List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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dead if not.

Plainly the first thing was to uncover his tracks, and with this
intention Cameron proceeded to the Blackfeet Reserve, riding with
Jerry down the Bow River from Fort Calgary, until, as the sun was
setting on an early May evening, he came in sight of the Blackfoot

Not wishing to visit the Militia camp at that point, and desiring
to explore the approaches of the Blackfeet Reserve with as little
ostentation as possible, he sent Jerry on with the horses, with
instructions to meet him later on in the evening on the outside of
the Blackfeet camp, and took a side trail on foot leading to the
reserve through a coulee.  Through the bottom of the coulee ran a
little stream whose banks were packed tight with alders, willows
and poplars.  Following the trail to where it crossed the stream,
Cameron left it for the purpose of quenching his thirst, and
proceeded up-stream some little way from the usual crossing.  Lying
there prone upon his face he caught the sound of hoofs, and,
peering through the alders, he saw a line of Indians riding down
the opposite bank.  Burying his head among the tangled alders and
hardly breathing, he watched them one by one cross the stream not
more than thirty yards away and clamber up the bank.

"Something doing here, sure enough," he said to himself as he noted
their faces.  Three of them he knew, Red Crow of the Bloods,
Trotting Wolf of the Piegans, Running Stream of the Blackfeet, then
came three others unknown to Cameron, and last in the line Cameron
was startled to observe Copperhead himself, while close at his side
could be seen the slim figure of his son.  As the Sioux passed by
Cameron's hiding-place he paused and looked steadily down into the
alders for a moment or two, then rode on.

"Saved yourself that time, old man," said Cameron as the Sioux
disappeared, following the others up the trail.  "We will see just
which trail you take," he continued, following them at a safe
distance and keeping himself hidden by the brush till they reached
the open and disappeared over the hill.  Swiftly Cameron ran to the
top, and, lying prone among the prairie grass, watched them for
some time as they took the trail that ran straight westward.

"Sarcee Reserve more than likely," he muttered to himself.  "If
Jerry were only here!  But he is not, so I must let them go in the
meantime.  Later, however, we shall come up with you, gentlemen.
And now for old Crowfoot and with no time to lose."

He had only a couple of miles to go and in a few minutes he had
reached the main trail from the Militia camp at the Crossing.  In
the growing darkness he could not discern whether Jerry had passed
with the horses or not, so he pushed on rapidly to the appointed
place of meeting and there found Jerry waiting for him.

"Listen, Jerry!" said he.  "Copperhead is back.  I have just seen
him and his son with Red Crow, Trotting Wolf and Running Stream.
There were three others--Sioux I think they are; at any rate I did
not know them.  They passed me in the coulee and took the Sarcee
trail.  Now what do you think is up?"

Jerry pondered.  "Come from Crowfoot, heh?"

"From the reserve here anyway," answered Cameron.

"Trotting Wolf beeg Chief--Red Crow beeg Chief--ver' bad! ver' bad!
Dunno me--look somet'ing--beeg powwow mebbe.  Ver' bad!  Ver' bad!
Go Sarcee Reserve, heh?"  Again Jerry pondered.  "Come from h'east--
by Blood--Piegan--den Blackfeet--go Sarcee.  What dey do?  Where
go den?"

"That is the question, Jerry," said Cameron.

"Sout' to Weegwam?  No, nord to Ghost Reever--Manitou Rock--dunno--

"By Jove, Jerry, I believe you may be right.  I don't think they
would go to the Wigwam--we caught them there once--nor to the
canyon.  What about this Ghost River?  I don't know the trail.
Where is it?"

"Nord from Bow Reever by Kananaskis half day to Ghost Reever--bad
trail--small leetle reever--ver' stony--ver' cold--beeg tree wit'
long beard."

"Long beard?"

"Yes--long, long gray moss lak' beard--ver' strange place dat--from
Ghost Reever west one half day to beeg Manitou Rock--no trail.
Beeg medicine-dance dere--see heem once long tam' 'go--leetle boy
me--beeg medicine--Indian debbil stay dere--Indian much scare'--
only go when mak' beeg tam'--beeg medicine."

"Let me see if I get you, Jerry.  A bad trail leads half a day
north from the Bow at Kananaskis to Ghost River, eh?"

Jerry nodded.

"Then up the Ghost River westward through the bearded trees half a
day to the Manitou Rock?  Is that right?"

Again Jerry nodded.

"How shall I know the rock?"

"Beeg rock," said Jerry.  "Beeg dat tree," pointing to a tall
poplar, "and cut straight down lak some knife--beeg rock--black

"All right," said Cameron.  "What I want to know just now is does
Crowfoot know of this thing?  I fancy he must.  I am going in to
see him.  Copperhead has just come from the reserve.  He has
Running Stream with him.  It is possible, just possible, that he
may not have seen Crowfoot.  This I shall find out.  Now, Jerry,
you must follow Copperhead, find out where he has gone and all you
can about this business, and meet me where the trail reaches the
Ghost River.  Call in at Fort Calgary.  Take a trooper with you to
look after the horses.  I shall follow you to-morrow.  If you are
not at the Ghost River I shall go right on--that is if I see any

"Bon!  Good!" said Jerry.  And without further word he slipped on
to his horse and disappeared into the darkness, taking the cross-
trail through the coulee by which Cameron had come.

Crowfoot's camp showed every sign of the organization and discipline
of a master spirit.  The tents and houses in which his Indians lived
were extended along both sides of a long valley flanked at both ends
by poplar-bluffs.  At the bottom of the valley there was a series of
"sleughs" or little lakes, affording good grazing and water for the
herds of cattle and ponies that could be seen everywhere upon the
hillsides.  At a point farthest from the water and near to a
poplar-bluff stood Crowfoot's house.  At the first touch of summer,
however, Crowfoot's household had moved out from their dwelling,
after the manner of the Indians, and had taken up their lodging in a
little group of tents set beside the house.

Toward this little group of tents Cameron rode at an easy lope.  He
found Crowfoot alone beside his fire, except for the squaws that
were cleaning up after the evening meal and the papooses and older
children rolling about on the grass.  As Cameron drew near, all
vanished, except Crowfoot and a youth about seventeen years of age,
whose strongly marked features and high, fearless bearing
proclaimed him Crowfoot's son.  Dismounting, Cameron dropped the
reins over his horse's head and with a word of greeting to the
Chief sat down by the fire.  Crowfoot acknowledged his salutation
with a suspicious look and grunt.

"Nice night, Crowfoot," said Cameron cheerfully.  "Good weather for
the grass, eh?"

"Good," said Crowfoot gruffly.

Cameron pulled out his tobacco pouch and passed it to the Chief.
With an air of indescribable condescension Crowfoot took the pouch,
knocked the ashes from his pipe, filled it from the pouch and
handed it back to the owner.

"Boy smoke?" inquired Cameron, holding out the pouch toward the

"Huh!" grunted Crowfoot with a slight relaxing of his face.  "Not
yet--too small."

The lad stood like a statue, and, except for a slight stiffening of
his tall lithe figure, remained absolutely motionless, after the
Indian manner.  For some time they smoked in silence.

"Getting cold," said Cameron at length, as he kicked the embers of
the fire together.

Crowfoot spoke to his son and the lad piled wood on the fire till
it blazed high, then, at a sign from his father, he disappeared
into the tent.

"Ha!  That is better," said Cameron, stretching out his hands
toward the fire and disposing himself so that the old Chief's face
should be set clearly in its light.

"The Police ride hard these days?" said Crowfoot in his own
language, after a long silence.

"Oh, sometimes," replied Cameron carelessly, "when cattle-thieves
ride too."

"Huh?" inquired Crowfoot innocently.

"Yes, some Indians forget all that the Police have done for them,
and like coyotes steal upon the cattle at night and drive them over

"Huh?" inquired Crowfoot again, apparently much interested.

"Yes," continued Cameron, fully aware that he was giving the old
Chief no news, "Eagle Feather will be much wiser when he rides over
the plains again."

"Huh!" ejaculated the Chief in agreement.

"But Eagle Feather," continued Cameron, "is not the worst Indian.
He is no good, only a little boy who does what he is told."

"Huh?" inquired Crowfoot with childlike simplicity.

"Yes, he is an old squaw serving his Chief."

"Huh?" again inquired Crowfoot, moving his pipe from his mouth in
his apparent anxiety to learn the name of this unknown master of
Eagle Feather.

"Onawata, the Sioux, is a great Chief," said Cameron.

Crowfoot grunted his indifference.

"He makes all the little Chiefs, Blood, Piegan, Sarcee, Blackfeet
obey him," said Cameron in a scornful voice, shading his face from
the fire with his hand.

This time Crowfoot made no reply.

"But he has left this country for a while?" continued Cameron.

Crowfoot grunted acquiescence.

"My brother has not seen this Sioux for some weeks?"  Again
Cameron's hand shaded his face from the fire while his eyes
searched the old Chief's impassive countenance.

"No," said Crowfoot.  "Not for many days.  Onawata bad man--make
much trouble."

"The big war is going on good," said Cameron, abruptly changing the

"Huh?" inquired Crowfoot, looking up quickly.

"Yes," said Cameron.  "At Fish Creek the half-breeds and Indians
had a good chance to wipe out General Middleton's column."  And he
proceeded to give a graphic account of the rebels' opportunity at
that unfortunate affair.  "But," he concluded, "the half-breeds and
Indians have no Chief."

"No Chief," agreed Crowfoot with emphasis, his old eyes gleaming in
the firelight.  "No Chief," he repeated.  "Where Big Bear--Little
Pine--Kah-mee-yes-too-waegs and Oo-pee-too-korah-han-ap-ee-wee-yin?"

"Oh," said Cameron, "here, there, everywhere."

"Huh!  No big Chief," grunted Crowfoot in disgust.  "One big Chief
make all Indians one."

It seemed worth while to Cameron to take a full hour from his
precious time to describe fully the operations of the troops and to
make clear to the old warrior the steady advances which the various
columns were making, the points they had relieved and the ultimate
certainty of victory.

"Six thousand men now in the West," he concluded, "besides the
Police.  And ten thousand more waiting to come."

Old Crowfoot was evidently much impressed and was eager to learn

"I must go now," said Cameron, rising.  "Where is Running Stream?"
he asked, suddenly facing Crowfoot.

"Huh!  Running Stream he go hunt--t'ree day--not come back,"
answered Crowfoot quickly.

Cameron sat down again by the fire, poked up the embers till the
blaze mounted high.

"Crowfoot," he said solemnly, "this day Onawata was in this camp
and spoke with you.  Wait!" he said, putting up his hand as the old
Chief was about to speak.  "This evening he rode away with Running
Stream, Red Crow, Trotting Wolf.  The Sioux for many days has been
leading about your young men like dogs on a string.  To-day he has
put the string round the necks of Red Crow, Running Stream,
Trotting Wolf.  I did not think he could lead Crowfoot too like a
little dog.

"Wait!" he said again as Crowfoot rose to his feet in indignation.
"Listen!  The Police will get that Sioux.  And the Police will take
the Chiefs that he led round like little dogs and send them away.
The Great Mother cannot have men as Chiefs whom she cannot trust.
For many years the Police have protected the Indians.  It was
Crowfoot himself who once said when the treaty was being made--
Crowfoot will remember--'If the Police had not come to the country
where would we all be now?  Bad men and whisky were killing us so
fast that very few indeed of us would have been left to-day.  The
Police have protected us as the feathers of the bird protect it
from the frosts of winter.'  This is what Crowfoot said to the
Great Mother's Councilor when he made a treaty with the Great

Here Cameron rose to his feet and stood facing the Chief.

"Is Crowfoot a traitor?  Does he give his hand and draw it back
again?  It is not good that, when trouble comes, the Indians should
join the enemies of the Police and of the Great Mother across the
sea.  These enemies will be scattered like dust before the wind.
Does Crowfoot think when the leaves have fallen from the trees this
year there will be any enemies left?  Bah!  This Sioux dog does not
know the Great Mother, nor her soldiers, nor her Police.  Crowfoot
knows.  Why does he talk to the enemies of the Great Mother and of
his friends the Police?  What does Crowfoot say?  I go to-night to
take Onawata.  Already my men are upon his trail.  Where does
Crowfoot stand?  With Onawata and the little Chiefs he leads around
or with the Great Mother and the Police?  Speak!  I am waiting."

The old Chief was deeply stirred.  For some moments while Cameron
was speaking he had been eagerly seeking an opportunity to reply,
but Cameron's passionate torrent of words prevented him breaking in
without discourtesy.  When Cameron ceased, however, the old Chief
stretched out his hand and in his own language began:

"Many years ago the Police came to this country.  My people then
were poor--"

At this point the sound of a galloping horse was heard, mingled
with the loud cries of its rider.  Crowfoot paused and stood
intently listening.  Cameron could get no meaning from the
shouting.  From every tent men came running forth and from the
houses along the trail on every hand, till before the horse had
gained Crowfoot's presence there had gathered about the Chief's
fire a considerable crowd of Indians, whose numbers were
momentarily augmented by men from the tents and houses up and down
the trail.

In calm and dignified silence the old Chief waited the rider's
word.  He was an Indian runner and he bore an important message.

Dismounting, the runner stood, struggling to recover his breath and
to regain sufficient calmness to deliver his message in proper form
to the great Chief of the Blackfeet confederacy.  While he stood
thus struggling with himself Cameron took the opportunity to
closely scrutinize his face.

"A Sarcee," he muttered.  "I remember him--an impudent cur."  He
moved quietly toward his horse, drew the reins up over his head,
and, leading him back toward the fire, took his place beside
Crowfoot again.

The Sarcee had begun his tale, speaking under intense excitement
which he vainly tried to control.  He delivered his message.  Such
was the rapidity and incoherence of his speech, however, that
Cameron could make nothing of it.  The effect upon the crowd was
immediate and astounding.  On every side rose wild cries of fierce

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