Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood

CHAPTER XXV.
CAPTURING A HERD PONIES.

WHILE at the fort the colonel in command complained at the non- arrival of a drove of Government horses, as he was anxious to make a raid into the Indian country, and Buffalo Bill volunteered to go and hurry the cattle on.

He had been gone but a few hours from the fort when he crossed a trail which he knew to have been made by a large Indian village on the move.

Cautiously he followed it, and just at sunset came insight of the amp, pitched at the head of a valley, and saw below a large herd of horses grazing.

To return to the fort for aid he knew would take too long, so he determined to make an attempt to capture the herd himself and, with his field-glass carefully reconnoitered the surroundings as long as it was light.

He saw that the nature of the valley was such that the herd could only escape by two ways, one through the Indian village and the other at the lower end where he had observed four warriors placed as a guard and herders.

"That is my quartette," he said to himself, and mounting Brigham he began to make his way around to the lower end of the valley.

After an hour's ride he gained the desired point, and then set down to work.

Carrying with him in case of need a complete Indian costume, he was not long in rigging himself up in it and painting his face.

Then he left Brigham in a canyon near by and cautiously approached the entrance to the valley, which was not more than two hundred yards wide at this point.

Peering through the darkness he saw the four dark objects, about equal distances apart, which he knew were the ponies of the four warriors on guard, and that they were lying down near in the grass he felt confident.

Getting past the line of herders he boldly advanced toward the one nearest the hill on the left, and knew he would be taken for some chief coming from the village and accordingly not dreaded.

It was just as he had expected: the Indian herder saw him coming directly from the village, as he believed and did not even rise from the grass as Buffalo Bill drew near.

With a word in Sioux Buffalo Bill advanced and suddenly threw himself upon the prostrate warrior.

There was a short struggle, but no cry, as the scout's hand grasped the red-skin's throat, and then all was still, the Indian pony lariated near, not even stopping his grazing.

Throwing the red-skin's blanket over his body, Buffalo Bill moved away a few paces to where the pony stood, and called to the next herder in the Sioux tongue to come to him.

The unsuspecting warrior obeyed, and the next instant found himself in a gripe of iron and a knife blade piercing his heart.

"This is red work, but it is man to man and in a few days the whole band would make a strike upon the settlements," muttered the scout as he moved slowly toward the position his enemy had left at his call.

As he reached the spot he saw the third warrior standing on his post and boldly walked up to him, when again the same short, fierce, silent fight followed and Buffalo Bill arose from the ground a victor.

The fourth, and only remaining guard he knew was over under the shadow of the hill, and thither he went.

Arriving near he did not see him, and looking around suddenly discovered him asleep at the foot of a tree.

"I'd like to let you sleep, Mr. Red-skin, but you'd wake up at the wrong time, so you must follow your comrades to the happy hunting grounds," he muttered as he bent over and seized the throat of the Indian in his powerful grip.

The warrior was almost a giant in size, and he made a fierce fight for his life.

But the iron hold on his throat did not relax and at last his efforts ceased and his grasp upon the scout, which had been so great he could not use his knife, weakened and there was no more show of resistance.

Then not an instant did Buffalo Bill tarry, but went up the valley, rounded up the herd of horses and quickly drove them away from the village, in which he knew slept half a thousand warriors.

Slowly he moved the large brute mass, and they went toward the mouth of the valley and were soon out upon the prairie. Their mounting Brigham he urged them on until out of hearing of the camp, when he headed them for the fort.

It was a hard drive and taxed both Brigham and his rider fearfully; but at last the herd was driven to a good grazing place a few miles from the fort and Buffalo Bill left them and rode rapidly on, and just at down reported his valuable capture and that the same horse could be used in an attack upon the Indian camp.

The colonel at once acted upon his suggestion; the cavalryman who had no horses, loaded with their saddles, bridles and arms, went at a quick march to the grazing place of the horses, and ere the day was three hours old three hundred men were mounted and on the trail for the red-skin village, while the remainder of the ponies were driven to the fort.

Deprived of the greater part of their horses, the red-skins could march but slowly; but they were in full retreat when Buffalo Bill led the command in sight of them, and though the dismounted warriors fought bravely, they were severely whipped and all their village equipage captured or destroyed, while instead of attacking the white settlements as they had intended, they were glad enough to beg for relief.

This gallant act made the name of Buffalo Bill, or Pa-e-has-ka (Long Hair) as they called him, known to every Indian on the north-west border, and they regarded him with the greatest terror, while it made him an idol among the soldiers.

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