Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace

By John M. Burke; Chris Dixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
A Most Famous Ride

In the spring of 1868, at the outbreak of the violent Indian war, General Sheridan, from his headquarters at Hays City, dispatched Cody as guide and scout to Captain Parker1 at Fort Larned. Several bands of Comanches and Kiowas were in the vicinity, and Buffalo Bill, after guiding General Hazen and an escort of twenty men to Fort Zarah,2 thirty miles distant, started to return to Larned alone. At Pawnee Rock,3 about half-way, he found himself suddenly surrounded by about forty warriors. By professions of friendship and warm greeting of “How, how!” Bill saw he could alone depend on cunning and strategy to escape. Being taken before Satanta,4 who Bill knew was expecting, a short time before, a large herd of cattle which had been promised by General Hazen, he boldly complained to the wily chief of his treatment, and informed him that he had been ordered to find him and deliver “a big heap lot whohaws.” The cupidity of old Satanta enabled Bill to regain his arms. Although declining an escort, he was followed, much to his alarm, by a dozen well-mounted redskins. Keeping up “a heap of thinking,” Cody at last reached a depression that hid him from view, and succeeded, by putting the mule at his highest speed, in getting fully a mile in advance before the trailers discovered his object.

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