“In a few moments the mass divided to the right and left, the horns clattering with a noise heard above everything else, and my horse darted into the opening. Five or six bulls charged on us, as we dashed along the line, but were left far behind. Singling out a cow I gave her my fire, but struck too high. She gave a tremendous leap and scoured on swifter than before. I reined up my horse, and the band swept on like a torrent, and left the place quiet and clear. Our chase had led us into dangerous ground. A prairie-dog village, so thickly settled that there were three or four holes in twenty yards square, occupied the whole bottom for nearly two miles in length.”
The Return of the Expedition.
Beautiful Prairie Scene.—Fate of the Buffalo Calf.—Vast Buffalo Herds.—The Fourth of July on the Plains.—Journey up the South Fork of the Platte.—Visit to Fort St. Vrain.—Remonstrance of the Chiefs.—Second Marriage of Mr. Carson.—New Engagements.—Perilous Ride to Santa Fe.—The Successful Mission.—The Noble Mexican Boy.—Conflict with the Savage.—Discomfiture of the Indians.—Fremont’s Second Expedition.—Carson joins the Party.—Course of the Expedition.—Arrival at the Great Salt Lake.
After this exciting and successful buffalo hunt, the caravan in a long dark line advanced over the prairie twenty-four miles, and encamped on the banks of a stream, where they feasted abundantly upon the choicest cuts of buffalo beef. Wolves were howling around them all night, their instinct teaching them that bones would be left there which they would be privileged to gnaw. In the morning the wolves were seen sitting around at a short distance, barking and growling impatiently, waiting for the departure of the caravan.
Resuming their march, they ascended the stream about eighteen miles, where they found a fording-place and crossed over to the northern bank. Here there opened before them a rich and beautiful prairie, bordered with gentle eminences on the north and the south. This prairie extended about twenty miles along the banks of the river and was nearly six miles wide. Its vast expanse was almost as smooth as a gentleman’s lawn, and was waving with a luxuriant growth of grass and flowers. The river was skirted with a slight fringe of willow and cottonwood trees.
As Lieutenant Fremont intended to return by the same route, he concealed here for his homeward journey, in what is called a cache, a barrel of pork. They encamped in the evening upon the open prairie. As there was no wood at hand, they built their fires of the dry excrement of the buffalo. This substance, which was called buffalo chips, burns like turf and forms a very good substitute for wood. Immense numbers of wolves surrounded the camp at night, with an incessant and hideous howling and barking. In the morning, while the explorers were sitting quietly