The Indians were now not more than half a mile away and coming on at full speed, with wild yells and whoops, confident of making a splendid capture.
Directing the officers what course to take, Buffalo Bill saw them start off at full speed while he remained quietly seated upon his splendid horse Brigham, a steed that equaled Sable Satan for speed and endurance.
It was evident that the red-skins were surprised at beholding a single horseman standing so calmly in their path, and awaiting their coming, and the party in flight looked back in great alarm as they saw that Buffalo Bill did not move, appearing like a bronze statue of horse and rider.
“What could it mean?”
“Was he mad?”
And many more were the comments made by the party, while the Indians were equally as inquisitive upon the subject.
Nearer and nearer came the rushing band, for what had two hundred mounted warriors to fear from one man?
Nearer and nearer, until presently Buffalo Bill was seen to raise his rifle, and a perfect stream of fire seemed to flow out of the muzzle, while the shots came in rapid succession.
It was a Winchester repeating rifle, and Buffalo Bill had been testing it thoroughly.
And the result was such that the Indians drew rein, for down in the dust had gone several of their number, while half a dozen ponies had been killed by the shots; in fact, fired into the crowded mass of men and horses, nearly every discharge had done harm.
With a wild, defiant war-cry, Buffalo Bill wheeled and rode away, loading his matchless rifle as he ran.
It did not take long for Brigham to over-take the horses in advance, and warm congratulations followed, for the officers and ladies had seen the daring scout check the entire band of red-skins.
But though temporarily stunned by the effects of the shots, for the Indians had not seen repeating rifles in those days, they soon rallied and came on once more at full speed.
And again did the scout drop behind and await their coming, to once more administer upon the amazed warriors a check that made them more cautious, for they kept out of range.
Yet they kept up the chase all day, and only drew off when the fort came in view, and the party arrived in safety in its walls.
Capturing A herd of 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 in sight of the camp, pitched at the head of a valley, and saw below a large herd of horses grazing.