All things being thus arranged, Mr. Stuart and his little band, now seven in number, took leave of the three hardy trappers, wishing them all possible success in their lonely and perilous sojourn in the wilderness; and we, in like manner, shall leave them to their fortunes, promising to take them up again at some future page, and to close the story of their persevering and ill-fated enterprise.
The Snake River Deserts.—Scanty
Travellers—Prowling Indians—A Giant Crow Chief.—A Bully
Rebuked—Indian Signals.—Smoke on the Mountains.—Mad
River.—An Alarm.—An Indian Foray—A Scamper.—A Rude
Indian joke.—A Sharp-Shooter Balked of His Shot.
On the 1st of September, Mr. Stuart and his companions resumed their journey, bending their course eastward, along the course of Snake River. As they advanced the country opened. The hills which had hemmed in the river receded on either hand, and great sandy and dusty plains extended before them. Occasionally there were intervals of pasturage, and the banks of the river were fringed with willows and cottonwood, so that its course might be traced from the hilltops, winding under an umbrageous covert, through a wide sunburnt landscape. The soil, however, was generally poor; there was in some places a miserable growth of wormwood, and a plant called saltweed, resembling pennyroyal; but the summer had parched the plains, and left but little pasturage. The game, too, had disappeared. The hunter looked in vain over the lifeless landscape; now and then a few antelope might be seen, but not within reach of the rifle. We forbear to follow the travellers in a week’s wandering over these barren wastes, where they suffered much from hunger, having to depend upon a few fish from the streams, and now and then a little dried salmon, or a dog, procured from some forlorn lodge of Shoshonies.
Tired of these cheerless wastes, they left the banks of Snake River on the 7th of September, under guidance of Mr. Miller, who having acquired some knowledge of the country during his trapping campaign, undertook to conduct them across the mountains by a better route than that by Fort Henry, and one more out of the range of the Blackfeet. He proved, however, but an indifferent guide, and they soon became bewildered among rugged hills and unknown streams, and burnt and barren prairies.
At length they came to a river on which Mr. Miller had trapped, and to which they gave his name; though, as before observed, we presume it to be the same called Bear River, which empties itself into Lake Bonneville. Up this river and its branches they kept for two or three days, supporting themselves precariously upon fish. They soon found that they were in a dangerous neighborhood. On the 12th of September, having encamped early, they sallied forth with their rods to angle for their supper. On returning, they