List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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exultation, while at Cameron angry looks flashed from every eye.
Old Crowfoot alone remained quiet, calm, impassive, except for the
fierce gleaming of his steady eyes.

When the runner had delivered his message he held up his hand and
spoke but a single word.  Immediately there was silence as of the
grave.  Nothing was heard, not even the breathing of the Indians
close about him.  In sharp, terse sentences the old Chief questioned
the runner, who replied at first eagerly, then, as the questions
proceeded, with some hesitation.  Finally, with a wave of the hand
Crowfoot dismissed him and stood silently pondering for some
moments.  Then he turned to his people and said with quiet and
impressive dignity:

"This is a matter for the Council.  To-morrow we will discuss it."
Then turning to Cameron he said in a low voice and with grave
courtesy, "It is wise that my brother should go while the trails
are open."

"The trails are always open to the Great Mother's Mounted Police,"
said Cameron, looking the old Chief full in the eye.

Crowfoot stood silent, evidently thinking deeply.

"It is right that my brother should know," he said at length, "what
the runner tells," and in his deep guttural voice there was a ring
of pride.

"Good news is always welcome," said Cameron, as he coolly pulled
out his pipe and offered his pouch once more to Crowfoot, who,
however, declined to see it.

"The white soldiers have attacked the Indians and have been driven
back," said Crowfoot with a keen glance at Cameron's face.

"Ah!" said Cameron, smiling.  "What Indians?  What white soldiers?"

"The soldiers that marched to Battleford.  They went against Oo-
pee-too-korah-han-ap-ee-wee-yin and the Indians did not run away."
No words could describe the tone and attitude of exultant and
haughty pride with which the old Chief delivered this information.

"Crowfoot," said Cameron with deliberate emphasis, "it was Colonel
Otter and Superintendent Herchmer of the Mounted Police that went
north to Battleford.  You do not know Colonel Otter, but you do
know Superintendent Herchmer.  Tell me, would Superintendent
Herchmer and the Police run away?"

"The runner tells that the white soldiers ran away," said Crowfoot

"Then the runner lies!" Cameron's voice rang out loud and clear.

Swift as a lightning flash the Sarcee sprang at Cameron, knife in
hand, crying in the Blackfeet tongue that terrible cry so long
dreaded by settlers in the Western States of America, "Death to the
white man!"  Without apparently moving a muscle, still holding by
the mane of his horse, Cameron met the attack with a swift and
well-placed kick which caught the Indian's right wrist and flung
his knife high in the air.  Following up the kick, Cameron took a
single step forward and met the murderous Sarcee with a straight
left-hand blow on the jaw that landed the Indian across the fire
and deposited him kicking amid the crowd.

Immediately there was a quick rush toward the white man, but the
rush halted before two little black barrels with two hard, steady,
gray eyes gleaming behind them.

"Crowfoot!" said Cameron sharply.  "I hold ten dead Indians in my

With a single stride Crowfoot was at Cameron's side.  A single
sharp stern word of command he uttered and the menacing Indians
slunk back into the shadows, but growling like angry beasts.

"Is it wise to anger my young men?" said Crowfoot in a low voice.

"Is it wise," replied Cameron sternly, "to allow mad dogs to run
loose?  We kill such mad dogs in my country."

"Huh," grunted Crowfoot with a shrug of his shoulders.  "Let him
die!"  Then in a lower voice he added earnestly, "It would be good
to take the trail before my young men can catch their horses."

"I was just going, Crowfoot," said Cameron, stooping to light his
pipe at the fire.  "Good-night.  Remember what I have said."  And
Cameron cantered away with both hands low before him and guiding
his broncho with his knees, and so rode easily till safely beyond
the line of the reserve.  Once out of the reserve he struck his
spurs hard into his horse and sent him onward at headlong pace
toward the Militia camp.

Ten minutes after his arrival at the camp every soldier was in his
place ready to strike, and so remained all night, with pickets
thrown far out listening with ears attent for the soft pad of
moccasined feet.



It was still early morning when Cameron rode into the barrack-yard
at Fort Calgary.  To the Sergeant in charge, the Superintendent of
Police having departed to Macleod, he reported the events of the
preceding night.

"What about that rumor, Sergeant?" he inquired after he had told
his tale.

"Well, I had the details yesterday," replied the Sergeant.
"Colonel Otter and a column of some three hundred men with three
guns went out after Pound-maker.  The Indians were apparently
strongly posted and could not be dislodged, and I guess our men
were glad to get out of the scrape as easily as they did."

"Great Heavens!" cried Cameron, more to himself than to the
officer, "what will this mean to us here?"

The Sergeant shrugged his shoulders.

"The Lord only knows!" he said.

"Well, my business presses all the more," said Cameron.  "I'm going
after this Sioux.  Jerry is already on his trail.  I suppose you
cannot let me have three or four men?  There is liable to be
trouble and we cannot afford to make a mess of this thing."

"Jerry came in last night asking for a man," replied the Sergeant,
"but I could not spare one.  However, we will do our best and send
you on the very first men that come in."

"Send on half a dozen to-morrow at the very latest," replied
Cameron.  "I shall rely upon you.  Let me give you my trail."

He left a plan of the Ghost River Trail with the Sergeant and rode
to look up Dr. Martin.  He found the doctor still in bed and
wrathful at being disturbed.

"I say, Cameron," he growled, "what in thunder do you mean by
roaming round this way at night and waking up Christian people out
of their sleep?"

"Sorry, old boy," replied Cameron, "but my business is rather

And then while the doctor sat and shivered in his night clothes
upon the side of the bed Cameron gave him in detail the history of
the previous evening and outlined his plan for the capture of the

Dr. Martin listened intently, noting the various points and
sketching an outline of the trail as Cameron described it.

"I wanted you to know, Martin, in case anything happened.  For,
well, you know how it is with my wife just now.  A shock might kill

The doctor growled an indistinct reply.

"That is all, old chap.  Good-by," said Cameron, pressing his hand.
"This I feel is my last go with old Copperhead."

"Your last go?"

"Oh, don't be alarmed," he replied lightly.  "I am going to get him
this time.  There will be no trifling henceforth.  Well, good-by, I
am off.  By the way, the Sergeant at the barracks has promised to
send on half a dozen men to-morrow to back me up.  You might just
keep him in mind of that, for things are so pressing here that he
might quite well imagine that he could not spare the men."

"Well, that is rather better," said Martin.  "The Sergeant will
send those men all right, or I will know the reason why.  Hope you
get your game.  Good-by, old man."

A day's ride brought Cameron to Kananaskis, where the Sun Dance
Trail ends on one side of the Bow River and the Ghost River Trail
begins on the other.  There he found signs to indicate that Jerry
was before him on his way to the Manitou Rock.  As Cameron was
preparing to camp for the night there came over him a strong but
unaccountable presentiment of approaching evil, an irresistible
feeling that he ought to press forward.

"Pshaw!  I will be seeing spooks next!" he said impatiently to
himself.  "I suppose it is the Highlander in me that is seeing
visions and dreaming dreams.  I must eat, however, no matter what
is going to happen."

Leaving his horse saddled, but removing the bridle, he gave him his
feed of oats, then he boiled his tea and made his own supper.  As
he was eating the feeling grew more strongly upon him that he
should not camp but go forward at once.  At the same time he made
the discovery that the weariness that had almost overpowered him
during the last half-hour of his ride had completely vanished.
Hence, with the feeling of half contemptuous anger at himself for
yielding to his presentiment, he packed up his kit again, bridled
his horse, and rode on.

The trail was indeed, as Jerry said, "no trail."  It was rugged
with broken rocks and cumbered with fallen trees, and as it
proceeded became more indistinct.  His horse, too, from sheer
weariness, for he had already done his full day's journey, was
growing less sure footed and so went stumbling noisily along.
Cameron began to regret his folly in yielding to a mere unreasoning
imagination and he resolved to spend the night at the first
camping-ground that should offer.  The light of the long spring day
was beginning to fade from the sky and in the forest the deep
shadows were beginning to gather.  Still no suitable camping-ground
presented itself and Cameron stubbornly pressed forward through the
forest that grew denser and more difficult at every step.  After
some hours of steady plodding the trees began to be sensibly
larger, the birch and poplar gave place to spruce and pine and the
underbrush almost entirely disappeared.  The trail, too, became
better, winding between the large trees which, with clean trunks,
stood wide apart and arranged themselves in stately high-arched
aisles and long corridors.  From the lofty branches overhead the
gray moss hung in long streamers, as Jerry had said, giving to the
trees an ancient and weird appearance.  Along these silent, solemn,
gray-festooned aisles and corridors Cameron rode with an uncanny
sensation that unseen eyes were peering out upon him from those dim
and festooned corridors on either side.  Impatiently he strove to
shake off the feeling, but in vain.  At length, forced by the
growing darkness, he decided to camp, when through the shadowy and
silent forest there came to his ears the welcome sound of running
water.  It was to Cameron like the sound of a human voice.  He
almost called aloud to the running stream as to a friend.  It was
the Ghost River.

In a few minutes he had reached the water and after picketing his
horse some little distance down the stream and away from the trail,
he rolled himself in his blanket to sleep.  The moon rising above
the high tree-tops filled the forest aisles with a soft unearthly
light.  As his eye followed down the long dim aisles there grew
once more upon him the feeling that he was being watched by unseen
eyes.  Vainly he cursed himself for his folly.  He could not sleep.
A twig broke near him.  He lay still listening with every nerve
taut.  He fancied he could hear soft feet about him and stealing
near.  With his two guns in hand he sat bolt upright.  Straight
before him and not more than ten feet away the form of an Indian
was plainly to be seen.  A slight sound to his right drew his eyes
in that direction.  There, too, stood the silent form of an Indian,
on his left also an Indian.  Suddenly from behind him a deep,
guttural voice spoke, "Look this way!"  He turned sharply and found
himself gazing into a rifle-barrel a few feet from his face.  "Now
look back!" said the voice.  He glanced to right and left, only to
find rifles leveled at him from every side.

"White man put down his guns on ground!" said the same guttural

Cameron hesitated.

"Indian speak no more," said the voice in a deep growl.

Cameron put his guns down.

"Stand up!" said the voice.

Cameron obeyed.  Out from behind the Indian with the leveled rifle
glided another Indian form.  It was Copperhead.  Two more Indians
appeared with him.  All thought of resistance passed from Cameron's
mind.  It would mean instant death, and, what to Cameron was worse
than death, the certain failure of his plans.  While he lived he
still had hope.  Besides, there would be the Police next day.

With savage, cruel haste Copperhead bound his hands behind his back
and as a further precaution threw a cord about his neck.

"Come!" he said, giving the cord a quick jerk.

"Copperhead," said Cameron through his clenched teeth, "you will
one day wish you had never done this thing."

"No speak!" said Copperhead gruffly, jerking the cord so heavily as
almost to throw Cameron off his feet.

Through the night Cameron stumbled on with his captors, Copperhead
in front and the others following.  Half dead with sleeplessness
and blind with rage he walked on as if in a hideous nightmare,
mechanically watching the feet of the Indian immediately in front
of him and thus saving himself many a cruel fall and a more cruel
jerking of the cord about his neck, for such was Copperhead's
method of lifting him to his feet when he fell.  It seemed to him
as if the night would never pass or the journey end.

At length the throbbing of the Indian drum fell upon his ears.  It
was to him a welcome sound.  Nothing could be much more agonizing
than what he was at present enduring.  As they approached the
Indian camp one of his captors raised a wild, wailing cry which
resounded through the forest with an unearthly sound.  Never had
such a cry fallen upon Cameron's ears.  It was the old-time cry of
the Indian warriors announcing that they were returning in triumph
bringing their captives with them.  The drum-beat ceased.  Again
the cry was raised, when from the Indian encampment came in reply a
chorus of similar cries followed by a rush of braves to meet the
approaching warriors and to welcome them and their captives.

With loud and discordant exultation straight into the circle of the
firelight cast from many fires Copperhead and his companions
marched their captive.  On every side naked painted Indians to the
number of several score crowded in tumultuous uproar.  Not for many
years had these Indians witnessed their ancient and joyous sport of
baiting a prisoner.

As Cameron came into the clear light of the fire instantly low
murmurs ran round the crowd, for to many of them he was well known.
Then silence fell upon them.  His presence there was clearly a
shock to many of them.  To take prisoner one of the Mounted Police
and to submit him to indignity stirred strange emotions in their
hearts.  The keen eye of Copperhead noted the sudden change of the
mood of the Indians and immediately he gave orders to those who
held Cameron in charge, with the result that they hurried him off
and thrust him into a little low hut constructed of brush and open
in front where, after tying his feet securely, they left him with
an Indian on guard in front.

For some moments Cameron lay stupid with weariness and pain till
his weariness overpowered his pain and he sank into sleep.  He was
recalled to consciousness by the sensation of something digging
into his ribs.  As he sat up half asleep a low "hist!" startled him
wide awake.  His heart leaped as he heard out of the darkness a

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