Glancing around

As the shades of evening crept over the plain it became impossible for me to see anything distinctly. The occasional reports of their carbines assured me that my companions were still standing off the savages. I kept asking myself: “What can I do to help them?” But there was no reply. I had no inclination to eat or sleep but prepared for a long, dismal night of watchfulness. After attending…

ARRIVES

On the plains a prairie fire is always something to be dreaded, for with the usual breeze, which often amounts to a gale, a fire in heavy, dry grass is almost invariably uncontrollable and a source of terror to the luckless traveller who happens to be in its track. Such a fire originates most commonly from the embers of a camp-fire–left by some careless or inexperienced traveller–blown by a rising…

A NIGHT IN THE KIOWA CAMP

We reached the dugout just before noon, and after unsaddling, watering, and feeding our horses and partaking of a good dinner that Jack had prepared we saddled up again. I now rode the gray mustang, as Tom had suggested, and on one of our mules packed my bedding for the use of Captain Saunders and myself at the Indian camp. We struck out down the creek for the Kiowa camp,…

SCOUT

Tom returned from Fort Larned that evening. He hoped that his intercession for Flaherty would procure a mitigation of the usual penalty; but desertion, even under extenuating circumstances, was too serious an offence to pass without at least a form of punishment. The culprit was put in the guard-house, with a fair prospect, however, of being released and restored to duty before long. The long-expected three companies of volunteer cavalry…

trace-chain

In preparing for a probable blizzard we had hauled up several loads of good, dry wood and chopped much of it into stove wood, carrying it into our quarters and stowing it away in the tunnel, still leaving a passageway, however. We found that the tunnel acted as a flue and caused such a draught through our little room that we were forced to temporarily close up the opening in…

maybe weak from loss of blood

For the next few days we were all very busy. Tom was putting the finishing touches on our quarters, while Jack and I were doing the trapping, baiting, and skinning. I assisted Jack in trapping beaver and he helped me in killing buffalo and taking care of the wolfskins. While working at these tasks we were riding the surrounding country, east and west, up and down the creek, and north…

When we got outside the store door again

“Now, men,” said old Tom as we gathered around the mess box for breakfast next morning, “we want to get an early start for we’ve got a big drive before us. It’s only about thirty-eight miles from here to Fort Larned, but that’s too much to do with a load in one day; an’ we can’t divide the distance equally because there’s no water anywhere nigh the half-way p’int. By…

BUFFALO NEAR THE BIG BEND

That afternoon we reached Council Grove, on the west bank of Neosho River. It was then a place of less than a hundred and fifty inhabitants but an important business point–the outpost of Kansas settlements and the last town, going westward, until Denver, Colorado, was reached. Travellers going to the plains usually halted here to lay in any requisites for their trip that might have been overlooked in starting from…

rig up some sort of a gallows

Jack had been gone a couple of hours and it had become quite dark, when our dog Found, by growling, pricking up his ears, and looking toward the road, gave notice that some one was approaching. On listening closely we could hear some one coming, but the tramping sounded like that of a horse. We had made no light after dark, for we did not intend to cook any supper…

Before he could answer

One day, on stopping at a store to buy some feed, just before reaching the crossing of a timbered creek, we noticed two saddled horses hitched to the fence and on entering the store found two well-armed, rough-looking fellows lounging about, one of whom seemed to be half tipsy. The store was also a post-office and presided over by a very old man. While Tom and the storekeeper retired to…