 away of the muscle by the shaft while he was whipping his mules;
 his right arm, too, was swollen terribly, and so stiff from the
 incessant use of it during the drive that for more than a month
 he required assistance in dressing and undressing.
 
 The mules who had saved their lives were of small account after
 their memorable trip; they remained stiff and sore from the rough
 road and their continued forced speed.  Booth and Hallowell went out
 to look at them the next morning, as they hobbled around the corral,
 and from the bottom of their hearts wished them well.
 
 Captain Conkey's command returned to the cantonment about midnight.
 But one Indian had been seen, and he was south of the Arkansas in
 the sand hills.
 
 The next morning a scouting-party of forty men, under command of a
 sergeant, started out to scour the country toward Cow Creek,
 northeast from the Walnut.
 
 As I have stated, the troopers stationed at the cantonment on the
 Walnut were mostly recruits.  Now the cavalry recruit of the old
 regular army on the frontier, thirty or forty years ago, mounted on
 a great big American horse and sent out with well-trained comrades
 on a scout after the hostile savages of the plains, was the most
 helpless individual imaginable.  Coming fresh from some large city
 probably, as soon as he arrived at his station he was placed on the
 back of an animal of whose habits he knew as little as he did of the
 differential calculus; loaded down with a carbine, the muzzle of which
 he could hardly distinguish from the breech; a sabre buckled around
 his waist; a couple of enormous pistols stuck in his holsters;
 his blankets strapped to the cantle of his saddle, and, to complete
 the hopelessness of his condition in a possible encounter with a
 savage enemy who was ever on the alert, he was often handicapped by
 a camp-kettle or two, a frying-pan, and ten days' rations.  No wonder
 this doughty representative of Uncle Sam's power was an easy prey for
 "Poor Lo," who, when he caught the unfortunate soldier away from his
 command and started after him, must have laughed at the ridiculous
 appearance of his enemy, with both hands glued to the pommel of his
 saddle, his hair on end, his sabre flying and striking his horse at
 every jump as the animal tore down the trail toward camp, while the
 Indian, rapidly gaining, in a few minutes had the scalp of the hapless
 rider dangling at his belt, and another of the "boys in blue" had
 joined the majority.
 
 The scouting-party had proceeded about four or five miles, when one
 of the corporals asked permission for himself and a recruit to go
 over to the Upper Walnut to find out whether they could discover
 any signs of Indians.
 
 While they were carelessly riding along the big curve which the
 northern branch of the Walnut makes at that point, there suddenly
 sprang from their ambush in the timber on the margin of the stream
 about three hundred Indians, whooping and yelling.  The two troopers
 of course, immediately whirled their horses and started down the
 creek toward the camp, hotly pursued by the howling savages.
 
 The corporal was an excellent rider; a well-trained and disciplined
 soldier, having seen much service on the plains.  He led in the flight,
 closely followed by the unfortunate recruit, who had been enlisted
 but a short time.  Not more than an eighth of a mile had been covered,
 when the corporal heard his companion exclaim,--
 
 "Don't leave me!  Don't leave me!"
 
 Looking back, the corporal saw that the poor recruit was losing ground
 rapidly; his horse was rearing and plunging, making very little
 headway, while his rider was jerking and pulling on the bit, a curb
 of the severest kind.  Perceiving the strait his comrade was in,
 the corporal reined up for a moment and called out,--
 
 "Let him go!  Let him go!  Don't jerk on the bit so!"
 
 The Indians were gaining ground rapidly, and in another moment the
 corporal heard the recruit again cry out,--
 
 "Oh!  Don't--"
 
 Realizing that it would be fatal to delay, and that he could be of
 no assistance to his companion, already killed and scalped, he leaned
 forward on his horse, and sinking his spurs deep in the animal's
 flanks fairly flew down the valley, with the three hundred savages
 close in his wake.
 
 The officers at the camp were sitting in their tents when the sentinel
 on post No. 1 fired his piece, upon which all rushed out to learn
 the cause of the alarm; for there was no random shooting in those
 days allowed around camp or in garrison.  Looking up the valley of
 the Walnut, they could see the lucky corporal, with his long hair
 streaming in the wind, and his heels rapping his horse's sides, as he
 dashed over the brown sod of the winter prairie.
 
 The corporal now slackened his pace, rode up to the commanding
 officer's tent, reported the affair, and then was allowed to go to
 his own quarters for the rest he so much needed.
 
 Captain Conkey immediately ordered a mounted squad, accompanied by an
 ambulance, to go up the creek to recover the body of the unfortunate
 recruit.  The party were absent a little over an hour, and brought
 back with them the remains of the dead soldier.  He had been shot
 with an arrow, the point of which was still sticking out through his
 breast-bone.  His scalp had been torn completely off, and the lapels
 of his coat and the legs of his trousers carried away by the savages.
 He was buried the next morning with military honours, in the little
 graveyard on the bank of the Walnut, where his body still rests in
 the dooryard of the ranch. 


 

HANCOCK'S EXPEDITION.
 
 
 
 In the spring of 1867, General Hancock, who then commanded the military
 division of the Missouri, with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth,
 Kansas, organized an expedition against the Indians of the great
 plains, which he led in person.  With him was General Custer, second
 ranking officer, from whom I quote the story of the march and some
 of the incidents of the raid.
 
 General Hancock, with the artillery and six companies of infantry,
 arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas, the last week in March, where he was
 joined by four companies of the Seventh Cavalry, commanded by the
 intrepid Custer.
 
 From Fort Riley the expedition marched to Fort Harker, seventy-two
 miles farther west, on the Smoky Hill, where the force was increased
 by the addition of two more troops of cavalry.  Remaining there only
 long enough to replenish their commissary supplies, the march was
 directed to Fort Larned on the Old Santa Fe Trail.  On the 7th of
 April the command reached the latter post, accompanied by the agent
 of the Comanches and Kiowas; at the fort the agent of the Cheyennes,
 Arapahoes, and Apaches was waiting for the arrival of the general.
 The agent of the three last-mentioned tribes had already sent runners
 to the head chiefs, inviting them to a grand council which was to
 assemble near the fort on the 10th of the month, and he requested
 General Hancock to remain at the fort with his command until that date.
 
 On the 9th of April a terrible snow-storm came on while the troops
 were encamped waiting for the head men of the various tribes to arrive.
 Custer says:
 
           It was our good fortune to be in camp rather than on the
           march; had it been otherwise, we could not well have escaped
           without loss of life.  The cavalry horses suffered severely,
           and were only preserved by doubling their rations of oats,
           while to prevent their being frozen during the intensely
           cold night which followed, the guards were instructed to
           pass along the picket lines with a whip, and keep the
           horses moving constantly.  The snow was eight inches deep.
           The council, which was to take place the next day, had to be
           postponed until the return of good weather.  Now began the
           display of a kind of diplomacy for which the Indian is
           peculiar.  The Cheyennes and a band of Sioux were encamped
           on Pawnee Fork, about thirty miles above Fort Larned.
           They neither desired to move nearer to us or have us
           approach nearer to them.  On the morning of the 11th,
           they sent us word that they had started to visit us, but,
           discovering a large herd of buffalo near their camp,
           they had stopped to procure a supply of meat.  This message
           was not received with much confidence, nor was a buffalo
           hunt deemed of sufficient importance to justify the Indians
           in breaking their engagement.  General Hancock decided,
           however, to delay another day, when, if the Indians still
           failed to come in, he would move his command to the vicinity
           of their village and hold the conference there.
 
           Orders were issued on the evening of the 12th for the march
           to be resumed on the following day.  Late in the evening
           two chiefs of the "Dog-Soldiers," a band composed of the
           most warlike and troublesome Indians on the plains,
           chiefly made up of Cheyennes, visited our camp.  They were
           accompanied by a dozen warriors, and expressed a desire to
           hold a conference with General Hancock, to which he assented.
           A large council-fire was built in front of the general's
           tent, and all the officers of his command assembled there.
           A tent had been erected for the accommodation of the chiefs
           a short distance from the general's.  Before they could
           feel equal to the occasion, and in order to obtain time to
           collect their thoughts, they desired that supper might be
           prepared for them, which was done.  When finally ready,
           they advanced from their tent to the council-fire in single
           file, accompanied by their agent and an interpreter.
           Arrived at the fire, another brief delay ensued.  No matter
           how pressing or momentous the occasion, an Indian invariably
           declines to engage in a council until he has filled his pipe
           and gone through with the important ceremony of a smoke.
           This attended to, the chiefs announced that they were ready
           "to talk."  They were then introduced to the principal
           officers of the group, and seemed much struck with the
           flashy uniforms of the few artillery officers, who were
           present in all the glory of red horsehair plumes,
           aiguillettes, etc.  The chiefs seemed puzzled to determine
           whether these insignia designated chieftains or medicine men.
           General Hancock began the conference by a speech, in which
           he explained to the Indians his purpose in coming to see
           them, and what he expected of them in the future.
           He particularly informed them that he was not there to make
           war, but to promote peace.  Then, expressing his regrets
           that more of the chiefs had not visited him, he announced
           his intention of proceeding on the morrow with his command
           to the vicinity of their village, and there holding a
           council with all the chiefs.  Tall Bull, a fine, warlike-looking
           chieftain, replied to General Hancock, but his speech
           contained nothing important, being made up of allusions to
           the growing scarcity of the buffalo, his love for the white
           man, and the usual hint that a donation in the way of
           refreshments would be highly acceptable; he added that he
           would have nothing new to say at the village.
 
           Rightly concluding that the Indians did not intend to come
           to our camp, as they had at first agreed to, it was decided
           to move nearer their village.  On the morning following the
           conference our entire force, therefore, marched from
           Fort Larned up Pawnee Fork in the direction of the main
           village, encamping the first night about twenty-one miles
           from Larned.  Several parties of Indians were seen in our
           advance during the day, evidently watching our movements,
           while a heavy smoke, seen to rise in the direction of the
           Indian village, indicated that something more than usual
           was going on.  The smoke, we afterward learned, arose from
           burning grass.  The Indians, thinking to prevent us from
           encamping in their vicinity, had set fire to and burned all
           the grass for miles in the direction from which they
           expected us.  Before we arrived at our camping-ground,
           we were met by several chiefs and warriors belonging to the
           Cheyennes and Sioux.  Among the chiefs were Pawnee Killer,
           of the Sioux, and White Horse, of the Cheyennes.  It was
           arranged that these chiefs should accept our hospitality
           and remain with us during the night, and in the morning all
           the chiefs of the two tribes then in the village were to
           come to General Hancock's head-quarters and hold a council.
           On the morning of the 14th, Pawnee Killer left our camp at
           an early hour, as he said for the purpose of going to the
           village to bring in the other chiefs to the council.
           Nine o'clock had been agreed upon as the time at which the
           council should assemble.  The hour came, but the chiefs
           did not.  Now an Indian council is not only often an
           important, but always an interesting, occasion.  At this
           juncture, Bull Bear, an influential chief among the
           Cheyennes, came in and reported that the chiefs were on
           their way to our camp, but would not be able to reach it
           for some time.  This was a mere artifice to secure delay.
           General Hancock informed Bull Bear that, as the chiefs
           could not arrive for some time, he would move his forces
           up the stream nearer the village, and the council could be
           held at our camp that night.  To this proposition Bull Bear
           gave his consent.
 
           At 11 A.M. we resumed the march, and had proceeded but a few
           miles when we witnessed one of the finest and most imposing
           military displays, according to the Indian art of war,
           which it has been my lot to behold.  It was nothing more
           nor less than an Indian line of battle drawn directly
           across our line of march, as if to say, "Thus far and no
           further."  Most of the Indians were mounted; all were
           bedecked in their brightest colours, their heads crowned
           with the brilliant war-bonnet, their lances bearing the
           crimson pennant, bows strung, and quivers full of barbed
           arrows.  In addition to these weapons, which, with the
           hunting-knife and tomahawk, are considered as forming the
           armament of the warrior, each one was supplied with either
           a breech-loading rifle or revolver, sometimes with both--
           the latter obtained through the wise forethought and strong
           love of fair play which prevails in the Indian department,
           which, seeing that its wards are determined to fight,
           is equally determined that there shall be no advantage taken,
           but that the two sides shall be armed alike; proving, too,
           in this manner, the wonderful liberality of our government,
           which is not only able to furnish its soldiers with the
           latest style of breech-loaders to defend it and themselves,
           but is equally able and willing to give the same pattern
           of arms to the common foe.  The only difference is, that if
           the soldier loses his weapon, he is charged double price
           for it, while to avoid making any such charge against the
           Indian, his weapons are given him without conditions attached.
 
           In the line of battle before us there were several hundred
           Indians, while further to the rear and at different
           distances were other organized bodies, acting apparently
           as reserves.  Still further behind were small detachments
           who seemed to perform the duty of couriers, and were held
           in readiness to convey messages to the village.  The ground
           beyond was favourable for an extended view, and as far as
           the eye could reach, small groups of individuals could be
           seen in the direction of the village; these were evidently
           parties of observation, whose sole object was to learn the
           result of our meeting with the main body and hasten with
           the news to the village.
 
           For a few moments appearances seemed to foreshadow anything
           but a peaceable issue.  The infantry was in the advance,
           followed closely by the artillery, while my command,
           the cavalry, was marching on the flank.  General Hancock,
           who was riding with his staff at the head of the column,
           coming suddenly in view of the wild, fantastic battle array,
           which extended far to our right and left, and was not more
           than half a mile in our front, hastily sent orders to the
           infantry, artillery, and cavalry to form in line of battle,
           evidently determined that, if war was intended, we should be
           prepared.  The cavalry being the last to form on the right,
           came into line on a gallop, and without waiting to align
           the ranks carefully, the command was given to "Draw sabre."
           As the bright blades flashed from their scabbards into the
           morning sunlight, and the infantry brought their muskets
           to a carry, a contrast was presented which, to a military
           eye, could but be striking.  Here in battle array, facing
           each other, were the representatives of civilized and
           barbarous warfare.  The one, with few modifications, stood
           clothed in the same rude style of dress, bearing the same
           patterned shield and weapon that his ancestors had borne
           centuries before; the other confronted him in the dress
           and supplied with the implements of war which an advanced
           stage of civilization had pronounced the most perfect.
           Was the comparative superiority of these two classes to be
           subjected to the mere test of war here?  All was eager
           anxiety and expectation.  Neither side seemed to comprehend
           the object or intentions of the other; each was waiting
           for the other to deliver the first blow.  A more beautiful
           battle-ground could not have been chosen.  Not a bush or
           even the slightest irregularity of ground intervened between
           the two lines, which now stood frowning and facing each other.
           Chiefs could be seen riding along the line, as if directing
           and exhorting their braves to deeds of heroism.
 
           After a few moments of painful suspense, General Hancock,
           accompanied by General A. J. Smith and other officers,
           rode forward, and through an interpreter invited the chiefs
           to meet us midway for the purpose of an interview.
           In response to this invitation, Roman Nose, bearing a white
           flag, accompanied by Bull Bear, White Horse, Gray Beard,
           and Medicine Wolf, on the part of the Cheyennes, and Pawnee
           Killer, Bad Wound, Tall-Bear-That-Walks-under-the-Ground,
           Left Hand, Little Bear, and Little Bull, on the part of the
           Sioux, rode forward to the middle of the open space between
           the two lines.  Here we shook hands with all the chiefs,
           most of them exhibiting unmistakable signs of gratification
           at this apparently peaceful termination of our rencounter.
           General Hancock very naturally inquired the object of the
           hostile attitude displayed before us, saying to the chiefs
           that if war was their object, we were ready then and there
           to participate.  Their immediate answer was that they did
           not desire war, but were peacefully disposed.  They were
           then told that we would continue our march toward the
           village, and encamp near it, but would establish such
           regulations that none of the soldiers would be permitted
           to approach or disturb them.  An arrangement was then
           effected by which the chiefs were to assemble at General
           Hancock's headquarters as soon as our camp was pitched.
           The interview then terminated, and the Indians moved off
           in the direction of their village, we following leisurely
           in the rear.
 
           A march of a few miles brought us in sight of the village,
           which was situated in a beautiful grove on the bank of the
           stream up which we had been marching.  It consisted of
           upwards of three hundred lodges, a small fraction over half
           belonging to the Cheyennes, the remainder to the Sioux.
           Like all Indian encampments, the ground chosen was a most
           romantic spot, and at the same time fulfilled in every
           respect the requirements of a good camping-ground; wood,
           water, and grass were abundant.  The village was placed on
           a wide, level plateau, while on the north and west, at a
           short distance off, rose high bluffs, which admirably served
           as a shelter against the cold winds which at that season of
           the year prevail from those directions.  Our tents were
           pitched within a mile of the village.  Guards were placed
           between to prevent intrusion upon our part.  We had scarcely
           pitched our tents when Roman Nose, Bull Bear, Gray Beard,
           and Medicine Wolf, all prominent chiefs of the Cheyenne
           nation, came into camp with the information that upon our
           approach their women and children had all fled from the
           village, alarmed by the presence of so many soldiers, and
           imagining a second Chivington massacre to be intended.
           General Hancock insisted that they should all return,
           promising protection and good treatment to all; that if
           the camp was abandoned, he would hold it responsible.
           The chiefs then stated their belief in their ability to
           recall the fugitives, could they be furnished with horses
           to overtake them.  This was accordingly done, and two of
           them set out mounted on two of our horses.  An agreement
           was also entered into at the same time, that one of our
           interpreters, Ed Gurrier, a half-breed Cheyenne, who was in
           the employ of the government, should remain in the village
           and report every two hours as to whether any Indians were
           leaving there.  This was about seven o'clock in the evening.
           At half-past nine the half-breed returned to head-quarters
           with the intelligence that all the chiefs and warriors were
           saddling up to leave, under circumstances showing that they
           had no intention of returning, such as packing up every
           article that could be carried with them, and cutting and
           destroying their lodges--this last being done to obtain
           small pieces for temporary shelter.
 
           I had retired to my tent, which was some few hundred yards
           from that of General Hancock, when a messenger from the
           latter awakened me with the information that the general
           desired my presence in his tent.  He briefly stated the
           situation of affairs, and directed me to mount my command
           as quickly and as silently as possible, surround the Indian
           village, and prevent the departure of its inhabitants.
           Easily said, but not so easily done.  Under ordinary
           circumstances, silence not being necessary, I could have
           returned to my camp, and by a few blasts from the trumpet,
           placed every soldier on his saddle almost as quickly as it
           has taken time to write this short sentence.  No bugle calls
           must be sounded; we were to adopt some of the stealth of the
           Indians--how successfully remained to be seen.  By this time
           every soldier and officer was in his tent sound asleep.
           First going to the tent of the adjutant and arousing him,
           I procured an experienced assistant in my labours.  Next the
           captains of companies were awakened and orders imparted
           to them.  They in turn transmitted the order to the first
           sergeant, who similarly aroused the men.  It has often
           surprised me to observe the alacrity with which disciplined
           soldiers, experienced in campaigning, will hasten to prepare
           themselves for the march in an emergency like this.
           No questions are asked, no time is wasted.  A soldier's
           toilet, on an Indian campaign, is a simple affair, and
           requires little time for arranging.  His clothes are
           gathered up hurriedly, no matter how, so long as he retains
           possession of them.  The first object is to get his horse
           saddled and bridled, and until this is done his own dress
           is a matter of secondary importance, and one button or hook
           must do the duty of half a dozen.  When his horse is ready
           for the mount, the rider will be seen completing his own
           equipment; stray buttons will receive attention, arms will
           be overhauled, spurs restrapped; then, if there still remain
           a few spare moments, the homely black pipe is filled and
           lighted, and the soldier's preparation is complete.
 
           The night was all that could be desired for the success of
           our enterprise.  The air was mild and pleasant; the moon,
           although nearly full, kept almost constantly behind the
           clouds, as if to screen us in our hazardous undertaking.
           I say hazardous, because none of us imagined for one moment
           that if the Indians discovered us in our attempt to surround
           them and their village, we should escape without a fight--
           a fight, too, in which the Indians, sheltered behind the
           trunks of the stately forest trees under which their lodges
           were pitched, would possess all the advantage.  General
           Hancock, anticipating that the Indians would discover our
           approach, and that a fight would ensue, ordered the
           artillery and infantry under arms, to await the result of
           our moonlight adventure.  My command was soon in the saddle,
           and silently making its way toward the village.
           Instructions had been given forbidding all conversation
           except in a whisper.  Sabres were disposed of to prevent
           clanging.  Taking a camp-fire which we could see in the
           village as our guiding point, we made a detour so as to
           place the village between ourselves and the infantry.
           Occasionally the moon would peep out from the clouds and
           enable us to catch a hasty glance at the village.  Here and
           there under the thick foliage we could see the white,
           conical-shaped lodges.  Were the inmates slumbering,
           unaware of our close proximity, or were their dusky defenders
           concealed, as well they might have been, along the banks of
           the Pawnee, quietly awaiting our approach, and prepared to
           greet us with their well-known war-whoop?  These were
           questions that were probably suggested to the mind of each
           individual of my command.  If we were discovered approaching
           in the stealthy, suspicious manner which characterized our
           movements, the hour being midnight, it would require a more
           confiding nature than that of the Indian to assign a
           friendly or peaceful motive to our conduct.  The same
           flashes of moonlight which gave us hurried glimpses of the
           village enabled us to see our own column of horsemen
           stretching its silent length far into the dim darkness, and
           winding its course, like some huge anaconda about to envelop
           its victim.
 
           The method by which it was determined to establish a cordon
           of armed troopers about the fated village, was to direct
           the march in a circle, with the village in the centre,
           the commanding officer of each rear troop halting his
           command at the proper point, and deploying his men similarly
           to a line of skirmishers--the entire circle, when thus formed,
           facing toward the village, and, distant from it perhaps a
           few hundred yards.  No sooner was our line completely formed
           than the moon, as if deeming darkness no longer essential
           to our success, appeared from behind her screen and lighted
           up the entire scene.  And beautiful it was!  The great
           circle of troops, each individual of which sat on his steed
           silent as a statue, the dense foliage of the cotton trees
           sheltering the bleached, skin-clad lodges of the red men,
           the little stream in the midst murmuring undisturbedly in
           its channel, all combined to produce an artistic effect,
           as striking as it was interesting.  But we were not there
           to study artistic effects.  The next step was to determine
           whether we had captured an inhabited village, involving
           almost necessarily a severe conflict with its savage
           occupants, or whether the red man had again proven too
           wily and crafty for his more civilized brothers.
 
           Directing the entire line of troopers to remain mounted
           with carbines held at the "Advance," I dismounted, and
           taking with me Gurrier, the half-breed, Dr. Coates, one of
           our medical staff, and Lieutenant Moylan, the adjutant,
           we proceeded on our hands and knees toward the village.
           The prevailing opinion was that the Indians were still
           asleep.  I desired to approach near enough to the lodges
           to enable the half-breed to hail the village in the Indian
           tongue, and if possible establish friendly relations at once.
           It became a question of prudence with us, which we discussed
           in whispers as we proceeded on our "Tramp, tramp, tramp,
           the boys are creeping," how far from our horses and how
           near to the village we dared to go.  If so few of us were
           discovered entering the village in this questionable manner,
           it was more than probable that, like the returners of stolen
           property, we should be suitably rewarded and no questions
           asked.  The opinion of Gurrier, the half-breed, was eagerly
           sought for and generally deferred to.  His wife,
           a full-blooded Cheyenne, was a resident of the village.
           This with him was an additional reason for wishing a peaceful
           termination to our efforts.  When we had passed over
           two-thirds of the distance between our horses and the
           village, it was thought best to make our presence known.
           Thus far not a sound had been heard to disturb the stillness
           of the night.  Gurrier called out at the top of his voice
           in the Cheyenne tongue.  The only response came from the
           throats of a score or more of Indian dogs which set up a
           fierce barking.  At the same time one or two of our party
           asserted that they saw figure moving beneath the trees.
           Gurrier repeated his summons, but with no better results
           than before.
 
           A hurried consultation ensued.  The presence of so many dogs
           in the village was regarded by the half-breed as almost
           positive assurance that the Indians were still there.
           Yet it was difficult to account for their silence.  Gurrier
           in a loud tone repeated who he was, and that our mission was
           friendly.  Still no answer.  He then gave it as his opinion
           that the Indians were on the alert, and were probably
           waiting in the shadow of the trees for us to approach nearer,
           when they would pounce upon us.  This comforting opinion
           induced another conference.  We must ascertain the truth of
           the matter; our party could do this as well as a larger
           number, and to go back and send another party in our stead
           could not be thought of.
 
           Forward! was the verdict.  Each one grasped his revolver,
           resolved to do his best, whether it was in running or
           fighting.  I think most of us would have preferred to take
           our own chances at running.  We had approached near enough
           to see that some of the lodges were detached some distance
           from the main encampment.  Selecting the nearest of these,
           we directed our advance on it.  While all of us were full
           of the spirit of adventure, and were further encouraged
           with the idea that we were in the discharge of our duty,
           there was scarcely one of us who would not have felt more
           comfortable if we could have got back to our horses without
           loss of pride.  Yet nothing, under the circumstances, but
           a positive order would have induced any one to withdraw.
 
           Cautiously approaching, on all fours, to within a few yards
           of the nearest lodge, occasionally halting and listening to
           discover whether the village was deserted or not, we finally
           decided that the Indians had fled before the arrival of the
           cavalry, and that none but empty lodges were before us.
           This conclusion somewhat emboldened as well as accelerated
           our progress.  Arriving at the first lodge, one of our party
           raised the curtain or mat which served as a door, and the
           doctor and myself entered.  The interior of the lodge was
           dimly lighted by the dying embers of a small fire built in
           the centre.  All around us were to be seen the usual
           adornments and articles which constitute the household
           effects of an Indian family.  Buffalo-robes were spread like
           carpets over the floor; head-mats, used to recline on, were
           arranged as if for the comfort of their owners; parflêches,
           a sort of Indian band-box, with their contents apparently
           undisturbed, were carefully stowed away under the edges or
           borders of the lodge.  These, with the door-mats, paint-bags,
           rawhide ropes, and other articles of Indian equipment,
           were left as if the owners had only absented themselves for
           a brief period.  To complete the picture of an Indian lodge,
           over the fire hung a camp-kettle, in which, by means of the
           dim light of the fire, we could see what had been intended
           for the supper of the late occupants of the lodge.
           The doctor, ever on the alert to discover additional items
           of knowledge, whether pertaining to history or science,
           snuffed the savoury odours which arose from the dark
           recesses of the mysterious kettle.  Casting about the lodge
           for some instrument to aid him in his pursuit of knowledge,
           he found a horn spoon, with which he began his investigation
           of the contents, finally succeeding in getting possession
           of a fragment which might have been the half of a duck or
           rabbit, judging from its size merely.  "Ah!" said the doctor,
           in his most complacent manner, "here is the opportunity I
           have long been waiting for.  I have often desired to test
           the Indian mode of cooking.  What do you suppose this is?"
           holding up the dripping morsel.  Unable to obtain the
           desired information, the doctor, whose naturally good
           appetite had been sensibly sharpened by his recent exercise,
           set to with a will and ate heartily of the mysterious
           contents of the kettle.  He was only satisfied on one point,
           that it was delicious--a dish fit for a king.  Just then
           Gurrier, the half-breed, entered the lodge.  He could solve
           the mystery, having spent years among the Indians.  To him
           the doctor appealed for information.  Fishing out a huge
           piece, and attacking it with the voracity of a hungry wolf,
           he was not long in determining what the doctor had supped
           heartily upon.  His first words settled the mystery: "Why,
           this is dog."  I will not attempt to repeat the few but
           emphatic words uttered by the heartily disgusted member of
           the medical fraternity as he rushed from the lodge.
 
           Other members of our small party had entered other lodges,
           only to find them, like the first, deserted.  But little of
           the furniture belonging to the lodges had been taken,
           showing how urgent and hasty had been the flight of the
           owners.  To aid in the examination of the village,
           reinforcements were added to our party, and an exploration
           of each lodge was determined upon.  At the same time a
           messenger was despatched to General Hancock, informing him
           of the flight of the Indians.  Some of the lodges were
           closed by having brush or timber piled up against the
           entrance, as if to preserve the contents.  Others had huge
           pieces cut from their sides, these pieces evidently being
           carried away to furnish temporary shelter for the fugitives.
           In most of the lodges the fires were still burning.  I had
           entered several without discovering anything important.
           Finally, in company with the doctor, I arrived at one the
           interior of which was quite dark, the fire having almost
           died out.  Procuring a lighted fagot, I prepared to explore it,
           as I had done the others; but no sooner had I entered the
           lodge than my fagot failed me, leaving me in total darkness.
           Handing it to the doctor to be relighted, I began to feel
           my way about the interior of the lodge.  I had almost made
           the circuit when my hand came in contact with a human foot;
           at the same time a voice unmistakably Indian, and which
           evidently came from the owner of the foot, convinced me that
           I was not alone.  My first impressions were that in their
           hasty flight the Indians had gone off, leaving this one
           asleep.  My next, very naturally, related to myself.
           I would gladly have placed myself on the outside of the
           lodge, and there matured plans for interviewing its occupant;
           but unfortunately to reach the entrance of the lodge, I must
           either pass over or around the owner of the before-mentioned
           foot and voice.  Could I have been convinced that among
           its other possessions there was neither tomahawk nor
           scalping-knife, pistol nor war-club, or any similar article
           of the noble red-man's toilet, I would have risked an attempt
           to escape through the low narrow opening of the lodge;
           but who ever saw an Indian without one or all of these
           interesting trinkets?  Had I made the attempt, I should
           have expected to encounter either the keen edge of the
           scalping-knife or the blow of the tomahawk, and to have
           engaged in a questionable struggle for life.  This would
           not do.  I crouched in silence for a few moments, hoping
           the doctor would return with the lighted fagot.  I need not
           say that each succeeding moment spent in the darkness of
           that lodge seemed an age.  I could hear a slight movement
           on the part of my unknown neighbour, which did not add to
           my comfort.  Why does not the doctor return?  At last I
           discovered the approach of a light on the outside.  When it
           neared the entrance, I called the doctor and informed him
           that an Indian was in the lodge, and that he had better
           have his weapons ready for a conflict.  I had, upon
           discovering the foot, drawn my hunting-knife from its
           scabbard, and now stood waiting the denouement.  With his
           lighted fagot in one hand and cocked revolver in the other,
           the doctor cautiously entered the lodge.  And there directly
           between us, wrapped in a buffalo-robe, lay the cause of my
           anxiety--a little Indian girl, probably ten years old;
           not a full-blood, but a half-breed.  She was terribly
           frightened at finding herself in our hands, with none of
           her people near.  Other parties in exploring the deserted
           village found an old, decrepit Indian of the Sioux tribe,
           who had also been deserted, owing to his infirmities and
           inability to travel with the tribe.  Nothing was gleaned
           from our search of the village which might indicate the
           direction of the flight.  General Hancock, on learning the
           situation of affairs, despatched some companies of infantry
           with orders to replace the cavalry and protect the village
           and its contents from disturbance until its final disposition
           could be determined upon, and it was decided that with eight
           troops of cavalry I should start in pursuit of the Indians
           at early dawn on the following morning.
 
           The Indians, after leaving their village, went up on the
           Smoky Hill, and committed the most horrible depredations
           upon the scattered settlers in that region.  Upon this news,
           General Hancock issued the following order:--
 
           "As a punishment of the bad faith practised by the Cheyennes
           and Sioux who occupied the Indian village at this place, and
           as a chastisement for murders and depredations committed
           since the arrival of the command at this point, by the
           people of these tribes, the village recently occupied by
           them, which is now in our hands, will be utterly destroyed."
 
           The Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Apaches had been united under
           one agency; the Kiowas and Comanches under another.
           As General Hancock's expedition had reference to all these
           tribes, he had invited both the agents to accompany him
           into the Indian country and be present at all interviews
           with the representatives of these tribes, for the purpose,
           as the invitation stated, of showing the Indians "that the
           officers of the government are acting in harmony."
 
           In conversation with the general the agents admitted that
           Indians had been guilty of all the outrages charged against
           them, but each asserted the innocence of the particular
           tribes under his charge, and endeavoured to lay their crimes
           at the door of their neighbours.
 
           Here was positive evidence from the agents themselves that
           the Indians against whom we were operating were deserving
           of severe punishment.  The only conflicting portion of the
           testimony was as to which tribe was most guilty.  Subsequent
           events proved, however, that all of the five tribes named,
           as well as the Sioux, had combined for a general war
           throughout the plains and along our frontier.  Such a war
           had been threatened to our post commanders along the
           Arkansas on many occasions during the winter.  The movement
           of the Sioux and Cheyennes toward the north indicated that
           the principal theatre of military operations during the
           summer would be between the Smoky Hill and Platte rivers.
           General Hancock accordingly assembled the principal chiefs
           of the Kiowas and Arapahoes in council at Fort Dodge,
           hoping to induce them to remain at peace and observe their
           treaty obligations.
 
           The most prominent chiefs in council were Satanta, Lone Wolf,
           and Kicking Bird of the Kiowas, and Little Raven and Yellow
           Bear of the Arapahoes.  During the council extravagant
           promises of future good behaviour were made by these chiefs.
           So effective and convincing was the oratorical effort of
           Satanta, that at the termination of his address, the
           department commander and his staff presented him with the
           uniform coat, sash, and hat of a major-general.  In return
           for this compliment, Satanta, within a few weeks, attacked
           the post at which the council was held, arrayed in his
           new uniform.
 
 In the spring of 1878, the Indians commenced a series of depredations
 along the Santa Fe Trail and against the scattered settlers of the
 frontier, that were unparalleled in their barbarity.  General Alfred
 Sully, a noted Indian fighter, who commanded the district of the
 Upper Arkansas, early concentrated a portion of the Seventh and Tenth
 Cavalry and Third Infantry along the line of the Old Santa Fe Trail,
 and kept out small expeditions of scouting parties to protect the
 overland coaches and freight caravans; but the troops effected very
 little in stopping the devilish acts of the Indians, who were now
 fully determined to carry out their threats of a general war, which
 culminated in the winter expedition of General Sheridan, who completely
 subdued them, and forced all the tribes on reservations; since which
 time there has never been any trouble with the plains Indians worthy
 of mention.[69]
 
 General Sully, about the 1st of September, with eight companies of
 the Seventh Cavalry and five companies of infantry, left Fort Dodge,
 on the Arkansas, on a hurried expedition against the Kiowas, Arapahoes,
 and Cheyennes.  The command marched in a general southeasterly
 direction, and reached the sand hills of the Beaver and Wolf rivers,
 by a circuitous route, on the fifth day.  When nearly through that
 barren region, they were attacked by a force of eight hundred of the
 allied tribes under the leadership of the famous Kiowa chief, Satanta.
 A running fight was kept up with the savages on the first day,
 in which two of the cavalry were killed and one wounded.
 
 That night the savages came close enough to camp to fire into it
 (an unusual proceeding in Indian warfare, as they rarely molest
 troops during the night), I now quote from Custer again:
           The next day General Sully directed his march down the
           valley of the Beaver; but just as his troops were breaking
           camp, the long wagon-train having already "pulled out," and
           the rear guard of the command having barely got into their
           saddles, a party of between two and three hundred warriors,
           who had evidently in some inexplicable manner contrived to
           conceal themselves until the proper moment, dashed into the
           deserted camp within a few yards of the rear of the troops,
           and succeeded in cutting off a few led horses and two of
           the cavalrymen who, as is often the case, had lingered a
           moment behind the column.
 
           Fortunately, the acting adjutant of the cavalry, Brevet
           Captain A. E. Smith, was riding at the rear of the column
           and witnessed the attack of the Indians.  Captain Hamilton,[70]
           of the Seventh Cavalry, was also present in command of the
           rear guard.  Wheeling to the rightabout, he at once prepared
           to charge the Indians and attempt the rescue of the two
           troopers who were being carried off before his very eyes.
           At the same time, Captain Smith, as representative of the
           commanding officer of the cavalry, promptly took the
           responsibility of directing a squadron of the cavalry to
           wheel out of column and advance in support of Captain
           Hamilton's guard.  With this hastily formed detachment,
           the Indians, still within pistol-range, but moving off with
           their prisoners, were gallantly charged and so closely
           pressed that they were forced to relinquish one of their
           prisoners, but not before shooting him through the body and
           leaving him on the ground, as they supposed, mortally wounded.
           The troops continued to charge the retreating Indians,
           upon whom they were gaining, determined, if possible,
           to effect the rescue of their remaining comrade.  They were
           advancing down one slope while the Indians, just across
           a ravine, were endeavouring to escape with their prisoner
           up the opposite ascent, when a peremptory order reached the
           officers commanding the pursuing force to withdraw their men
           and reform the column at once.  The terrible fate awaiting
           the unfortunate trooper carried off by the Indians spread
           a deep gloom throughout the command.  All were too familiar
           with the horrid customs of the savages to hope for a moment
           that the captive would be reserved for aught but a slow,
           lingering death, from tortures the most horrible and painful
           which blood-thirsty minds could suggest.  Such was the truth
           in his case, as we learned afterwards when peace (?) was
           established with the tribes then engaged in war.
 
           The expedition proceeded down the valley of the Beaver,
           the Indians contesting every step of the way.  In the
           afternoon, about three o'clock, the troops arrived at
           a ridge of sand hills a few miles southeast of the
           presentsite of Camp Supply, where quite a determined
           engagement took place between the command and the three
           tribes, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Kiowas, the Indians
           being the assailants.  The Indians seemed to have reserved
           their strongest efforts until the troops and train had
           advanced well into the sand hills, when a most obstinate
           resistance--and well conducted, too--was offered the
           farther advance of the troops.  It was evident that the
           troops were probably nearing the Indian villages, and that
           this opposition to further advance was to save them.  The
           character of the country immediately about the troops was
           not favourable to the operations of cavalry; the surface
           of the rolling plain was cut up by irregular and closely
           located sand hills, too steep and sandy to allow cavalry
           to move with freedom, yet capable of being easily cleared
           of savages by troops fighting on foot.  The Indians took
           post on the hilltops and began a harassing fire on the
           troops and train. Captain Yates, with a single troop of
           cavalry, was ordered forward to drive them away.  This was
           a proceeding which did not seem to meet with favour from
           the savages. Captain Yates could drive them wherever he
           encountered them, but they appeared in increased numbers
           at some other threatened point.  After contending in this
           non-effective manner for a couple of hours, the impression
           arose in the minds of some that the train could not be
           conducted through the sand hills in the face of the strong
           opposition offered by the Indians.  The order was issued
           to turn about and withdraw.  The order was executed, and
           the troop and train, followed by the exultant Indians,
           retired a few miles to the Beaver, and encamped for the
           night on the ground afterward known as Camp Supply.
 
           Captain Yates had caused to be brought off the field, when
           his troop was ordered to retire, the body of one of his men,
           who had been slain in the fight.  As the troops were to
           continue their backward march next day, and it was impossible
           to transport the dead body further, Captain Yates ordered
           preparations made for interring it in camp that night.
           Knowing that the Indians would thoroughly search the deserted
           camp-ground almost before the troops should get out of sight,
           and would be quick, with their watchful eyes, to detect a
           grave, and, if successful in discovering it, would unearth
           the body in order to get the scalp, directions were given
           to prepare the grave after nightfall; and the spot selected
           would have baffled any one but an Indian.  The grave was
           dug under the picket line to which the seventy or eighty
           horses of the troop would be tethered during the night,
           so that their constant tramping and pawing should completely
           cover up and obliterate all traces.  The following morning,
           even those who had performed the sad rites of burial to
           their fallen comrade could scarcely have indicated the exact
           location of the grave.  Yet when we returned to that point
           a few weeks later, it was discovered that the wily savages
           had found the place, unearthed the body, and removed the
           scalp of their victim on the day following the interment.[71]
 
 After leaving the camp at Supply, the Indians gradually increased
 their force, until they mustered about two thousand warriors.
 For four days and nights they hovered around the command, and by the
 time it reached Mulberry Creek there were not one thousand rounds of
 ammunition left in the whole force of troopers and infantrymen.
 At the creek, the incessant charges of the now infuriated savages
 compelled the troops to use this small amount held in reserve, and
 they found themselves almost at the mercy of the Indians.  But before
 they were absolutely defenceless, Colonel Keogh had sent a trusty
 messenger in the night to Fort Dodge for a supply of cartridges to
 meet the command at the creek, which fortunately arrived there
 in time to save that spot from being a veritable "last ditch."
 
 The savages, in the little but exciting encounter at the creek before
 the ammunition arrived, would ride up boldly toward the squadrons of
 cavalry, discharge the shots from their revolvers, and then, in their
 rage, throw them at the skirmishers on the flanks of the supply-train,
 while the latter, nearly out of ammunition, were compelled to sit
 quietly in their saddles, idle spectators of the extraordinary scene.[72]
 
 Many of the Indians were killed on their ponies, however, by those
 who were fortunate enough to have a few cartridges left; but none
 were captured, as the savages had taken their usual precaution to
 tie themselves to their animals, and as soon as dead were dragged
 away by them. 


 

INVASION OF THE RAILROAD.
 
 
 
 The tourist who to-day, in a palace car, surrounded by all the
 conveniences of our American railway service, commences his tour of
 the prairies at the Missouri River, enters classic ground the moment
 the train leaves the muddy flood of that stream on its swift flight
 toward the golden shores of the Pacific.
 
 He finds a large city at the very portals of the once far West,
 with all the bustle and energy which is so characteristic of American
 enterprise.
 
 Gradually, as he is whirled along the iron trail, the woods lessen;
 he catches views of beautiful intervales; a bright little stream
 flashes and foams in the sunlight as the trees grow fewer, and soon
 he emerges on the broad sea of prairie, shut in only by the great
 circle of the heavens.
 
 Dotting this motionless ocean everywhere, like whitened sails, are
 quiet homes, real argosies ventured by the sturdy and industrious
 people who have fought their way through almost insurmountable
 difficulties to the tranquillity which now surrounds them.
 
 A few miles west of Topeka, the capital of Kansas, when the train
 reaches the little hamlet of Wakarusa, the track of the railroad
 commences to follow the route of the Old Santa Fe Trail.  At that
 point, too, the Oregon Trail branches off for the heavily timbered
 regions of the Columbia.  Now begins the classic ground of the once
 famous highway to New Mexico; nearly every stream, hill, and wooded
 dell has its story of adventure in those days when the railroad was
 regarded as an impossibility, and the region beyond the Missouri as
 a veritable desert.
 
 After some hours' rapid travelling, if our tourist happens to be a
 passenger on the "California Limited," the swift train that annihilates
 distance, he will pass by towns, hamlets, and immense cattle ranches,
 stopping only at county-seats, and enter the justly famous Arkansas
 valley at the city of Hutchinson.  The Old Trail now passes a few
 miles north of this busy place, which is noted for its extensive
 salt works, nor does the railroad again meet with it until the site
 of old Fort Zarah is reached, forty-seven miles west of Hutchinson,
 though it runs nearly parallel to the once great highway at varying
 distances for the whole detour.
 
 The ruins of the once important military post may be seen from the
 car-windows on the right, as the train crosses the iron bridge
 spanning the Walnut, and here the Old Trail exactly coincides with
 the railroad, the track of the latter running immediately on the
 old highway.
 
 Three miles westward from the classic little Walnut the Old Trail ran
 through what is now the Court House Square of the town of Great Bend;
 it may be seen from the station, and on that very spot occurred the
 terrible fight of Captains Booth and Hallowell in 1864.
 
 Thirteen miles further mountainward, on the right of the railroad,
 not far from the track, stands all that remains of the once dreaded
 Pawnee Rock.  It lies just beyond the limits of the little hamlet
 bearing its name.  It would not be recognized by any of the old
 plainsmen were they to come out of their isolated graves; for it is
 only a disintegrated, low mass of sandstone now, utilized for the base
 purposes of a corral, in which the village herd of milch cows lie down
 at night and chew their cuds, such peaceful transformation has that
 great civilizer, the locomotive, wrought in less than two decades.
 
 Another five or six miles, and the train crosses Ash Creek, which,
 too, was once one of the favourite haunts of the Pawnee and Comanche
 on their predatory excursions, in the days when the mules and horses
 of passing freight caravans excited their cupidity.  A short whirl
 again, and the town of Larned, lying peacefully on the Arkansas and
 Pawnee Fork, is reached.  Immediately opposite the centre of the
 street through which the railroad runs, and which was also the course
 of the Old Trail, lying in the Arkansas River, close to its northern
 bank, is a small thickly-wooded island, now reached by a bridge, that
 is famous as the battle-ground of a terrible conflict thirty years ago,
 between the Pawnees and Cheyennes, hereditary enemies, in which the
 latter tribe was cruelly defeated.
 
 The railroad bridge crosses Pawnee Fork at the precise spot where
 the Old Trail did.  This locality has been the scene of some of the
 bloodiest encounters between the various tribes of savages themselves,
 and between them and the freight caravans, the overland coaches,
 and every other kind of outfit that formerly attempted the passage of
 the now peaceful stream.  In fact, the whole region from Walnut Creek
 to the mouth of the Pawnee, which includes in its area Ash Creek
 and Pawnee Rock, seemed to be the greatest resort for the Indians,
 who hovered about the Santa Fe Trail for the sole purpose of robbery
 and murder; it was a very lucky caravan or coach, indeed, that passed
 through that portion of the route without being attacked.
 
 All the once dangerous points of the Old Trail having been successively
 passed--Cow Creek, Big and Little Coon, and Ash Creek, Fort Dodge,
 Fort Aubrey,[73] and Point of Rocks--the tourist arrives at last at
 the foot-hills.  At La Junta the railroad separates into two branches;
 one going to Denver, the other on to New Mexico.  Here, a relatively
 short distance to the northwest, on the right of the train, may be
 seen the ruins of Bent's Fort, the tourist having already passed the
 site of the once famous Big Timbers, a favourite winter camping-ground
 of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes; but everywhere around him there reigns
 such perfect quiet and pastoral beauty, he might imagine that the
 peaceful landscape upon which he looks had never been a bloody arena.
 
 I suggest to the lover of nature that he should cross the Raton Range
 in the early morning, or late in the afternoon; for then the
 magnificent scenery of the Trail over the high divide into New Mexico
 assumes its most beautiful aspect.
 
 In approaching the range from the Old Trail, or now from the railroad,
 their snow-clad peaks may be seen at a distance of sixty miles.
 In the era of caravans and pack-trains, for hour after hour, as they
 moved slowly toward the goal of their ambition, the summit of the
 fearful pathway on the divide, the huge forms of the mountains seemed
 to recede, and yet ascend higher.  On the next day's journey their
 outlines appeared more irregular and ragged.  Drawing still nearer,
 their base presented a long, dark strip stretching throughout their
 whole course, ever widening until it seemed like a fathomless gulf,
 separating the world of reality from the realms of imagination beyond.
 
 Another weary twenty miles of dusty travel, and the black void slowly
 dissolved, and out of the shadows lines of broken, sterile,
 ferruginous buttes and detached masses of rocks, whose soilless
 surface refuses sustenance, save to a few scattered, stunted pines
 and lifeless mosses, emerged to view.
 
 The progress of the weary-footed mules or oxen was now through ravines
 and around rocks; up narrow paths which the melting snows have
 washed out; sometimes between beetling cliffs, often to their very
 edge, where hundreds of feet below the Trail the tall trees seemed
 diminished into shrubs.  Then again the road led over an immense broad
 terrace, for thousands of yards around, with a bright lake gleaming
 in the refracted light, and brilliant Alpine plants waving their
 beautiful flowers on its margin.  Still the coveted summit appeared
 so far off as to be beyond the range of vision, and it seemed as if,
 instead of ascending, the entire mass underneath had been receding,
 like the mountains of ice over which Arctic explorers attempt to reach
 the pole.  Now the tortuous Trail passed through snow-wreaths which
 the winds had eddied into indentations; then over bright, glassy
 surfaces of ice and fragments of rocks, until the pinnacle was reached.
 Nearer, along the broad successive terraces of the opposite mountains,
 the evergreen pine, the cedar, with its stiff, angular branches, and
 the cottonwood, with its varied curves and bright colours, were
 crowded into bunches or strung into zigzag lines, interspersed with
 shrubs and mountain plants, among which the flaming cactus was
 conspicuous.  To the right and left, the bare cones of the barren
 peaks rose in multitude, with their calm, awful forms shrouded in snow,
 and their dark shadows reflected far into the valleys, like spectres
 from a chaotic world.
 
 In going through the Raton Pass, the Old Santa Fe Trail meandered up
 a steep valley, enclosed on either side by abrupt hills covered with
 pine and masses of gray rock.  The road ran along the points of
 varying elevations, now in the stony bed of Raton Creek, which it
 crossed fifty-three times, the sparkling, flitting waters of the
 bubbling stream leaping and foaming against the animals' feet as they
 hauled the great wagons of the freight caravans over the tortuous
 passage.  The creek often rushed rapidly under large flat stones,
 lost to sight for a moment, then reappearing with a fresh impetus and
 dashing over its flinty, uneven bed until it mingled with the pure
 waters of Le Purgatoire.
 
 Still ascending, the scenery assumed a bolder, rougher cast; then
 sudden turns gave you hurried glimpses of the great valley below.
 A gentle dell sloped to the summit of the pass on the west, then,
 rising on the east by a succession of terraces, the bald, bare cliff
 was reached, overlooking the whole region for many miles, and this is
 Raton Peak.[74]
 
 The extreme top of this famous peak was only reached after more than
 an hour's arduous struggle.  On the lofty plateau the caravans and
 pack-trains rested their tired animals.  Here, too, the lonely trapper,
 when crossing the range in quest of beaver, often chose this lofty
 spot on which to kindle his little fire and broil juicy steaks of the
 black-tail deer, the finest venison in the world; but before he
 indulged in the savoury morsels, if he was in the least superstitious
 or devout, or inspired by the sublime scene around him, he lighted
 his pipe, and after saluting the elevated ridge on which he sat by the
 first whiff of the fragrant kinnikinick, Indian-fashion, he in turn
 offered homage in the same manner to the sky above him, the earth
 beneath, and to the cardinal points of the compass, and was then
 prepared to eat his solitary meal in a spirit of thankfulness.
 
 Far below this magnificent vantage-ground lies the valley of the
 Rio Las Animas Perdidas.  On the other verge of the great depression
 rise the peerless, everlastingly snow-wreathed Spanish Peaks,[75]
 whose giant summits are grim sentinels that for untold ages have
 witnessed hundreds of sanguinary conflicts between the wily nomads
 of the vast plains watered by the silent Arkansas.
 
 All around you snow-clad mountains lift their serrated crowns above
 the horizon, dim, white, and indistinct, like icebergs seen at sea
 by moonlight; others, nearer, more rugged, naked of verdure, and
 irregular in contour, seem to lose their lofty summits in the intense
 blue of the sky.
 
 Fisher's Peak, which is in full view from the train, was named from
 the following circumstance: Captain Fisher was a German artillery
 officer commanding a battery in General Kearney's Army of the West in
 the conquest of New Mexico and was encamped at the base of the peak
 to which he involuntarily gave his name.  He was intently gazing at
 the lofty summit wrapped in the early mist, and not being familiar
 with the illusory atmospheric effects of the region, he thought that
 to go there would be merely a pleasant promenade.  So, leaving word
 that he would return to breakfast, he struck out at a brisk walk for
 the crest.  That whole day, the following night, and the succeeding
 day, dragged their weary hours on, but no tidings of the commanding
 officer were received at the battery, and ill rumours were current
 of his death by Indians or bears, when, just as his mess were about
 to take their seats at the table for the evening meal, their captain
 put in an appearance, a very tired but a wiser man.  He started to go
 to the peak, and he went there!
 
 On the summit of another rock-ribbed elevation close by, the tourist
 will notice the shaft of an obelisk.  It is over the grave of George
 Simpson, once a noted mountaineer in the days of the great fur
 companies.  For a long time he made his home there, and it was his
 dying request that the lofty peak he loved so well while living should
 be his last resting-place.  The peak is known as "Simpson's Rest,"
 and is one of the notable features of the rugged landscape.
 
 Pike's Peak, far away to the north, intensely white and silvery in the
 clear sky, hangs like a great dome high in the region of the clouds,
 a marked object, worthy to commemorate the indefatigable efforts of
 the early voyageur whose name it bears.
 
 In this wonderful locality, both Pike's Peak and the snowy range over
 two hundred miles from our point of observation really seem to the
 uninitiated as if a brisk walk of an hour or two would enable one to
 reach them, so deceptive is the atmosphere of these elevated regions.
 
 About two miles from the crest of the range, yet over seven thousand
 feet above the sea-level, in a pretty little depression about as
 large as a medium-sized corn-field in the Eastern States, Uncle
 Dick Wooton lived, and here, too, was his toll-gate.  The veteran
 mountaineer erected a substantial house of adobe, after the style
 of one of the old-time Southern plantation residences, a memory,
 perhaps, of his youth, when he raised tobacco in his father's fields
 in Kentucky.[76]
 
 The most charming hour in which to be on the crest of Raton Range is
 in the afternoon, when the weather is clear and calm.  As the night
 comes on apace in the distant valley beneath, the evening shadows
 drop down, pencilled with broad bands of rosy light as they creep
 slowly across the beautiful landscape, while the rugged vista below
 is enveloped in a diffused haze like that which marks the season of
 the Indian summer in the lower great plains.  Above, the sky curves
 toward the relatively restricted horizon, with not a cloud to dim
 its intense blue, nowhere so beautiful as in these lofty altitudes.
 
 The sun, however, does not always shine resplendently; there are
 times when the most terrific storms of wind, hail, and rain change
 the entire aspect of the scene.  Fortunately, these violent bursts
 never last long; they vanish as rapidly as they come, leaving in
 their wake the most phenomenally beautiful rainbows, whose trailing
 splendours which they owe to the dry and rare air of the region, and
 its high refractory power, are gorgeous in the extreme.
 
 In 1872 the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad entered the
 valley of the Upper Arkansas.  Twenty-four years ago, on a delicious
 October afternoon, I stood on the absolutely level plateau at the
 mouth of Pawnee Fork where that historic creek debouches into the
 great river.  The remembrance of that view will never pass from my
 memory, for it showed a curious temporary blending of two distinct
 civilizations.  One, the new, marking the course of empire in its
 restless march westward; the other, that of the aboriginal, which,
 like a dissolving view, was soon to fade away and be forgotten.
 
 The box-elders and cottonwoods thinly covering the creek-bottom were
 gradually donning their autumn dress of russet, and the mirage had
 already commenced its fantastic play with the landscape.  On the sides
 and crests of the sparsely grassed sand hills south of the Arkansas
 a few buffaloes were grazing in company with hundreds of Texas cattle,
 while in the broad valley beneath, small flocks of graceful antelope
 were lying down, quietly ruminating their midday meal.
 
 In the distance, far eastwardly, a train of cars could be seen
 approaching; as far as the eye could reach, on either side of the
 track, the virgin sod had been turned to the sun; the "empire of
 the plough" was established, and the march of immigration in its
 hunger for the horizon had begun.
 
 Half a mile away from the bridge spanning the Fork, under the grateful
 shade of the largest trees, about twenty skin lodges were irregularly
 grouped; on the brown sod of the sun-cured grass a herd of a hundred
 ponies were lazily feeding, while a troop of dusky little children
 were chasing the yellow butterflies from the dried and withered
 sunflower stalks which once so conspicuously marked the well-worn
 highway to the mountains.  These Indians, the remnant of a tribe
 powerful in the years of savage sovereignty, were on their way,
 in charge of their agent, to their new homes, on the reservation
 just allotted to them by the government, a hundred miles south of
 the Arkansas.
 
 Their primitive lodges contrasted strangely with the peaceful little
 sod-houses, dugouts, and white cottages of the incoming settlers on
 the public lands, with the villages struggling into existence, and
 above all with the rapidly moving cars; unmistakable evidences that
 the new civilization was soon to sweep the red men before it like
 chaff before the wind.
 
 Farther to the west, a caravan of white-covered wagons loaded with
 supplies for some remote military post, the last that would ever
 travel the Old Trail, was slowly crawling toward the setting sun.
 I watched it until only a cloud of dust marked its place low down
 on the horizon, and it was soon lost sight of in the purple mist
 that was rapidly overspreading the far-reaching prairie.
 
 It was the beginning of the end; on the 9th of February, 1880, the
 first train over the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad arrived
 at Santa Fe and the Old Trail as a route of commerce was closed
 forever.  The once great highway is now only a picture in the memory
 of the few who have travelled its weary course, following the windings
 of the silent Arkansas, on to the portals that guard the rugged
 pathway leading to the shores of the blue Pacific. 


 

[1] The whole country watered by the Mississippi and Missouri was
 called Florida at that time.
 
 [2] The celebrated Jesuit, author of _The History of New France_,
 _Journals of a Voyage to North America_, _Letters to the Duchess_, etc.
 
 [3] Otoes.
 
 [4] Iowas.
 
 [5] Boulevard, Promenade.
 
 [6] Notes of a Military Reconnoissance from Fort Leavenworth,
 in Missouri, to San Diego, in California, including parts of the
 Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers.  Brevet Major W. H. Emory,
 Corps of Topographical Engineers, United States Army, 1846.
 
 [7] Hon. W. F. Arny, in his Centennial Celebration Address at Santa Fe,
 July 4, 1876.
 
 [8] Edwards, _Conquest of New Mexico_.
 
 [9] I think this is Bancroft's idea.
 
 [10] _Historical Sketches of New Mexico_, L. Bradford Prince, late
 Chief Justice of New Mexico, 1883.
 
 [11] D. H. Coyner, 1847.
 
 [12] He was travelling parallel to the Old Santa Fe Trail all the time,
 but did not know it until he was overtaken by a band of Kaw Indians.
 
 [13] McKnight was murdered south of the Arkansas by the Comanches
 in the winter of 1822.
 
 [14] Chouteau's Island.
 
 [15] _Hennepin's Journal_.
 
 [16] The line between the United States and Mexico (or New Spain,
 as it was called) was defined by a treaty negotiated in 1819,
 between the Chevalier de Onis, then Spanish minister at Washington,
 and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State.  According to its
 provisions, the boundary between Mexico and Louisiana, which had been
 added to the Union, commenced with the river Sabine at its entrance
 into the Gulf of Mexico, at about the twenty-ninth degree of north
 latitude and the ninety-fourth degree of longitude, west from
 Greenwich, and followed it as far as its junction with the Red River
 of Natchitoches, which then served to mark the frontier up to the
 one hundredth degree of west longitude, where the line ran directly
 north to the Arkansas, which it followed to its source at the
 forty-second degree of north latitude, whence another straight line
 was drawn up the same parallel to the Pacific coast.
 
 [17] This tribe kept up its reputation under the dreaded Satanta,
 until 1868--a period of forty years--when it was whipped into
 submission by the gallant Custer.  Satanta was its war chief,
 one of the most cruel savages the great plains ever produced.
 He died a few years ago in the state prison of Texas.
 
 [18] McNess Creek is on the old Cimarron Trail to Santa Fe, a little
 east of a line drawn south from Bent's Fort.
 
 [19] Mr. Bryant, of Kansas, who died a few years ago, was one of
 the pioneers in the trade with Santa Fe.  Previous to his decease
 he wrote for a Kansas newspaper a narrative of his first trip across
 the great plains; an interesting monograph of hardship and suffering.
 For the use of this document I am indebted to Hon. Sol. Miller,
 the editor of the journal in which it originally appeared.  I have
 also used very extensively the notes of Mr. William Y. Hitt, one of
 the Bryant party, whose son kindly placed them at my disposal, and
 copied liberally from the official report of Major Bennett Riley--
 afterward the celebrated general of Mexican War fame, and for whom
 the Cavalry Depot in Kansas is named; as also from the journal of
 Captain Philip St. George Cooke, who accompanied Major Riley on
 his expedition.
 
 [20] Chouteau's Island, at the mouth of Sand Creek.
 
 [21] Valley of the Upper Arkansas.
 
 [22] About three miles east of the town of Great Bend, Barton County,
 Kansas.
 
 [23] The Old Santa Fe Trail crosses the creek some miles north of
 Hutchinson, and coincides with the track again at the mouth of
 Walnut Creek, three miles east of Great Bend.
 
 [24] There are many conflicting accounts in regard to the sum
 Don Antonio carried with him on that unfortunate trip.  Some
 authorities put it as high as sixty thousand; I have taken a mean
 of the various sums, and as this method will suffice in mathematics,
 perhaps we can approximate the truth in this instance.
 
 [25] General Emory of the Union army during the Civil War.  He made
 an official report of the country through which the Army of the West
 passed, accompanied by maps, and his _Reconnoissance in New Mexico
 and California_, published by the government in 1848, is the first
 authentic record of the region, considered topographically and
 geologically.
 
 [26] _Doniphan's Expedition, containing an account of the Conquest
 of New Mexico_, etc.  John T. Hughes, A.B., of the First Regiment
 of Missouri Cavalry.  1850.
 
 [27] Deep Gorge.
 
 [28] Colonel Leavenworth, for whom Fort Leavenworth is named, and
 who built several army posts in the far West.
 
 [29] Colonel A. G. Boone, a grandson of the immortal Daniel, was one
 of the grandest old mountaineers I ever knew.  He was as loyal as
 anybody, but honest in his dealings with the Indians, and that was
 often a fault in the eyes of those at Washington who controlled
 these agents.  Kit Carson was of the same honest class as Boone,
 and he, too, was removed for the same cause.
 
 [30] A narrow defile on the Trail, about ninety miles east of
 Fort Union.  It is called the "canyon of the Canadian, or Red, River,"
 and is situated between high walls of earth and rock.  It was once
 a very dangerous spot on account of the ease and rapidity with which
 the savages could ambush themselves.
 
 [31] Carson, Wooton, and all other expert mountaineers, when following
 a trail, could always tell just what time had elapsed since it was
 made.  This may seem strange to the uninitiated, but it was part
 of their necessary education.  They could tell what kind of a track
 it was, which way the person or animal had walked, and even the tribe
 to which the savage belonged, either by the shape of the moccasin
 or the arrows which were occasionally dropped.
 
 [32] Lieutenant Bell belonged to the Second Dragoons.  He was
 conspicuous in extraordinary marches and in action, and also an
 accomplished horseman and shot, once running and killing five buffalo
 in a quarter of a mile.  He died early in 1861, and his death was
 a great loss to the service.
 
 [33] Known to this day as "The Cheyenne Bottoms."
 
 [34] Lone Wolf was really the head chief of the Kiowas.
 
 [35] The battle lasted three days.
 
 [36] Kicking Bird was ever afterward so regarded by the authorities
 of the Indian department.
 
 [37] Lorenzo Thomas, adjutant-general of the United States army.
 
 [38] Kendall's _Santa Fe Expedition_ may be found in all the large
 libraries.
 
 [39] A summer-house, bower, or arbour.
 
 [40] Frank Hall, Chicago, 1885.
 
 [41] The greater portion of this chapter I originally wrote for
 _Harper's Weekly_.  By the kind permission of the publishers, I am
 permitted to use it here.
 
 [42] These statistics I have carefully gathered from the freight
 departments of the railroads, which kept a record of all the bones
 that were shipped, and from the purchasers of the carbon works,
 who paid out the money at various points.  Some of the bones, however,
 may have been on the ground for a longer time, as decay is very slow
 in the dry air of the plains.
 
 [43] La Jeunesse was one of the bravest of the old French Canadian
 trappers.  He was a warm friend of Kit Carson and was killed by the
 Indians in the following manner.  They were camping one night in the
 mountains; Kit, La Jeunesse, and others had wrapped themselves up
 in their blankets near the fire, and were sleeping soundly; Fremont
 sat up until after midnight reading letters he had received from
 the United States, after finishing which, he, too, turned in and
 fell asleep.  Everything was quiet for a while, when Kit was awakened
 by a noise that sounded like the stroke of an axe.  Rising cautiously,
 he discovered Indians in the camp; he gave the alarm at once,
 but two of his companions were dead.  One of them was La Jeunesse,
 and the noise he had heard was the tomahawk as it buried itself
 in the brave fellow's head.
 
 [44] This black is made from a species of plumbago found on the hills
 of the region.
 
 [45] The Pawnees and Cheyennes were hereditary enemies, and they
 frequently met in sanguinary conflict.
 
 [46] A French term Anglicised, as were many other foreign words by
 the trappers in the mountains.  Its literal meaning is, arrow fender,
 for from it the plains Indians construct their shields; it is
 buffalo-hide prepared in a certain manner.
 
 [47] Boiling Spring River.
 
 [48] For some reason the Senate refused to confirm the appointment,
 and he had consequently no connection with the regular army.
 
 [49] Point of Rocks is six hundred and forty seven miles from
 Independence, and was always a favourite place of resort for the
 Indians of the great plains; consequently it was one of the most
 dangerous camping-spots for the freight caravans on the Trail.
 It comprises a series of continuous hills, which project far out on
 the prairie in bold relief.  They end abruptly in a mass of rocks,
 out of which gushes a cold, refreshing spring, which is, of course,
 the main attraction of the place.  The Trail winds about near this
 point, and many encounters with the various tribes have occurred there.
 
 [50] "Little Mountain."
 
 [51] General Gatlin was a North Carolinian, and seceded with his
 State at the breaking out of the Rebellion, but refused to leave
 his native heath to fight, so indelibly was he impressed with the
 theory of State rights.  He was willing to defend the soil of
 North Carolina, but declined to step across its boundary to repel
 invasion in other States.
 
 [52] The name of "Crow," as applied to the once powerful nation
 of mountain Indians, is a misnomer, the fault of some early
 interpreter.  The proper appellation is "Sparrowhawks," but they
 are officially recognized as "Crows."
 
 [53] Kit Carson, ten years before, when on his first journey, met
 with the same adventure while on post at Pawnee Rock.
 
 [54] The fusee was a fire-lock musket with an immense bore, from
 which either slugs or balls could be shot, although not with any
 great degree of accuracy.
 
 [55] The Indians always knew when the caravans were to pass certain
 points on the Trail, by their runners or spies probably.
 
 [56] It was one of the rigid laws of Indian hospitality always to
 respect the person of any one who voluntarily entered their camps
 or temporary halting-places.  As long as the stranger, red or white,
 remained with them, he enjoyed perfect immunity from harm; but after
 he had left, although he had progressed but half a mile, it was just
 as honourable to follow and kill him.
 
 [57] In their own fights with their enemies one or two of the
 defeated party are always spared, and sent back to their tribe to
 carry the news of the slaughter.
 
 [58] The story of the way in which this name became corrupted into
 "Picketwire," by which it is generally known in New Mexico, is this:
 When Spain owned all Mexico and Florida, as the vast region of the
 Mississippi valley was called, long before the United States had
 an existence as a separate government, the commanding officer at
 Santa Fe received an order to open communication with the country
 of Florida.  For this purpose an infantry regiment was selected.
 It left Santa Fe rather late in the season, and wintered at a point
 on the Old Trail now known as Trinidad.  In the spring, the colonel,
 leaving all camp-followers behind him, both men and women, marched
 down the stream, which flows for many miles through a magnificent
 canyon.  Not one of the regiment returned or was ever heard of.
 When all hope had departed from the wives, children, and friends
 left behind at Trinidad, information was sent to Santa Fe, and a wail
 went up through the land.  The priests and people then called this
 stream "El Rio de las Animas Perditas" ("The river of lost souls").
 Years after, when the Spanish power was weakened, and French trappers
 came into the country under the auspices of the great fur companies,
 they adopted a more concise name; they called the river "Le Purgatoire."
 Then came the Great American Bull-Whacker.  Utterly unable to twist
 his tongue into any such Frenchified expression, he called the stream
 with its sad story "Picketwire," and by that name it is known to all
 frontiersmen, trappers, and the settlers along its banks.
 
 [59] The ranch is now in charge of Mr. Harry Whigham, an English
 gentleman, who keeps up the old hospitality of the famous place.
 
 [60] "River of Souls."  The stream is also called Le Purgatoire,
 corrupted by the Americans into Picketwire.
 
 [61] Pawnee Rock is no longer conspicuous.  Its material has been
 torn away by both the railroad and the settlers in the vicinity,
 to build foundations for water-tanks, in the one instance, and for
 the construction of their houses, barns, and sheds, in the other.
 Nothing remains of the once famous landmark; its site is occupied
 as a cattle corral by the owner of the claim in which it is included.
 
 [62] The crossing of the Old Santa Fe Trail at Pawnee Fork is now
 within the corporate limits of the pretty little town of Larned,
 the county-seat of Pawnee County.  The tourist from his car-window
 may look right down upon one of the worst places for Indians that
 there was in those days of the commerce of the prairies, as the road
 crosses the stream at the exact spot where the Trail crossed it.
 
 [63] This was a favourite expression of his whenever he referred
 to any trouble with the Indians.
 
 [64] Indians will risk the lives of a dozen of their best warriors
 to prevent the body of any one of their number from falling into
 the white man's possession.  The reason for this is the belief,
 which prevails among all tribes, that if a warrior loses his scalp
 he forfeits his hope of ever reaching the happy hunting-ground.
 
 [65] It was in this fight that the infamous Charles Bent received
 his death-wound.
 
 [66] The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad track runs very
 close to the mound, and there is a station named for the great mesa.
 
 [67] The venerable Colonel A. S. Johnson, of Topeka, Kansas,
 the first white child born on the great State's soil, who related
 to me this adventure of Hatcher's, knew him well.  He says that he
 was a small man, full of muscle, and as fearless as can be conceived.
 
 [68] The place where they turned is about a hundred yards east of
 the Court House Square, in the present town of Great Bend; it may
 be seen from the cars.
 
 [69] See Sheridan's _Memoirs_, Custer's _Life on the Plains_, and
 Buffalo Bill's book, in which all the stirring events of that
 campaign--nearly every fight of which was north or far south of the
 Santa Fe Trail--are graphically told.
 
 [70] A grandson of Alexander Hamilton; killed at the battle of the
 Washita, in the charge on Black Kettle's camp under Custer.
 
 [71] This ends Custer's narrative.  The following fight, which
 occurred a few days afterward, at the mouth of Mulberry Creek,
 twelve miles below Fort Dodge, and within a stone's throw of the
 Old Trail, was related to me personally by Colonel Keogh, who was
 killed at the Rosebud, in Custer's disastrous battle with Sitting Bull.
 We were both attached to General Sully's staff.
 
 [72] It was in this fight that Colonel Keogh's celebrated horse
 Comanche received his first wound.  It will be remembered that
 Comanche and a Crow Indian were the only survivors of that unequal
 contest in the valley of the Big Horn, commonly called the battle
 of the Rosebud, where Custer and his command was massacred.
 
 [73] Now Kendall, a little village in Hamilton County, Kansas.
 
 [74] Raton is the name given by the early Spaniards to this range,
 meaning both mouse and squirrel.  It had its origin either in the
 fact that one of its several peaks bore a fanciful resemblance to
 a squirrel, or because of the immense numbers of that little rodent
 always to be found in its pine forests.
 
 [75] In the beautiful language of the country's early conquerors,
 "Las Cumbres Espanolas," or "Las dos Hermanas" (The Two Sisters),
 and in the Ute tongue, "Wahtoya" (The Twins).
 
 [76] The house was destroyed by fire two or three years ago.

powered by social2s