[1] This John Coulter was the first white man to see and describe the wonders of what is now the National Park. His account, however, was received as a frontier lie, and the truth of his statements were not verified until long after the hardy adventurer's death.

[2] Fort Osage, on the Missouri River, was on the site of the present town of Sibley, where the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad crosses that stream.

[3] John Day was a remarkable man. His life was full of wonderful adventures. He became insane while on this expedition of Stuart's, and was sent back to Astoria, but shortly afterwards he died there. The well-known John Day's River was so called in his honour.

[4] From an inspection of the map which accompanied Stuart's march, this stream was evidently the headwater of the North Fork of the Platte; but he was not aware of the fact.

[5] Grand Island in the Platte River was thus originally named by the early trappers and voyageurs, the majority of whom were French Canadians.

[6] See Astoria, by Washington Irving.

[7] This was not Kit Carson. The great frontiersman did not make his advent in the mountains until years afterward.

[8] An Indian vapour-bath, or sweating-house, is a square six or eight feet deep, usually built against a river bank, by damming up the other three sides with mud, and covering the top completely, excepting an opening about two feet wide. The bather gets into the hole, taking with him a number of stones that have been heated, and a vessel filled with water. After seating himself he begins to pour the water on the hot stones, until the steam generated is sufficient to answer his purpose. When he has perspired freely, he goes out and plunges in the stream, the colder the water the better.

[9] Rose lived with the Crows many years, became a great man among them, could speak their language fluently. He was a giant, and fearless to recklessness, and by his deeds of daring became one of the first braves of the tribe. At one time, in a desperate fight with the Blackfeet, he shot down the first savage who opposed him, and with the war-club of his victim killed four others. His name among the Crows was "Che-ku-kaats," or the man who killed five. His knowledge of the country was marvellous, and some years after his adoption by the tribe, he was the principle guide and interpreter for Fitzpatrick and Sublette, who conducted a trapping expedition sent across the continent by General Ashley. How he died is unknown; one rumour says from his licentious habits, another that he was killed by some of his adopted brethren. He was a heroic vagabond, but the redeeming feature of his life was that he taught the Crows to cultivate the friendship of the whites, a policy which that tribe observed for years.

[10] See Washington Irving's Astoria.

[11] He was the son of an Iroquois hunter, who had been cruelly murdered by the Blackfeet on a small stream below the mountains which still bears his name.

[12] In 1820 Major Stephen H. Long, of the United States army, commanded an expedition through the Platte Valley and beyond, under the direction of the War Department. As its object was purely scientific, and its details uninteresting to the general reader, it is omitted here.

[13] Captain Bonneville attained the rank of colonel, was retired in 1861, and died on the 12th of June, 1878.

[14] The Black Fork of Green River is in the southwest corner of the state of Wyoming.

[15] The name "Long-Knife" was applied by the Indians to the command of Lewis and Clarke when they crossed the continent in 1804-5, and it has remained as a name for the whites ever since.

[16] A keg.

[17] Bancroft.

[18] Captain Stuart Van Vliet, U.S.A.

[19] In reciting the preparations for the impending war on the part of the Mormons, the hardships of the United States troops, and other incidents relating to the troubles in Utah Territory, the authors of this volume quote freely from Bancroft, Senate and House Democrats of the Thirty-third Congress, as well as reports of the War Department.

[20] Taylor was captured by the United States troops about sixteen miles from Fort Bridger, and the letter of instruction found on his person.

[21] The remains of those dams and breastworks could be seen for many years afterward, by travellers on the trains of the Union Pacific Railroad which passed through the canyon.

[22] He took refuge in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River; his hiding-place was three miles from any possible pass, and he kept a faithful adherent constantly on guard. When any one was seen approaching the pass, Lee was immediately signalled and forthwith repaired to a cave, where he remained until it was discovered whether the intruder was friend or foe. If not a friend, he kept to his cave until the party had left, then returned to his house. Lee followed this life for five or six years, until he became so weary of dodging, and running from supposed enemies, that he finally returned to Salt Lake City. I saw his cave and house some years ago when, in company with General N. A. Miles and others, I made a pleasure trip to the Grand Canyon. - W. F. CODY.

[23] See Bancroft's Pacific States.

[24] Washington E. Hinman.

[25] The present Julesburg, until a few years ago, was called "Denver Junction"; the old town was situated a mile west on the opposite side of the river, and the Julesburg of 1867 was five miles farther west, north of the Platte, and is now known as Weir.

[26] Senator Gwinn espoused the cause of the Southern Confederacy, and lost his wonderful prestige and influence in California, as well as a fortune, in his fealty to his native state, Mississippi. In 1866 he was created Duke of Sonora by Maximilian, in the furtherance of his visionary scheme of western empire, but died soon afterwards.

[27] Known throughout the West as "Pony Bob."

[28] So called because the trail ran through a canyon where the Sweetwater reached from wall to wall, and had to be crossed three times in a short distance.

[29] "Cayuse" means horse in some Indian dialects.

[30] Cy Warman vouches for this story in his Frontier Stories . Copyright by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898.

[31] Related to Harriet MacMurphy (to whom we are indebted for this truthful account) by Mrs. Elton Beckstead, who at the age of thirteen was Jules' wife and saw her husband murdered.

[32] The child-wife does not tell (perhaps never knew) that Slade nailed one of her husband's ears to the door of the Pony Express station, and wore the other for several weeks as a watch-charm.

[33] Mr. Creighton died of paralysis in 1874, and his widow endowed a college named for him.

[34] Major John Burke thus briefly in a biographical sketch of these men tells of their antecedents: "Russell was a Green Mountain boy, who before his majority had gone West to grow up with the country, and after teaching a three months' school on the frontier of Missouri, hired himself to an old merchant of Lexington at thirty dollars to keep books. . . . Alexander Majors was a son of Kentucky frontier mountain parentage, his father a colleague and friend of Daniel Boone. William Waddell, of Virginian ancestry, emigrants to the Blue Grass region of the same state as Majors, was bold enough for any enterprise, and able to fill any niche the West demanded."

[35] This stream was named by Fremont on his second expedition of exploration to the regions of the then unknown "Far West."

[36] The initial starting-point of the stage line was Leavenworth, on the Missouri, but after a few months it was changed to Atchison.

[37] This was the route of the Pony Express which was inaugurated some years afterward.

[38] Ben Holliday was one of those wonderful characters developed by a life of adventure and danger, having been nurtured amid the most startling incidents of the frontier. He was born near the old Blue Lick battlefield. At seventeen he was Colonel Doniphan's courier. When only twenty-eight years old he entered Salt Lake Valley with fifty wagonloads of goods, and was endorsed by Brigham Young as being worthy of the confidence of his people. Ten years later he was the head of the Overland Route; at forty-five the owner of sixteen steamers on the Pacific Ocean, with an immense trade to Central America, China, and Japan.

[39] Near the station of Ogallala, on the Union Pacific Railroad.

[40] The unfrocked monk, Geudeville, who travelled extensively in Canada, and published in London, in 1703, his New Voyages to North America, under the nom de plume of Baron La Hontan. It is doubted how far this jolly soldier and bon vivant travelled west. He had served at various points in the interior, and leaves no reason to doubt his presence, at various times, at what was Fort Gratiot, Michilimackinac, Green Bay, and other points in the region of the Upper Lakes. It is the opinion of the historians, however, that he went no farther than Green Bay. There can be but little question of the character of the fiction he attempted to palm off on his readers. His work is a literary curiosity, unexcelled in bibliography, for its bold assumption in attempting to impose on a credulous age a tale of fancied adventures and fictitious observation. He was a veritable Baron Munchausen.

[41] Bancroft.

[42] Although very rare indeed, among all other tribes, it was the leading physical characteristic with the Mandans, a nation long since extinct, who occupied the region at the mouth of the Yellowstone.

[43] This band was known as the Arikaras - not the Pawnees proper.

[44] See Long's Expedition and Schoolcraft's Indian Tribes .

[45] The proper designation of this numerous tribe is Dakota, meaning allied; the word "Sioux," although difficult to trace to its proper origin, is generally conceded to be a nickname - one of reproach given to them by their ancient enemies east of the Mississippi.

[46] A common game among the savages. One party to the game takes a pebble or small bullet in the curve of both his hands. After he has tossed it about for a few seconds, he swiftly holds them apart, and if his opponent can guess which hand the pebble or stone is in, he wins; if not, he loses. Immense amounts are frequently wagered in this game, for the North American Indian is an inveterate gambler.

[47] The name owes its origin to the practice of this tribe scarring the left arm, crosswise, a custom which was kept up until a few years ago.

[48] It is a fact that the Comanches and Shoshones, though living a thousand miles apart, with hostile tribes between them, speak exactly the same language, and call themselves by the same general name. They have, however, lost all tradition of having once formed one nation.

[49] As in some instances the medicine-men, so called, are really the doctors of the tribe, and as "medecin" is French for doctor, the early French voyageurs gave this term to these mystery-men, by which they have been known ever since.

[50] The name of the Crows is not the correct appellation of the tribe. They have never yet acknowledged the name, though as such are officially recognized by the United States government. It was conferred upon them in the early days by the interpreters, either through ignorance of the language, or for the purpose of ridicule. The name which they themselves acknowledge, and they recognize no other, is in their language Ap-sah-ro-kee, which signifies the Sparrow Hawk people.

[51] Beckwourth was a mulatto born in Virginia in 1798. He was of medium height, of strong muscular power, quick of apprehension, very active, and one of the greatest warriors the Crow Nation has ever produced. Around his neck he wore a perforated bullet, with a large oblong bead on each side of it, secured by a thread of sinew. He wore this amulet during the whole time he was chief of the Crows. He was one of the few honest Indian traders of whom history gives any account.

[52] Disfigurement of the body and dismemberment of the fingers, as an observance of mourning, was common among all Indian tribes. Sometimes upon the death of a warrior in battle his horse was cut and slashed, "to make him feel sorry for the loss of his master."

[53] During the sessions of the Peace Commission at Fort Laramie in 1866, Beckwourth was sent on a mission to consult with the chiefs of the Crows. He was taken sick in one of their villages and died there, probably from old age rather than disease.

[54] The Sioux bury their dead on platforms erected seven or eight feet above the ground.

[55] For the best and most authentic collection of Indian Folk-lore, see George Bird Grinnel's admirable volumes on the subject.

[56] Bancroft.

[57] This account is taken from files of the Denver newspapers published at the time of the massacre.

[58] Ouray did not profess the Catholic religion, despite his early training. He believed in the Ute god, and in a happy hunting-ground, and also in a bad place, where wicked people cannot meet their friends.

[59] There is more in this legend of a primitive, superstitious people, from an ethnological view of its details, than would be suspected at first. The story of the sacrifice and the medicine-man wrapping himself in the bloody hide of the buffalo, the use of the pine as fuel, and the prostration of the multitude, while communion is held with the Great Spirit, is the same ceremony that was observed by the Druids, and religious peoples before them. This peculiar offering of blood was common to the Indian who in the early years of the century occupied a portion of the territory east of the Mississippi. It will be remembered by the student of American history that when the war of 1812-1815 was pending, the celebrated Tecumseh and his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, called the tribes together, in order to induce them to side with the English. At that famous council they sacrificed a spotless red heifer on a high altar, and the medicine-man wrapped the bloody skin around him, while all the savages present prostrated themselves and communed with the Great Spirit to know what to do. The result was that Tecumseh's plans were defeated, for the Indians were told by the Great Spirit to side with the Americans.

In the eleventh Book of the AEneid, Virgil relates the same observance on Mount Soracte, where there was a temple dedicated to Apollo, and a sacrifice made annually to the god, who represented the sun. Arruns in his prayer says: -

        Apollo, thou of gods The mightiest, who in guard the sacred mount Soracte holdest, and whom first of all We worship, unto whom are heaped the fires The piney branches make, and whom adore Thy votaries, as we walk, by pious zeal Sustained, on burning coals.

[60] The White Chief, by George P. Belden. Edited by General James S. Brisbin. Published by C. F. Vent; Cincinnati, 1872.

[61] Niobrara.

[62] The Southern Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Arapahoes waged an unrelenting war along the whole line of the border from Nebraska to Texas, under the leadership of the dreaded Sa-tan-ta.

[63] Jack Stead was a runaway sailor boy. He was on the Peacock when it was wrecked years ago near the mouth of the Columbia River. He lived for years in the Rocky Mountains, and was the first man to report to the United States government the Mormon preparations to resist it. He had a Cheyenne wife, was a good story-teller, and loved whiskey.

[64] William Frederick Cody ("Buffalo Bill"), the scout, guide, and Indian fighter, was born on the 26th of February, 1846, in a primative log-cabin in the backwoods of Iowa. In 1852, the family removed to Kansas, where the father of young Cody, two years later, became a martyr to the Free State cause. From the moment the family was thus deprived of its support, the only boy, though a mere child, at the age of nine years, commenced his career. As a collaborator in the preparation of this work, he has been prevailed upon to relate all the incidents of his life, so far as they confined to the region of which this volume treats. [E-text editor's note: They encompass chapters 16 and 17 in their entirety. In the original book, every paragraph appeared in quotation marks.] For his further adventures in the Arkansas Valley and south of it, see The Old Santa Fe Trail.

[65] Long poles, one fastened on each side of a pony, the ends dragging on the ground far to the rear; on these the dead and wounded were carried. The Indians also move their camp equipage by this primitive means of transportation.

[66] Strange as it may seem, this savage, instead of being moved with hatred toward Colonel Cody, as a civilized woman would have been under similar circumstances, actually looked upon him with special favour and esteemed it quite an honour that her husband, a great warrior himself, should have met his death at the hands of such a brave man as the Prairie Chief, the name the Indians had given to the colonel.

[67] Nelson is still shooting Indians from the top of the old Deadwood stage-coach in the Wild West show.

[68] The rendezvous, in trapper's parlance, was a point somewhere in the region where the agents of the fur companies congregate to purchase the season's catch, and where the traders brought such goods as trappers needed, to sell.

[69] A very bad quality of whiskey made in Taos in the early days, which, on account of its fiery nature, was called "Taos Lightning."

[70] The Ute name for the Spanish Peaks.

[71] His name for his knife. It was the custom of the old trappers and hunters to personify their weapons, usually in remembrance of the locality where they got them.

[72] If "California Joe" had any other name, but few knew it; he was a grizzled trapper and scout of the old regime. He was the best all-round shot on the plains. He was the first man to ride with General Custer into the village of Black Kettle, of the Cheyennes, when that chief's band was annihilated in the battle of the Washita, in November, 1868, by the U. S. Cavalry and the Nineteenth Kansas. Joe was murdered in the Black Hills several years ago.

[73] Uncle of Senator Cockrell of Missouri.

[74] The real name of this strange old trapper was Thomas L. Smith. He was eventually killed by the Indians.

[75] The authors of this book both well remember when the sand-hills of the Arkansas River were, as their name implied, mere dunes of shifting sand. Now they are covered with rich verdure upon which thousands of cattle feed, and in the intervales are to be seen some of the finest fruit-farms in the region of the central plains. Whether Professor Agassiz was correct, or whether it is caused by great cycles of atmospheric variation, it is a fact.