The Oregon Trail: sketches of prairie and Rocky-Mountain life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 453 pages of information about The Oregon Trail.
would do.  There was clearly no hope for him.  After every effort his heaving sides were more deeply imbedded and the mire almost overflowed his nostrils; he lay still at length, and looking round at us with a furious eye, seemed to resign himself to his fate.  Ellis slowly dismounted, and deliberately leveling his boasted yager, shot the old bull through the heart; then he lazily climbed back again to his seat, pluming himself no doubt on having actually killed a buffalo.  That day the invincible yager drew blood for the first and last time during the whole journey.

The morning was a bright and gay one, and the air so clear that on the farthest horizon the outline of the pale blue prairie was sharply drawn against the sky.  Shaw felt in the mood for hunting; he rode in advance of the party, and before long we saw a file of bulls galloping at full speed upon a vast green swell of the prairie at some distance in front.  Shaw came scouring along behind them, arrayed in his red shirt, which looked very well in the distance; he gained fast on the fugitives, and as the foremost bull was disappearing behind the summit of the swell, we saw him in the act of assailing the hindmost; a smoke sprang from the muzzle of his gun, and floated away before the wind like a little white cloud; the bull turned upon him, and just then the rising ground concealed them both from view.

We were moving forward until about noon, when we stopped by the side of the Arkansas.  At that moment Shaw appeared riding slowly down the side of a distant hill; his horse was tired and jaded, and when he threw his saddle upon the ground, I observed that the tails of two bulls were dangling behind it.  No sooner were the horses turned loose to feed than Henry, asking Munroe to go with him, took his rifle and walked quietly away.  Shaw, Tete Rouge, and I sat down by the side of the cart to discuss the dinner which Delorier placed before us; we had scarcely finished when we saw Munroe walking toward us along the river bank.  Henry, he said, had killed four fat cows, and had sent him back for horses to bring in the meat.  Shaw took a horse for himself and another for Henry, and he and Munroe left the camp together.  After a short absence all three of them came back, their horses loaded with the choicest parts of the meat; we kept two of the cows for ourselves and gave the others to Munroe and his companions.  Delorier seated himself on the grass before the pile of meat, and worked industriously for some time to cut it into thin broad sheets for drying.  This is no easy matter, but Delorier had all the skill of an Indian squaw.  Long before night cords of raw hide were stretched around the camp, and the meat was hung upon them to dry in the sunshine and pure air of the prairie.  Our California companions were less successful at the work; but they accomplished it after their own fashion, and their side of the camp was soon garnished in the same manner as our own.

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The Oregon Trail: sketches of prairie and Rocky-Mountain life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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