List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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the Dominion Parliament no less, had been drawn up, and besides
this many plans had been formed and many promises made of reward
for all those who dared to stand for their rights under the
leadership of the great Riel, while for the Indians very special
arrangements had been made and the most alluring prospects held
out.  For they were assured that, when in the far North country the
new Government was set up, the old free independent life of which
they had been hearing was to be restored, all hampering restrictions
imposed by the white man were to be removed, and the good old days
were to be brought back.  The effect upon the Indians was plainly
evident.  With solemn faces they listened, nodding now and then
grave approval, and Cameron felt that the whole situation held
possibilities of horror unspeakable in the revival of that ancient
savage spirit which had been so very materially softened and tamed
by years of kindly, patient and firm control on the part of those
who represented among them British law and civilization.  His
original intention had been to stride in among these Indians, to put
a stop to their savage nonsense and order them back to their
reserves with never a thought of anything but obedience on their
part.  But as he glanced about upon the circle of faces he
hesitated.  This was no petty outbreak of ill temper on the part of
a number of Indians dissatisfied with their rations or chafing under
some new Police regulation.  As his eye traveled round the circle he
noted that for the most part they were young men.  A few of the
councilors of the various tribes represented were present.  Many of
them he knew, but many others he could not distinguish in the dim
light of the fire.

"Who are those Indians, Jerry?" he asked.

And as Jerry ran over the names he began to realize how widely
representative of the various tribes in the western country the
gathering was.  Practically every reserve in the West was
represented: Bloods, Piegans and Blackfeet from the foothill
country, Plain Crees and Wood Crees from the North.  Even a few of
the Stonies, who were supposed to have done with all pagan rites
and to have become largely civilized, were present.  Nor were these
rank and file men only.  They were the picked braves of the tribes,
and with them a large number of the younger chiefs.

At length the half-breed Cree finished his tale, and in a few brief
fierce sentences he called the Indians of the West to join their
half-breed and Indian brothers of the North in one great effort to
regain their lost rights and to establish themselves for all time
in independence and freedom.

Then followed grave discussion carried on with deliberation and
courtesy by those sitting about the fire, and though gravity and
courtesy marked every utterance there thrilled through every speech
an ever deepening intensity of feeling.  The fiery spirit of the
red man, long subdued by those powers that represented the
civilization of the white man, was burning fiercely within them.
The insatiable lust for glory formerly won in war or in the chase,
but now no longer possible to them, burned in their hearts like a
consuming fire.  The life of monotonous struggle for a mere
existence to which they were condemned had from the first been
intolerable to them.  The prowess of their fathers, whether in the
slaughter of foes or in the excitement of the chase, was the theme
of song and story round every Indian camp-fire and at every sun
dance.  For the young braves, life, once vivid with color and
thrilling with tingling emotions, had faded into the somber-hued
monotony of a dull and spiritless existence, eked out by the
charity of the race who had robbed them of their hunting-grounds
and deprived them of their rights as free men.  The lust for
revenge, the fury of hate, the yearning for the return of the days
of the red man's independence raged through their speeches like
fire in an open forest; and, ever fanning yet ever controlling the
flame, old Copperhead presided till the moment should be ripe for
such action as he desired.  Back and forward the question was
deliberated.  Should they there and then pledge themselves to their
Northern brothers and commit themselves to this great approaching

Quietly and with an air of judicial deliberation the Sioux put the
question to them.  There was something to be lost and something to
be gained.  But the loss, how insignificant it seemed!  And the
gain, how immeasurable!  And after all success was almost certain.
What could prevent it?  A few scattered settlers with no arms nor
ammunition, with no means of communication, what could they effect?
A Government nearly three thousand miles away, with the nearest
base of military operations a thousand miles distant, what could
they do?  The only real difficulty was the North West Mounted
Police.  But even as the Sioux uttered the words a chill silence
fell upon the excited throng.  The North West Mounted Police, who
for a dozen years had guarded them and cared for them and ruled
them without favor and without fear!  Five hundred red coats of the
Great White Mother across the sea, men who had never been known to
turn their backs upon a foe, who laughed at noisy threats and whose
simple word their greatest chief was accustomed unhesitatingly to
obey!  Small wonder that the mere mention of the name of those
gallant "Riders of the Plains" should fall like a chill upon their
fevered imaginations.  The Sioux was conscious of that chill and
set himself to counteract it.

"The Police!" he cried with unspeakable scorn, "the Police!  They
will flee before the Indian braves like leaves before the autumn

"What says he?" cried Cameron eagerly.  And Jerry swiftly

Without a moment's hesitation Cameron sprang to his feet and,
standing in the dim light at the entrance to the cave, with arm
outstretched and finger pointed at the speaker, he cried:

"Listen!"  With a sudden start every face was turned in his
direction.  "Listen!" he repeated.  "The Sioux dog lies.  He speaks
with double tongue.  Never have the Indians seen a Policeman's back
turned in flight."

His unexpected appearance, his voice ringing like the blare of a
trumpet through the cavern, his tall figure with the outstretched
accusing arm and finger, the sharp challenge of the Sioux's lie
with what they all knew to be the truth, produced an effect utterly
indescribable.  For some brief seconds they gazed upon him stricken
into silence as with a physical blow, then with a fierce exclamation
the Sioux snatched a rifle from the cave side and quicker than words
can tell fired straight at the upright accusing figure.  But quicker
yet was Jerry's panther-spring.  With a backhand he knocked Cameron
flat, out of range.  Cameron dropped to the floor as if dead.

"What the deuce do you mean, Jerry?" he cried.  "You nearly knocked
the wind out of me!"

"Beeg fool you!" grunted Jerry fiercely, dragging him back into the
tunnel out of the light.

"Let me go, Jerry!" cried Cameron in a rage, struggling to free
himself from the grip of the wiry half-breed.

"Mak' still!" hissed Jerry, laying his hand over Cameron's mouth.
"Indian mad--crazy--tak' scalp sure queeck."

"Let me go, Jerry, you little fool!" said Cameron.  "I'll kill you
if you don't!  I want that Sioux, and, by the eternal God, I am
going to have him!"  He shook himself free of the half-breed's
grasp and sprang to his feet.  "I am going to get him!" he

"No!" cried Jerry again, flinging himself upon him and winding his
arms about him.  "Wait!  Nodder tam'.  Indian mad crazy--keel
quick--no talk--now."

Up and down the tunnel Cameron dragged him about as a mastiff might
a terrier, striving to free himself from those gripping arms.  Even
as Jerry spoke, through the dim light the figure of an Indian could
be seen passing and repassing the entrance to the cave.

"We get him soon," said Jerry in an imploring whisper.  "Come back
now--queeck--beeg hole close by."

With a great effort Cameron regained his self-control.

"By Jove, you are right, Jerry," he said quietly.  "We certainly
can't take him now.  But we must not lose him.  Now listen to me
quick.  This passage opens on to the canyon about fifty yards
farther down.  Follow, and keep your eye on the Sioux.  I shall
watch here.  Go!"

Without an instant's hesitation Jerry obeyed, well aware that his
master had come to himself and again was in command.

Cameron meantime groped to the mouth of the tunnel by which he had
entered and peered out into the dim light.  Close to his hand stood
an Indian in the cavern.  Beyond him there was a confused mingling
of forms as if in bewilderment.  The Council was evidently broken
up for the time.  The Indians were greatly shaken by the vision
that had broken in upon them.  That it was no form of flesh and
blood was very obvious to them, for the Sioux's bullet had passed
through it and spattered against the wall leaving no trail of blood
behind it.  There was no holding them together, and almost before
he was aware of it Cameron saw the cavern empty of every living
soul.  Quickly but warily he followed, searching each nook as he
went, but the dim light of the dying fire showed him nothing but
the black walls and gloomy recesses of the great cave.  At the
farther entrance he found Jerry awaiting him.

"Where are they gone?" he asked.

"Beeg camp close by," replied Jerry.  "Beeg camp--much Indian.
Some talk-talk, then go sleep.  Chief Onawata he mak' more talk--
talk all night--then go sleep.  We get him morning."

Cameron thought swiftly.

"I think you are right, Jerry.  Now you get back quick for the men
and come to me here in the morning.  We must not spoil the chance
of capturing this old devil.  He will have these Indians worked up
into rebellion before we know where we are."

So saying, Cameron set forward that he might with his own eyes look
upon the camp and might the better plan his further course.  Upon
two things he was firmly resolved.  First, that he should break up
this council which held such possibilities of danger to the peace
of the country.  And secondly, and chiefly, he must lay hold of
this Sioux plotter, not only because of the possibilities of
mischief that lay in him, but because of the injury he had done
him and his.

Forward, then, he went and soon came upon the camp, and after
observing the lay of it, noting especially the tent in which the
Sioux Chief had disposed himself, he groped back to his cave, in a
nook of which--for he was nearly done out with weariness, and
because much yet lay before him--he laid himself down and slept
soundly till the morning.



Long before the return of the half-breed and his men Cameron was
astir and to some purpose.  A scouting expedition around the Indian
camp rewarded him with a significant and useful discovery.  In a
bluff some distance away he found the skins and heads of four
steers, and by examination of the brands upon the skins discovered
two of them to be from his own herd.

"All right, my braves," he muttered.  "There will be a reckoning
for this some day not so far away.  Meantime this will help this
day's work."

A night's sleep and an hour's quiet consideration had shown him the
folly of a straight frontal attack upon the Indians gathered for
conspiracy.  They were too deeply stirred for anything like the
usual brusque manner of the Police to be effective.  A slight
indiscretion, indeed, might kindle such a conflagration as would
sweep the whole country with the devastating horror of an Indian
war.  He recalled the very grave manner of Inspector Dickson and
resolved upon an entirely new plan of action.  At all costs he must
allay suspicion that the Police were at all anxious about the
situation in the North.  Further, he must break the influence of
the Sioux Chief over these Indians.  Lastly, he was determined that
this arch-plotter should not escape him again.

The sun was just visible over the lowest of the broken foothills
when Jerry and the two constables made their appearance, bringing,
with them Cameron's horse.  After explaining to them fully his plan
and emphasizing the gravity of the situation and the importance of
a quiet, cool and resolute demeanor, they set off toward the Indian

"I have no intention of stirring these chaps up," laid Cameron,
"but I am determined to arrest old Copperhead, and at the right
moment we must act boldly and promptly.  He is too dangerous and
much too clever to be allowed his freedom among these Indians of
ours at this particular time.  Now, then, Jerry and I will ride in
looking for cattle and prepared to charge these Indians with
cattle-stealing.  This will put them on the defensive.  Then the
arrest will follow.  You two will remain within sound of whistle,
but failing specific direction let each man act on his own

Jerry listened with delight.  His Chief was himself again.  Before
the day was over he was to see him in an entirely new role.
Nothing in life afforded Jerry such keen delight as a bit of cool
daring successfully carried through.  Hence with joyous heart he
followed Cameron into the Indian camp.

The morning hour is the hour of coolest reason.  The fires of
emotion and imagination have not yet begun to burn.  The reactions
from anything like rash action previously committed under the
stimulus of a heated imagination are caution and timidity, and upon
these reactions Cameron counted when he rode boldly into the Indian

With one swift glance his eye swept the camp and lighted upon the
Sioux Chief in the center of a group of younger men, his tall
commanding figure and haughty carriage giving him an outstanding
distinction over those about him.  At his side stood a young Piegan
Chief, Eagle Feather by name, whom Cameron knew of old as a
restless, talkative Indian, an ambitious aspirant for leadership
without the qualities necessary to such a position.  Straight to
this group Cameron rode.

"Good morning!" he said, saluting the group.  "Ah, good morning,
Eagle Feather!"

Eagle Feather grunted an indistinct reply.

"Big Hunt, eh?  Are you in command of this party, Eagle Feather?
No?  Who then is?"

The Piegan turned and pointed to a short thick set man standing by
another fire, whose large well shaped head and penetrating eye
indicated both force and discretion.

"Ah, Running Stream," cried Cameron.  "Come over here, Running
Stream.  I am glad to see you, for I wish to talk to a man of

Slowly and with dignified, almost unwilling step Running Stream
approached.  As he began to move, but not before, Cameron went to
meet him.

"I wish to talk with you," said Cameron in a quiet firm tone.

"Huh," grunted Running Stream.

"I have a matter of importance to speak to you about," continued

Running Stream's keen glance searched his face somewhat anxiously.

"I find, Running Stream, that your young men are breaking faith
with their friends, the Police."

Again the Chief searched Cameron's face with that keen swift

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