Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

Teaching the Pawnees a Lesson

By the time all this mischief had been done, Napoleon was ready to attend to his own business once more, and I rode among the company to find the people in such a state of panic and fear as one would hardly credit.

"Get your rifles and follow me!" I shouted as I rushed forward, and it is quite certain that more than one of the men cried after me to come back, for all were so terrified that they would have suffered the loss of the stock rather than make any attempt at reclaiming it.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

It must not be supposed that I am trying to make it appear as if I was wondrously brave in thus giving chase. I knew from the experience gained while with my father, that there is but one way to treat these savages, and that is to put on a bold front.

After doing any mischief the Indians would go farther and farther, until having accomplished all their desires, if their victims made no attempt to defend themselves; therefore it was necessary that we make a decided stand.

I knew full well that if we pursued, these Pawnees, as I judged them to be, would speedily be brought to their senses. Whereas if we remained idle in camp they would run off all the stock, and for us to lose that herd of cows at the very outset of the journey would indeed have been disastrous.

It was fortunate for those under my charge that they followed as I commanded, even though they did not do so willingly. When we had ridden at our best pace six miles or more, we came upon all except three of the cows who, wearied with their mad race, were now feeding; but not a feather of an Indian could be seen.

That the Pawnees knew we were coming in pursuit, there could be no doubt, and because they were not in war paint I understood that they must have an encampment near by.

Therefore, as soon as we had rounded up the cattle, I told John Mitchell it was our duty to search for the Indian camp, and there demand that they return to us, or aid us in searching for, the cows we failed to find.