One of the Old American Fur Company's trappers by the name of Frazier, as often told of him around the camp-fire, was one of those athletic men who could outrun, outjump, and throw down any man among the more than a hundred with whom he associated at the time. He was the best off-hand shot in the whole crowd, and possessed of a remarkably steady nerve. He met with his death in a curious way. Once when away up the Platte he with one of his companions were hunting for game in an aspen grove. Suddenly an immense grizzly bear came ambling along about fifty yards away, evidently unaware of his enemy, man, being near him. Frazier told his comrade to take to a tree, while he would behind one of the others and kill the beast. He raised his rifle, fired, and the bullet lodged just above the bear's eye. As the ball struck him, the animal seemed intuitively to get the direction from which it came, and started for Frazier. The aspens have a very smooth, slippery bark and are very difficult to climb. Frazier failed to get high enough to be out of reach of the dying and enraged bear, and in a few minutes was a mangled mass at the foot of the tree, both he and the bear dead.

The majority of people, probably, imagine that the white man learned the art of trapping from the Indian; but the converse is the case. The savages, long before their contact with the white man, silently crept along the banks of the creeks and, caching themselves in the brush on their margin, with a patience characteristic of the race, waited for the beaver to show himself in the shallow water, or crawl on the banks, when they killed him with their stone-pointed arrows. The process was a tedious one, and they earnestly desired to know of some other method of capturing the wary little animal, so necessary in their domestic economy. So to their intense satisfaction, when the white man came among them, they saw him walk boldly along the streams and place a curious instrument in the water, which caught the beaver and held him until the trapper was ready to take him out.

With their usual shyness the Indians watched the white man's method from the underbrush skirting the margin of the creeks, and when the trapper had left, they stole his trap and carried it off to their village. A long time elapsed before the savage learned how to use the trap which had so interested him. It was not until the white man taught him that he learned how to watch the beaver at work in the pale moonlight; how to know where the beaver-houses were, the proper method of placing the trap, its peculiar bait, and then to leave it to catch the beaver.

The following story was told many years ago by George P. Belden, and it is the second instance of Indian elopement that has come under the observation of the authors of this book. It occurred some time in the early '40's.

        The Ogallallas and Brules were once the most powerful tribes on the plains, and were particularly friendly. The chief of the Brules was an old and experienced warrior. The chief of the Ogallallas had a son whose name was Souk. The old Brule frequently noticed the young Ogallalla, and seemed mightily pleased with him. On one or two occasions he spoke to Souk encouragingly, and one day went so far as to invite him to visit his tribe, and spend a few days at his lodge. These visits were often repeated, and it was during one of them Souk met the daughter of his friend, who was the belle of her tribe, and, besides her great personal charms, was esteemed to be the most virtuous and accomplished young woman in the nation. It did not take long for her to make an impression on the heart of Souk, and soon both the young people found themselves over head and ears in love with each other.

        The Indian girl was proud of her lover, as well she might be, for he was only twenty-eight years of age, tall, handsome, good-tempered, and manly in his deportment. Besides these considerations in his favour, he was virtually the head of his tribe, and no warrior was more renowned for deeds of valour. A born chief, the idol of his aged father, prepossessing in his appearance, already the leader of his band and its chief warrior. He was just such a person as was likely to move the heart and excite the admiration of a young girl.

        Chaf-fa-ly-a was the only daughter of the Brule chief, and the spoiled pet of her father. She was tall, lithe, and agile as an antelope. She could ride the wildest steed in her father's herds, and no maiden in the tribe could shoot her painted bow so well, so daintily braid her hair, or bead moccasins as nicely as Chaf-fa-ly-a. Giving all the love of her passionate nature to Souk, he loved her with all the strength of his manly heart in return. Day after day the lovers lingered side by side, sat under the shade of the great trees by the clear-running brook, or hand in hand gathered wild flowers in the shadows of the hills.

        Sometimes Souk was at the village of his father, but he always made haste to excuse himself, and hurried back to the camp of the Brule chief. In truth he was never content, except when by the side of the bewitching Chaf-fa-ly-a. The old men knew of the growing attachment between their children, and seemed rather to encourage than to oppose it. Chaf-fa-ly-a was buoyantly happy, and a golden future seemed opening up before her. Souk often reflected how happy he would be when he and his darling were married; and frequently at night, when the stars were out, the young lovers would sit for hours and plan the future happiness of themselves and the people over whom they would rule.

        One day Souk returned to his father's camp, and formally notified him of his love for Chaf-fa-ly-a, and demanded her in marriage. The old chief listened attentively, and at the close of Souk's harangue rose and struck the ground three times with his spear, declaring that he knew of no reason why his son should not be made happy, and have Chaf-fa-ly-a to wife. The grateful Souk was so overjoyed, that, forgetting his position and the rank of his chief, he fell upon his neck, and, kissing him again and again, actually shed tears. Putting him kindly aside, the father, well knowing the impatience of young lovers, hastily summoned three of his most distinguished chiefs, and said to them, "Mount your swiftest horses! go to the camps of the Brule, and when you have come to him, say, Souk, the son of his old friend, loves his only daughter, Chaf-fa-ly-a, and that I demand her of him in marriage to my son. You will also say that, according to the ancient customs of our tribes, I will pay to him whatever presents he may demand for the maiden, and that it is my desire, the friendship long existing between ourselves and our people may be cemented by the marriage of our children."

        Bowing low, the chiefs retired, and were soon on their way to the Brule village, which was three days' journey distant. Rather than wait impatiently in the camp until the chiefs would return, Souk proposed to go on a short hunting excursion with some warrior friends to whom he could unbosom himself.

        Meantime the chiefs had proceeded on their errand, and on the evening of the third day caught sight of the Brule camp. They were hospitably received by the venerable chief, who did all in his power to make them comfortable after their fatiguing ride. On the following morning the chief assembled his counsellors, and, making a great dog-feast, heard the request of the ambassadors. When they had done speaking, the Brule rose and announced his consent to the marriage, saying he was delighted to know that his daughter was to be the wife of so brave and worthy a young man as the son of his friend. He then dismissed the chiefs, stating that he would shortly send an embassy to receive the promised presents, and complete the arrangements for the marriage of the young couple.

        When the chiefs returned to their camp and announced the result of their mission, there was great rejoicing, and Souk, who had cut his hunt short and returned before the chiefs, was now, perhaps, the happiest man in the world. There was still, however, one thing which greatly troubled him. He knew his father was very proud, and considered the honour of an alliance with his family so great that but few presents would be required to be made. On the other hand, the old Brule was exceedingly parsimonious, and, no doubt, would take this opportunity to enrich himself by demanding a great price for his daughter's hand.

        Determined not to wait the pending negotiations before seeing his sweetheart, Souk summoned a band of his young warriors, and, burning with love, set out for the Brule camp. It being the month of June, Souk knew the old chief would have removed from his winter encampment to his summer hunting-grounds and pasture, on the Lower Platte. This would require some seven or eight days' more travel, and carry him through a portion of the territory of his enemies; but love laughs at danger, and, selecting eight tried companions, he set out. The evening of the second day brought him to the border of his father's dominions, and, selecting a sheltered camp by the side of a little stream, they determined to rest their animals for a day before crossing the territory of the hostile Cheyennes.

        As soon as it was dark they saddled their horses, and, swimming the Upper Platte, set out to cross the enemy's lands. Their route lay in a southeasterly direction, and led them over a fine hilly country, almost destitute of wood, except in the deep valleys and narrow ravines. The sun had long passed the meridian, the horses had rested, and the travellers taken their midday meal, but as yet had seen nothing to indicate that man was anywhere in this vast region.

        The sun was fast going down, and they were endeavouring to reach a good camping-ground known to several of the party, when suddenly, as they were descending a mountain, they saw below them smoke curling up, and, in the distance, two objects which looked like ants on the plain. From their position they could not see the fires from whence the smoke arose, but the sight of it caused them hastily to dismount and lead their horses under shelter of the projecting rocks, that they might not be discovered.

        Two advanced on foot to reconnoitre, creeping cautiously round the base of the rocks, and then onward among fallen masses that completely screened them. At length they reached a point from which they beheld, about a half a mile below them, an encampment of over one hundred men. Three large fires were blazing, and while groups were gathered around them, others were picketing their horses, and evidently preparing to encamp for the night. Souk's men had not long been in their observatory when they saw two men riding furiously down the valley toward the camp, and they instantly surmised these were the two black spots they had seen on the plain, and that Souk and his party had been discovered. They were not long left in doubt, however, for as soon as the horsemen reached the camp they rode to the chief's lodge, commenced gesticulating wildly, and pointing toward the cliffs where Souk and his men were. A crowd gathered around the new-comers, and presently several were seen to run to their horses and commence saddling up. The scouts now hastily left their hiding-place, and hurried back to Souk, whom they informed of all that was occurring below.

        Not a moment was to be lost, and, ordering his men to mount, Souk turned up the mountain along the path he had just come. He knew he had a dangerous and wily enemy to deal with, ten times his own in numbers, and that it would require all his skill to elude them, or the greatest bravery to defeat them, should it become necessary to fight.

        Fortunately he knew a pass farther to the west, that was rarely used, and for this he pushed with all his might. On reaching the mountain top, and looking back, black objects could be seen moving rapidly up the valley, and they knew that the enemy was in pursuit of them. All night Souk toiled along, and, when the morning began to break, saw the pass he was seeking several miles ahead. Reaching the mountain's edge at sunrise, they dismounted and began the perilous descent into the gorge. In two hours it was accomplished, and they entered the sombre shadows of the great canyon. They had begun to feel safe, when suddenly the man in front reined up his horse and pointed to several pony tracks in the sand. Souk dismounted and examined them, and, on looking around, saw where the animals had been picketed, apparently, about two hours before.

        Could it be possible that the enemy had reached the pass before him, and were waiting to attack him higher up in the gorge? He could hardly credit it, and yet it must be so, for who else could be in the lonely glen. Recollecting that the canyon to the right would carry him into the great pass some ten miles higher up, he still hoped to get through before the enemy reached it, and, hastily mounting, they galloped furiously forward. They had come in sight of the great pass, when, just as they were about to enter it, they saw a man sitting on a horse a few hundred yards ahead of them, and directly in the trail. On observing the Ogallallas, the horseman gave the Cheyenne war-whoop, and, in a moment, a dozen other mounted men appeared in rear of the first.

        Grasping his spear, Souk shouted his war-whoop, and, ordering his men to charge, dashed down upon the enemy. Plunging his spear into the nearest foe, he drew his battle-axe and clove open the head of the one in the rear, and before his comrades could come up with him had unhorsed a third. A shout down the great canyon caused Souk to hurriedly look that way, when he saw about fifty warriors galloping toward him. He now knew he had reached the pass ahead of the main body, and encountered only the scouts of the Cheyennes. Ordering his men to push on up the pass to the great valley beyond, he, with his two companions, remained behind to cover their retreat. On coming to their dead and wounded warriors, the Cheyennes halted and held a conference, while Souk and his friends leisurely pursued their journey. In the gorge in which he then was, Souk knew ten men were as good as a hundred, and he was in no hurry to leave the friendly shelter of the rocks. Taking up a position behind a sharp butte, he fortified the place, and quietly waited for the Cheyennes. Hour after hour passed, but they did not appear. The shadows of evening were beginning to creep into the ravines, and several of Souk's party were anxious to quit their retreat and continue their journey, confident that the Cheyennes had returned to their camp; but the wily young Sioux told them to be patient, and he would inform them when it was time to go. The evening deepened into twilight, the moon rose over the peaks and stood overhead, indicating that it was midnight, but still Souk would not go. His men had begun to grumble, when suddenly a noise was heard in the gorge below, and presently voices and the tramp of horses could be distinguished. Souk ordered four of his men to mount and be ready to leap the rude rock breastworks when he gave them notice, and to cheer and shout as lustily as possible. He then lay down with the other four, and waited for the foe. To his delight he noticed, as the Cheyennes came up, many of them were dismounted and leading their ponies. They came within a few feet of the barricade before they perceived it, and then Souk and his comrades commenced a rapid discharge of arrows into their midst. Three or four shots had been fired before the Cheyennes knew what the matter was, or where the whizzing shafts came from. Then Souk shouted his battle-cry, and the four mounted Sioux, repeating it from behind the butte, dashed over the barricade and charged the enemy, who broke and fled in the utmost confusion down the gorge. In a moment Souk, with his remaining Sioux, was mounted and after them. The animals of the Cheyennes broke loose from some of the dismounted warriors before they could mount, and left them on foot. Several hid among the rocks, but Souk overtook and killed four. The pursuit was kept up for nearly five miles, when Souk turned back and hastily continued his journey to the Brule camp, where he arrived in safety on the evening of the seventh day.

        He was kindly received by the father of his prospective bride, and given a dozen fine lodges for himself and friends. The meeting between Souk and his sweetheart was as tender as that of lovers could be, and now, that they were once together, both were perfectly happy. Near the Brule encampment were some mountain vines covered with flowers, and here Souk and Chaf-fa-ly-a each day spent hour after hour in sweet communion with each other. The stream was dotted for miles with hundreds of richly painted teepees; thousands of horses and ponies were constantly to be seen grazing in the green valley, and scores of warriors in their gay and various-coloured costumes galloped to and fro among the villages. It was a pleasant sight at the home of the old Brule, and one that filled their young hearts with pride and joy, for all these herds and people were one day to be theirs.

        After lingering a month in the camp, the old Brule announced to Souk he was about to send the chiefs to receive the presents for Chaf-fa-ly-a's hand, and if the young man and his friends wished to return home it would be a favourable opportunity for them to do so. Souk took the hint and made preparations accordingly.

        By the advice of the old chief, the party took another route, and, although it was two days longer, it brought them in safety to the Ogallalla encampment.

        At Souk's request, his father immediately assembled the council, and the negotiations for Chaf-fa-ly-a's hand began. An aged Brule made the first speech, expatiating on the power of his chief, the richness of his tribe, and the beauty of Chaf-fa-ly-a. This was followed by an Ogallalla, who dwelt at length upon the power of his chief, his rank, and age, and upon the nobleness, bravery, and skill of Souk. Several other speeches were made on each side, in which the young man and woman were alternately praised, and the glory of their fathers extolled to the skies. The council then adjourned until the following day, the important point of the conference - the price of the lady's hand - not having been touched upon at all.

        Next day the conference continued, and toward evening the Brule chiefs, after having spoken a great deal, abruptly demanded fifty horses and two hundred ponies as the price for Chaf-fa-ly-a.

        The friends of Souk were a good deal surprised at the extravagant demand of the Brule, it being about three times more than they expected to give. Souk's father could not conceal his indignation, and, saying he would give but twenty-five horses and one hundred ponies, adjourned the council, directing the Brule chiefs to return home and inform their venerable head of his decision.

        Souk returned to his lodge with a heavy heart, for he clearly foresaw trouble, and that his love, like all other "true loves," was not to run smoothly. Summoning his friends, he desired them to make as many presents as possible to the Brule chiefs, and before they started he added five horses of his own, hoping by this liberality to secure their good-will. He also caused them to be secretly informed, that if they could induce the Brule chief to accept his father's offer, he would, on the day of his marriage, present to each of them a fine horse.

        Before leaving the Brule camp, Souk and Chaf-fa-ly-a had vowed a true lover's vow, that, come what would of the council, they would be faithful to each other, and die rather than break their plighted troth. Souk had also promised his betrothed he would return in the fall and make her his wife, with or without the consent of the tribes.

        As the summer months wore away, and no word was received from the Brule camp, Souk became each day more restless, and finally, calling together a few friends, started once more for the Brule's home.

        He was received most cordially by the old chief, and, as before, given most hospitable entertainment. Often, however, he thought he detected sadness on the old man's face, and on questioning Chaf-fa-ly-a as to the cause of her father's trouble, the poor girl burst into tears and confessed she was about to be sacrificed for her father's good. She said that the Cheyenne chief, with whom her father had long been at war, had asked her hand, and promised, on receiving her as one of his wives, to cease from warring with the Sioux. Her father, actuated by a desire to do his people and friends good, had, after the refusal of Souk's father to furnish the required presents, given the Cheyenne a promise, and they were to be married the following year, when the grass grew green on the earth. The old chief preferred greatly to have Souk for a son-in-law, but he wished also to serve his people and old friends. The treaty was to be binding on the Cheyennes, for the Ogallallas as well as the Brules, and therefore Souk and his father would be greatly benefited by her marriage to the Cheyennes.

        This astounding intelligence came near upsetting Souk's better judgment, and for a while he was nearly demented. Taking the fond girl in his arms, he swore, rather than see her the wife of the hated Cheyenne, he would spill both his own and her blood, and they would go to the happy hunting-grounds together. Chaf-fa-ly-a begged him to be calm, and she would make her escape with him and fly to his people. It was agreed that early in the spring, before the encampment moved to its summer pastures, Souk, with a chosen band, should come over the mountains, and in the confusion, when the tribe was on its march, they would seize a favourable opportunity to escape into the mountains, from which they could make their way to Souk's father and implore his protection.

        Cautioning him, even by a look, not to betray any knowledge of her engagement to the Cheyenne, the lovers parted, and next day Souk set out for his home, apparently utterly indifferent as to the result of the negotiations for his marriage.

        Slowly the winter months dragged along, and to the impatient Souk they seemed interminable; but at length the water began to come down from the mountains, and the ice grew soft on the streams. As soon as he saw these indications of returning spring, Souk called his bravest friends together and set out from the camp. He did not tell any one where he was going, and it was only when they began to ascend the mountains that they suspected they were on the way to the Brule camp. In eight days they descended the plain into the old chief's home.

        He was greatly astonished to see Souk, for he believed it impossible at that season of the year for any one to cross the mountain. However, he gave Souk and his friends a hearty welcome, and again provided them with everything they needed.

        Next day the chief rode down the river to prepare the camps for moving, and Souk and Chaf-fa-ly-a, being left alone in the camp, had all the opportunity they desired for laying their plans. Chaf-fa-ly-a said the camp would move in four days, and that in the meantime they must make every preparation for their flight. There was one horse in the herd, she said, that was the swiftest in the tribe, and he must be either killed or she would ride him. Her father had always objected to her mounting this animal because he was so vicious; but, now that he was away, it would be a good time for her to ride the animal, and show to her father that she was a better horsewoman than he thought. Once upon him, she could pretend a fondness for the beast, and thus secure him to ride on the trip. Souk agreed to all she said, and the wild horse was at once sent for. He reared and plunged fearfully, but at length he was conquered, and Chaf-fa-ly-a mounted his back. Souk rode by her side, and they galloped down the river to meet the old chief, who they knew must by that time be returning homeward, as it was nearly evening. They soon met him, and when he saw his daughter on the wild horse, he was greatly surprised, but not displeased, for all Indians are proud of their horsemanship. Cautioning her to be very careful and hold him fast, Souk, the old chief, and Chaf-fa-ly-a rode back to the village together.

        Next day Chaf-fa-ly-a again rode the wild horse, and in the evening slyly extracted a promise from her father that she should be permitted to ride him when the village changed its camping-ground.

        On the morning of the fourth day the herds were gathered, the teepees pulled down, and the village commenced its march to the summer pastures. The men had got the herds fairly on the way, and the sun was just tipping the icy peaks of the mountains, when Souk and Chaf-fa-ly-a mounted their steeds and galloped swiftly forward. Chaf-fa-ly-a rode the wild horse, and Souk was mounted on a splendid stallion. All of Souk's warriors had been sent the day before to Pole Creek, a day in advance, under the pretence of hunting.

        Riding on until they reached the head of the herd, they were about to pass, when the herders informed the young couple that it was the chief's orders no one should go ahead of the herd and they could proceed no farther. Giving the men a pleasant reply, Chaf-fa-ly-a said she was only trying the mettle of her horse, and at once turned back. They had gone but a little distance when they entered the sand-hills, and, making a wide circuit, came out far in advance of the herd. They were now on the banks of a little lake, and, giving their horses full rein, sped by its clear waters.

        Long before night the young people reached Pole Creek and found Souk's warriors. He hastily explained to them what had happened, and, charging them to remain, and if possible draw the enemy from the trail, Souk and his sweetheart again set forward.

        One of the warriors who remained behind was to personate a woman, and, if possible, make the old chief's people think he was Chaf-fa-ly-a. Souk said he knew a pass through the Black Hills that would bring them to his father's country two days sooner than by any other route, and, although the way was somewhat dangerous, they must take all risks and depend on the swiftness of their horses for their escape.

        All night they rode on, and at sunrise halted on the top of a high hill to breakfast on cold roast antelope and wild artichokes. Chaf-fa-ly-a's horse bore her light weight without seeming fatigued, but Souk was heavy and his steed began to show signs of distress.

        Far in the distance they could see the blue line of the gap that still lay between them and safety; and, hurriedly refreshing themselves from a spring of pure water, they again set out, hoping to reach it before night.

        It was near sundown when they began to ascend the high ridge that led into the gap, and they had just reached the crest when Chaf-fa-ly-a, scanning the valley below them, descried horsemen following on their trail. They had hoped they were not yet discovered, and under cover of night might still reach the pass in safety, but the horsemen soon divided, and one half went up the valley, while the others continued to follow the trail. Souk knew in a moment that those who went up the valley were going to head them off, and, although they had nearly double the distance to ride, their road was comparatively smooth, while Souk's lay along precipices and over crags. Calling to Chaf-fa-ly-a that they must now ride for their lives, Souk whipped up the horses, and they began to climb rapidly the rugged pathway.

        All night they pushed along, and at daylight found themselves quite near the pass. Souk scanned the valley through the hazy light, but could detect no traces of the Brule people. He began to hope that they had not yet arrived, and spoke encouragingly to Chaf-fa-ly-a, who, pale with fatigue, now sat upon her horse like a statue. Descending into the deep canyon, Souk directed Chaf-fa-ly-a to ride rapidly for the pass, while he followed close in the rear, ready to attack the enemy that might appear. They had gone about half a mile, and were just entering the jaws of the great gorge, when a cry of distress rose from the lips of the girl, and, looking to his right, Souk saw about twenty Brules rapidly closing on the pass. The noble girl whipped up her horse, and, darting forward like an arrow, shot through the pass full fifty yards ahead of the foremost Brule warrior.

        Souk grasped his battle-axe, and, reaching the pass just as the first Brule came up, struck his horse on the head, dropping him on the ground and sending the rider rolling over the rocks. The second warrior, seeing the fate of his companion, swerved his steed to one side and strove to pass Souk, but he quickly drew his bow and drove an arrow through the horse behind the fore-shoulder, causing him to drop to his knees and fling his rider on the ground.

        The lovers were now ahead of all of their pursuers, and, urging their gallant steeds to their utmost, they soon had the satisfaction of hearing the shouts of the Brules dying in the distance behind them. In an hour they halted, refreshed themselves, and rested their horses. In the distance they could see the Brules halting by a stream, and apparently resting also. The lovers were the first to move on, and, when once in the saddle, they lost no time.

        It was past noon when Souk saw some objects several miles off to the left, and soon made them out to be part of the Brules, who were making for the river, to cut him off from the ford. The race was a long one, but the lovers won it, and crossed in safety.

        On the third day they entered the great mountains and drew near the borders of the country of Souk's father. At sunset they crossed a little creek, which Souk pointed out to Chaf-fa-ly-a as the boundary of the Ogallalla lands. Riding forward a dozen miles, they halted in a wild, mountainous region, and, for the first time since starting, prepared to take some rest. Souk comforted Chaf-fa-ly-a with the assurance that another day would take them to his home, and that they were now well out of danger.

        A sheltered spot was selected for their camp, near a stream, and while Souk gathered some sticks to make a small fire, his bride walked down to the water's edge. He saw her turn up the stream, and in a moment more she was lost from view. The fire was soon lighted, and Souk busy preparing the evening meal, when suddenly he heard a fearful shriek at no great distance.

        Seizing his battle-axe, he rushed toward the spot from whence the sound proceeded, but could see no one. Calling the name of his bride, he dashed forward through the thicket, but could see or hear nothing of her. He called loudly again, but received no response. The silence was agonizing, and he listened for several moments, when he heard the crackling of some branches in the distance. He rushed frantically to the spot, but his career was quickly stopped by an object on the ground. It was the torn and now bloody mantle of his beloved. The mystery was in part explained - she had retired to this secluded spot to offer up a prayer to the Great Spirit for their safe deliverance, and, as was her custom, had taken off her mantle and spread it on the earth. On this she had knelt, when a grizzly bear, that terrible beast of the Rocky Mountains, had rushed upon her and killed her before she could utter a second cry. His huge paws were deeply imprinted on the sand, and the trail along which he had dragged his victim was distinctly visible. Souk, taking the rent garment, plunged into the brushwood.

        He crossed the thicket in several directions, but in vain; it was dark, and he could not follow the trail. He returned to the camp in a frame of mind bordering on despair. Raising his hand to heaven, he swore by the great Wa-con Ton-ka to track the beast to his den and slay him, or perish in the conflict. It seemed to him an age before the light appeared, but at length the gray streamers began to streak the east, and Souk was on the trail. Again and again he lost it, but the growing light enabled him to find it, and he pushed on. He found the lair half a mile out, where the beast had eaten a part of his beloved, and, as he looked at the blood-stains on the ground, his brain seemed about to burst from his skull. Pieces of garments were left on some of the bushes where the bear had dragged the body along. Far up into the mountains Souk followed the trail, but at length lost it among the rocks. All day he hunted for it in vain, and when night came he returned to his camp. He expected the enemy had come up during his absence, but he found the horses where he had left them, and the camp undisturbed. How he wished the Brules would come and kill him. He cursed himself, and wished to die, but could not. Then he slept, how long he knew not, but the sun was far up in the heavens and shining brightly when he awoke.

        Mounting one of the horses, and leading the other, he started at full speed. He wished to leave as quickly as possible, and forever, the cursed spot that had witnessed the destruction of all his earthly happiness. It afforded him some relief to ride fast, and he dashed onward, he neither knew nor cared where. His well-trained steed took the road for him, and as the evening shadows were beginning to creep over the valley, he saw far ahead the teepees of his father's village. He lashed his horse and rode like a madman into the town. His faithful warriors had returned, but they hardly knew their beloved young chief, so changed was he. At the door of his father's lodge his brave horse fell dead, and Souk rolled over on the ground insensible.

        He was carefully lifted up and laid on his own bed, where for many days he remained in a raging fever, at times delirious, and calling wildly on the name of Chaf-fa-ly-a. Little by little he recovered, and at length went about the village again, but he hardly ever spoke to any one; and for years the Brules and Ogallallas never visited each other.

In the early days the celebrated Kit Carson and Lucien B. Maxwell trapped on every tributary of the Platte and Yellowstone, long before they joined General Fremont's first exploring expedition as principal scouts and guides in company with Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, and others.

In the early '40's, Kit Carson as the leader, with a hundred subordinates, organized a party of trappers to operate upon the Yellowstone and its many tributaries. The Blackfeet, upon whose ground the men were to encroach, were bitter enemies of the whites, and it was well known that serious difficulties with those savages could not be avoided, so Carson prepared his plans for considerable fighting. He assigned one half his followers to the work of trapping exclusively, while the remainder were to attend to the camp duties and vigilantly guard it.

As Carson, on many previous occasions, had had tussles with the hostile Blackfeet, he was not at all disinclined to meet them again on their own ground; and as he felt doubly strong with such a large party of old mountaineers, he rather hoped that the savages would attack him, as he wished to settle some ancient scores with them.

Carson was, however, disappointed that season, and he could not at first understand why the Blackfeet had left him so severely alone; but he found out, later, that the smallpox had decimated them, and they were only too glad to retire to their mountain fastnesses, completely humbled, and hide in terror hoping to escape further attacks of the dreaded disease.

Carson and his party spent the winter in that region with the friendly Crows, passing a delightful season, with an abundance of food, living in the comfortable buffalo-skin lodges of the tribe, and joining in their many amusements.

While there was no lack of provisions for the party in the village of the kind-hearted Crows, their horses suffered greatly. The earth was covered with deep snow, and Carson and his trappers were kept busy every day gathering willow twigs and cottonwood bark to sustain the life of the animals. Great herds of buffalo, driven to the locality by the severity of the weather, and depending, too, upon the timber for their sustenance, made it even harder work to supply the horses.

On the opening of spring, Carson and his party commenced to trap again, and returning to the fruitful country of the hostile Blackfeet, they learned that the tribe had completely recovered from the visitation of the smallpox of the previous year. Some bands were camped near the trapping-ground, and were in excellent condition, spoiling for a fight with the whites.

Upon discovering the state of affairs, Carson and five of his most determined men set out on a reconnoitring expedition. They found the site of the Blackfeet village, and, hurrying back to camp, a party of forty-three was selected, with Carson as leader. The remainder were to follow on with their baggage, and if it should become necessary when they came up to the savages to assist them; Carson and his brave followers marched ahead, eager for a fight.

It did not require a very long time to overtake the savages, who had commenced to move their village; and making a sudden charge among them, Carson and his men killed ten of the savages at the first fire. The Blackfeet immediately rallied and began to retreat in good order. The whites were in excellent spirits over the result of the first dash and followed it up for more than three hours; then, their ammunition running low, their firing became less rapid, and they had to exercise the greatest caution. At this juncture the savages suspected the reason that the white men had moderated their attack, and, with most demoniacal yells, they rallied, and charged with such force that Carson and his men were obliged to retreat.

Now, in the charge of the Indians, the trappers could use their pistols with great effect, and the savages were again driven back. Again they rallied, however, and in such increased numbers that they forced Carson and his men once more to retreat.

During the last rally of the Indians, the horse of one of the trappers was killed, and fell with its whole weight on its rider. Six warriors immediately rushed forward to scalp the unfortunate man. Seeing his helpless condition, Carson rushed to his assistance, jumped from his horse, placed himself in front of his fallen companion, and shouting at the same instant for his men to rally around him, shot the foremost warrior dead with his unerring rifle.

Several of the trappers quickly responded to Carson's call, and the remaining five savages were compelled to dash off, without the coveted scalp of the fallen white man, but only two of them ever regained their places in the ranks of their brother braves, for three well-directed shots dropped them dead in their tracks.

Carson's horse had run away, so, as his comrade was now saved, he mounted behind one of the men who had come when he called for help, and rode back to the rest of his command. Then, being thoroughly exhausted, both parties ceased firing by mutual consent, each waiting for the other to renew hostilities.

While indulging in this armistice, the other trappers came up with the camp equipage. The savages showed no fear at this addition to the force of the enemy, but, calmly covering themselves among the detached rocks a little distance from the battle-ground, quietly awaited the expected onslaught.

With the fresh supply his companions had brought, Carson cautiously advanced on foot with re-enforcements to dislodge the savages from their cover. The battle was renewed with increased vigour, but the whites eventually scattered the savages in all directions.

It was a complete victory for the trappers, as they had killed a great many of the Blackfeet warriors, and wounded a larger number, while their own loss aggregated but three men killed and only a few severely wounded.

Now that the battle was ended, the trappers camped on the ground where the bloody engagement occurred, buried the dead, tended the wounded, and, from that time on, pursued their vocation throughout the whole Blackfeet country without fear of molestation, so salutary had been the chastisement of the impudent savages. The latter took good care, ever afterward, to keep out of the way of the intrepid Carson, having had enough of him to last the rest of their lives.

During the battle with Carson's trappers, the Blackfeet had sent their women and children on in advance; and, when the engagement had ended, and the discomfited warriors, so much reduced in number, returned without one scalp, the big skin lodge, which had been erected for the prospective war-dance, was occupied by the wounded savages, and the hatred for the whites among the tribe was intensified to the last degree of bitterness.

After the season's ending, which had been very successful, Carson engaged himself as hunter, at the fort of the American Fur Company on the South Platte; and as game of all kinds - deer, elk, and antelope - was abundant, the duty was a delightful one.

The following spring, Carson, in conjunction with Bridger, Baker, and other famous plainsmen, trapped on all the affluents of the Platte, and camped for the following winter in the Blackfeet country, without seeing any of his enemies until spring had again made its rounds. He and his men then discovered that they were near one of the Blackfeet's greatest strongholds.

Upon this forty men, with Carson as the leader, were chosen to give them battle. They found the Indians, to the number of several hundred, and charged upon them. They met with a brave resistance, and the battle continued until darkness put an end to the fight, when both whites and savages retired. At the first sign of dawn Carson and his party prepared for a renewal of the conflict, but not an Indian was to be seen. They had fled, taking away with them their dead and wounded.

Carson and his followers returned to their camp and held a council of war, at which it was decided that as the band they had whipped would report the affair to the chiefs of the several villages, the terrible loss they had sustained would inspire all the warriors to make a united effort to wipe out the trappers. The savages knew where their camp was established, so it would be wise to prepare for another grand battle on the same ground, by looking to their defences. To that end sentinels were posted on a lofty hill near by, breastworks were thrown up under Carson's supervision, and the utmost precaution taken to guard against a surprise.

One morning the sentinel on the top of the mountain announced by signals that the Indians were on the move; but the little fortification was already completed, and the anxious trappers coolly awaited the approach of the savages.

Slowly the redskins in full war-paint gathered around the sequestered camp, and more than a thousand warriors had congregated within half a mile of the trappers' breastwork in three days.

Dressed in their fancy bonnets, and hideously bedaubed with yellow and vermilion streaks across their foreheads and on each cheek, armed with bows, tomahawks, and long lances, they presented a formidable-looking front to the small number of whites. The trappers kept cool, however; every man clutched his rifle, determined to sell his life only at fearful cost to the confident savages.

They commenced one of their horrible war-dances right in sight and hearing of the trappers, and at dawn the following day they advanced toward the little fortification, carefully prepared for a concerted attack.

Carson cautioned his men to reserve their fire until the Indians were near enough to make sure that every shot would count; but the savages, seeing how effectively the trappers had intrenched themselves, retired after firing a few harmless shots, and went into camp a mile distant. Finally they separated into two bands, leaving the whites a breathing-spell. The latter were well aware an encounter must necessarily be of a most desperate character.

The Indians had evidently recognized Carson, who had so frequently severely punished them, and they made no further attempt to molest the trappers, much to the relief of the beleaguered men.

Jim Cockrell,[73] as he was known in the mountains, was one of the earliest of the old trappers. He left his home in Missouri in the spring of 1822, and started for the heart of the Rocky Mountains, with a single packhorse to carry his camp equipage, and a single riding-horse. He trapped by himself for more than two years. In a short time that terrible loneliness which comes to all men, for man is a gregarious animal, was experienced in all its horrors by this isolated trapper. Like all men of his class at that time, he was exceedingly superstitious. He wanted somebody to talk to, and in the absence of a possibility of finding one of his own kind, his greatest desire was for a dog, a true friend under all circumstances. He says that he prayed long and earnestly for the fulfilment of his wish. To his surprise on awaking one morning from the night's sleep he saw a dog lying on his robes alongside of him. Remote from all civilization and far from any Indian camp, he never, to the day of his death, had the slightest idea how the dog came to him; but no one could ever disabuse his mind of his belief that Providence had answered his appeal.

The youthful trapper avoided the Indians as much as possible, for, tenderfoot as he was at first, he knew well that they would harass him in every possible way, in order to drive him from a region which was their elysium. He found it an easy matter, after he became acquainted with their habits, to keep out of their sight. In a short time, also, he was under a sort of protection of Peg Leg Smith, who lived with his Indian wife near Soda Springs, now in Idaho.

James Cockrell was over six feet high, very hospitable, generous and kind to friends, but decidedly outspoken to his enemies. After having accumulated some money by trapping, he returned to Missouri, lived upon a fine farm, and died at a ripe old age.

Peg Leg Smith was a famous trapper, and after marrying a squaw of the Shoshone tribe, who proved to be a very efficient partner in preparing the pelts of the animals he had caught, he made a great deal of money.

He was very fond of whiskey and generally full of it, particularly while remaining in the settlements, and would have his fun if he had to make it for himself. In the early '30's, Peg Leg Smith came down from his mountain home, sold his season's trapping, then put up at the Nolan House at Independence, Missouri, for a general good time. In a very few hours he was drunk, and remained in that condition for some time. After he had been at the hotel a week, the clerk put his bill under the door of his room, simply to let him know the amount of his account. When Smith saw it he determined to have some fun out of it. He went down to the office apparently in a perfect rage, and holding the account up to the clerk, said he was grossly insulted; "here's this paper stuck under my door, and it's one of the greatest insults that I have ever received." Smith kept on talking in this wild strain for a few moments, until he arrested the attention of every one in the bar-room. The poor clerk tried to pacify him, but, failing completely, sent for Mr. Nolan, the proprietor, who, coming in, tried to reason with Smith, but all in vain. Finally, Smith in great indignation called for his horse. It was a fine animal, as he always rode the best that could be procured. Upon this demand the landlord told him to pay his bill and he could have his horse. He went back to his room, procured his gun, and started for the stable, which was about fifty yards from the house. The hostler had already been ordered not to let him have the animal and to lock the stable door. Peg Leg on reaching the stable demanded his horse, but he was refused. He raised his gun and shot the lock all to pieces. The fellows who were looking on screamed with laughter and made fun, greatly to the mortification of Nolan. Smith then told the hostler to take good care of his horse, and, his apparent indignation changing to a smile, he walked back to the house. Then he invited every one up to the bar and spent twenty or thirty dollars before he left for his room.[74]