As the manner of taking wild horses should not be generally known to my readers, I will relate it here in few words. The Indian who wishes to capture some horses, mounts one of his fleetest coursers, being armed with a long cord of horsehair, one end of which is attached to his saddle, and the other is a running noose. Arrived at the herd, he dashes into the midst of it, and flinging his cord, or lasso, passes it dexterously over the head of the animal he selects; then wheeling his courser, draws the cord after him; the wild horse, finding itself strangling, makes little resistance; the Indian then approaches, ties his fore and hind legs together, and leaves him till he has taken in this manner as many as he can. He then drives them home before him, and breaks them in at leisure.
Meeting with the Widow of a Hunter.—Her Narrative.—Reflections of the Author.—Priest’s Rapid.—River Okenakan.—Kettle Falls.—Pine Moss.—Scarcity of Food.—Rivers, Lakes, &c.—Accident.—A Rencontre.—First View of the Rocky Mountains.
On the 17th, the fatigue I had experienced the day before, on horseback, obliged me to re-embark in my canoe. About eight o’clock, we passed a little river flowing from the N.W. We perceived, soon after, three canoes, the persons in which were struggling with their paddles to overtake us. As we were still pursuing our way, we heard a child’s voice cry out in French—“arretez donc, arretez donc”—(stop! stop!). We put ashore, and the canoes having joined us, we perceived in one of them the wife and children of a man named Pierre Dorion, a hunter, who had been sent on with a party of eight, under the command of Mr. J. Reed, among the Snakes, to join there the hunters left by Messrs. Hunt and Crooks, near Fort Henry, and to secure horses and provisions for our journey. This woman informed us, to our no small dismay, of the tragical fate of all those who composed that party. She told us that in the month of January, the hunters being dispersed here and there, setting their traps for the beaver, Jacob Regner, Gilles Leclerc, and Pierre Dorion, her husband, had been attacked by the natives. Leclerc, having been mortally wounded, reached her tent or hut, where he expired in a few minutes, after having announced to her that her husband had been killed. She immediately took two horses that were near the lodge, mounted her two boys upon them, and fled in all haste to the wintering house of Mr. Reed, which was about five days’ march from the spot where her husband fell. Her horror and disappointment were extreme, when she found the house—a log cabin—deserted, and on drawing nearer, was soon convinced, by the traces of blood, that Mr. Reed also had been murdered. No time was to be lost in lamentations, and she had immediately fled toward the mountains south of the Wallawalla, where, being impeded by the depth