Violence Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
Sexual Violence Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of sexual violence and/or their aftermath. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depiction and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.
Love/Sex Warning/Disclaimer: There are blatant discussions, references and description of sexual relations between consenting adults. You must be over the age of 18 and it must not be a crime to read material of this nature at your present location. Some of the scenes depicted are explicit. If this bothers you, you should find other reading material.
Language Warning: The language is representative of street language. Therefore is quite vulgar. You must be over the age of 18 and it must not be a crime to read material of this nature at your present location. If this bothers you, you should find other reading material.
A special thanks to beta reader archaeo bard.
Pa'd been gone too long. He went after meat mo than two hourn ago. I knowed he war in some trouble. So I picked up my 36 caliber Ballard and Pa two saddle pistols and went alookin'.
About three miles out I heared some shootin'. So, I follered the shots and found Pa hunkered down behind a deadfall. Thar war nigh on to twenty Crows. Two war down, but thar war aplenty mo awaitin'.
Well, my Pa had taught me one thin. Keep yourn head in a fight. It'd do Pa no good for me to come arunnin' and git myself trapped with him. I seen one Crow injunin' round to Pa's left. I knowed Pa couldn't see him. So, I sighted him with my Ballard and eased off a round. Then, I changed my position. I knowed whar I put my shot, no uset lettin' them git a bead on me.
I reloaded by Ballard and circled closer. They war arushin' Pa. I guessed they'd figured to finish Pa and then trap me. I nailed another one with my Ballard then pulled the saddle pistols. I rushed up and took two morn. I seen Pa go down. So I pulled my pick and lit into the one leaning over Pa. I felt him slack under my pick.
It looked bad my pistol were empty and thar war nigh on to eight Crow left. I took a tomahawk off one dead Crow and waited for their charge. It never came. Some Cheyenne showed instead.
Cheyenne and Crow war natural enemies. They'd been awatchin' the show from the hills. When they seen me make my fight, they war impressed. So, they decided to finish off them other Crows. Besides, as Iron Belly put it, one enemy to Crows is a good thin.
When Ma died, six-yearen back, Pa took me to the hills with me. Before he settle with Ma, who was half Navajo, my Pa had been a mountain man. Knowin' no other way, Pa taught me to be mo injun than any injun. I got my height and my blue eyes from Pa. I got my black hair and bronze skin from Ma.
Pa shaped up bad. He had four wounds; one was already festerin'. I patched the holes, like I done so many times in the past six yearen. I made the poultices, but I knowed it warn't no hep. Pa's leg was rotten and he was screamin' so bad. I din't know wat to do. I tried to cut it off and seal it with tar, but Pa died before I finished.
I laid him in that cabin and set it ablaze. Iron Belly'd said I could winter with the Cheyenne. But I wonted dead Crows. And that started my year war with the Crow nation.
The Crows had jest made peace with Jeremiah Johnson. They din't wont no war with me. But they had no choice. My war was different. They'd hunted on Johnson I was huntin' them.
Her name war Rebecca O'Donnell, I din't knowed her then. I war trappin' North of the South Passage at the time. She was in Springfield, Illinois marrying Zebulan Smith. He war a Mormon in Springfield on Church bidness. I wouldn't meet her 'til a year later.
Becca war a bright and eager girl of 16. Her friend Millison war married last month. Now, she meets this hamson lawyer from out west and she's smitten. Thar's a short courtship and war married a few weeks later.
He stayed for three months straightening out church bidness with the State of Illinois. When he war finished, he took his pregnant wife to join a wagon train to Salt Lake City.
While they war in Springfield Zebulan had been a good and attentive husband. He ain't bother her none about being a Catholic. Her religion war second fiddle to her new family. But when they joined the wagon train of Mormons, he changed.
At first, she thought she had made him mad for some reason. She din't understand. Then, her position war made clear to her in Council Bluffs. Thar been 'nother fight when Becca confronted her husband, "I sure hope you do not treat me in this manner in front of our child."
"You needn't worry about the child. My sister does not think you a fit mother to raise a child. So when the child is born, she will raise. You will have nothing to do with the child. My sister is right. You bewitched me with your strawberry hair and your green eyes. You seduced me with you feminine body. You are a witch. And when we get to Utah, we will see about cleansing you."
Becca war broken. She hundreds of mile from home and married to a weak man run by his sister, who war evil with jealousy.
Two months later, I rode into Fort Bridger aleadin' a string of six mules. They war loaded with beaver, fox and buffalo. As I rode in I seen Jim, he seemed happy to see me. He came up to my pony and said, "Nice to see Notaxe Ma'exanestse. I'll see to you possibles. I have a room waitin' for ya."
"Jim, I ain't been here in nigh on to three yearens. So why're ya savin' me a room."
"Ol' Lazy Eye Jake seen yourn string by a Crow camp two days back. Figured you'd bloody them a bit and come on in. By the way Notaxe, same rules no fightin' in site of the Fort."
"My word, Jim."
"That's good enuff fer me, Mar. By the way, thar's an English guy overto the sutter's buyin' scalps for 8 dollars apiece. He payin' in gold and silver."
"I'm needin' a drink any who. I'll jest mossy on over thar and see the gent."
"How many this time, Mar?"
"The Crow bled enuff fer your Pa, Mar."
"Jest checkin'. Runnin' Deer wonts peace."
"I heared. Later, Jim."
Rockwell Porter rode into Fort Bridger with five of his Avenging Angels and went to see Jim Bridger. He had trouble that took a better Mountain Man than him to fix. He found Bridger rait off.
"Porter," Jim acknowledge with a nod, "Who y'all ahuntin'?"
"Brigham sent me Jim. We be needin' hep. Three-day back we got word that a wagon train of new settlers was trapped up in the Three Mesa by an early snow. As near as we kin figure they've been trapped thar for 16 days."
"Hell, Porter, y'all need to git thar quick. Y'all may be in luck though. Mar Hunter is here."
"Whar is she?"
Zebulan Smith war drunk agin. He loved Becca, but he couldn't fight his sister. So he drank 'til he couldn't think. They war way off the normal route. He knew it, but everybody war afeared of his sister. And she war shore of thar route.
He war worried bout his wife and baby. Since the boy war born, Zebulan warnt so shore bout his sister. He warnt sober and warnt watchin' wont he war doin'. The wagon hit a bump and he fell off the wagon. He hit the ledge hit his head. He held the reins and stopped the hosses.
He war dizzy, when Becca leaned out the wagon and axed, "What happened? Why have we stopped?"
Still dizzy from the fall, he din't see the slick spot. He tried to ketch hisself, but he din't. He fell over the edge. His scream echoed down the canyon. Then, they din't.
I walked in the sutter's and ordered a milk. I hadn't et all day. I war hungry. Besides I hadn't had cow juice in over two yearen. One young cowboy snickered, but war hushed by his amigos. I paid'm no mind. He'd learn or he'd die.
I seen the English gent and walked over to him. I threw my scald string on the table and said, "17 Crows."
He quickly examined them and counted out 6 double eagles and 16 silver dollars. I picked them up and put 'em in my money belt. I seen some looks at my money belt and I said, "Boys thar's nigh on to six thousand in this here belt and all ya haveta do to earn it is set up and keel me."
The boy who had snickered pulled away from his friends and said, "I ain't afear of no woman. Any woman come into a saloon is whore anyway."
"Boy, I give my word. But ya atrying me. Go back to yourn and live a little longer."
A voice called from the door, "That thar is good advice, son. She'll keel ya and eat settin' on your corpse. The Cheyenne call her Warrior Eyes, cause if she sees ya you're dead. The Crow don't call her nuthin', cause they're afraid it might attract her attention. See, she's been at war with them for mo than 12 years now, huh, Mar."
"That's ret Porter."
"So, boy, I'd set if I war ya. Cause ya lucky she gave Jim Bridger her word not to fight."
"How'd cha know I gave that word, Porter?"
"Cause Jim always makes you give 'em that word, so ya don't keel no Crow in his place."
"That's true," ignorin' the boy she walked over to Porter Rockwell and said, "Did Brigham send ya ahuntin' me Porter? I ain't kilt no Crow on Mormon land."
"No, Mar, I need...," he stopped when he seen the Boy was still standin' thar, "son, you better move on. We got bidness to decuss."
When the boy din't move, I turned and looked him in the eye. He musta seen death thar, cause he turned pale white and run off. Porter jest laughed and said, "Wat cha wont, Mar. I'm buying."
"Milk, I ain't et yet."
"Jonathan git us both a milk and two steaks. I ain't et since afore noon yesterday."
"Okay, Porter," replied his man.
I stretched my long legs out into the aisle like I always did and axed, "Wat's the problem that cha need me, Porter."
"Mar, we got a train lost in the Three Mesa Valley. They've been snowed in for 16 days now. You could git 'em out."
"Women and kids?"
"I'll git my string. You load 'em with food and git every ox you kin git your hands on. It'll haveta be ox and sled to git 'em out of thar."
I had a rule men could fetch for themselves, but women and kids war different. I din't expect to find many alive. It would take me 2 or 3 days to locate 'em and another 2 or 3 days to guide 'em out.
Porter Rockwell was feeling much better. If anyone could find and save those settlers it was Mar Hunter. He went to Jim and arranged for supplies. He called his men together to load them onto the mules. One of the younger axed, "How we trust her? She's little more than a heathen. She could just take the supplies and go into the mountains."
"Peter, if Mar hears that, I'll save her the trouble and keel ya myself. Mountain Men have a code they don't break."
"She's not a man, she's a woman. It ain't decent. A woman doing a man's work, it jest ain't decent."
"When that woman was 12 years old, her Pa and her war fought a Crow War Party. She kilt 7 Crow that day, 2 by hand. When her Pa died from his wounds, she went huntin' Crows.
The Crows have a secret name for her that they tell nobody else and that they only whisper. They scear thar children by saying, 'the woman is ahuntin' tonight.' Nobody knows how many Crow's she kilt, but her and God. But everybody knows it's in the hundreds. So, boy, if you wont to keep your hair, you'll watch wat cha say round her."
Porter and his men packed the supplies, while I settled accounts with Jim. I had three hours of light left when I headed out. One youngster gave me a wide berth. With a half smile and a raised eyebrow, I went up to Porter and said, "Telling tales about me agin. Don't the Crows do enuff of that."
"Mar that war 7 Crows you kilt the day they got your Pa."
"Okay, so you're telling the truth and not lies. It's still tales. I don't wont a reputation or I'm goin' to haveta fight every punk, who wonts to be famous."
"Sorry, Mar, you already have a reputation and you earned it."
The next day, thar war a fork in the trail. Becca wonted to go rait, but Sister Ruth blamed Becca for her brother and jest war contrary. Becca said, "Well, I am going right. You can follow her. She has lead off the trail. But you go ahead and listen to her."
Becca pulled off, as she heared her sister-in-law say, "Don't let her that my nephew. My brother didn't wat that harlot to raise my nephew."
One of the men rode a hoss out to stop her, but met the bidness end of her shotgun. He backwatered quick. Then two other people sar the rait and follered after her.
On my second day out, I found sign. Wat war they doing so high up? They war comin' from the Ferry. How'd they git so fer off the trail. Seven wagons war headed deeper into the mountains, not headed out. Three wagons had broke off and war headed out. I'll stop the three wagons and then go git thathers.
I drove the oxen and the mules into a blind canyon and fenced it. Then I cached the supplies. I needed speed now. I found the three wagons rait off. I called out, "Wait up, I've come from Fort Bridger to hep ya. Stop the wagons."
The three wagons pulled and a small thin woman with a big shot gun jumped down from the lead wagon. It war the first time I seen her. So's not to have any misunderstandins I held out my hands and said, "I got supplies and hep from Brigham. Porter Rockwell done axed me to see to ya."
Well the woman may be small, but she war smart. She held her gun steady as she came closer. She warnt no mo than 5' 2". She hadn't been eatin' good. But she had golden har and green eyes. She war rait hansum. "Kin I put my hands down now? I need to git ya set and then find the pilgrims gointa wrong way."
Then the little one's eyes lit up and she said, "I told them they were going the wrong way, but they wouldn't listen to me, because I'm not a Mormon. Fools! What do you want us to do?"
"Well, ma'am, you kin make camp here, while's I go fetch t'others." I handed her a sack with some vittles. "Har's sum supplies. They should last you 'til I gits back with thothers."
"Okay, we'll be here."
That night I found the camp of thather pilgrims. I circled the camp, jest to check it out and said, "Halo, the camp."
"Is someone out there?" replied someone from the camp.
"I'm coming in. I've got supplies from Brigham," I said as I entered the camp.
The camp war in poor shape. It took me the better part of two hours fixing the camp, so's none of freeze during the night. I told 'em how I found thather party. One prime and proper lady said, "What do we care about that heathen? If hadn't been for her husband we wouldn't have had her on the train."
"Maybe if you'd listen to her y'all wouldn't be stuck out in the middle of the mountains dying. Iffin you don't cotton to heathen, maybe I should go. My maw war half Navajo."
One of the men in the back said, "Shut up, Sister Ruth, before she leaves us to die."
An elder stepped forward and said, "My name is Brother Zacharia. I apologize if Sister Ruth offended you. She sometimes forgets, 'Judge not, lest ye be judge and found wanting.' I am sure Brother Brigham would not have sent you, if he thought you lead us astray."
"Mister, I ain't led nobody wrong, yet."
Using the wagons and some deadfalls, we made five sleds to git the people out of the snow. I hooked up the oxen and war raddy to go. They din't want to leave thar possibles, but it war leave 'em or die. I give 'em the choice. They chose to live. I thought it war the rait one.
It was slow goin'. Iffin they din't stop fighting me soon, I war goin' to keel sumtin. First on my list was that Ruth woman. I din't like the way she talked about that golden har gal none. And she kept on agivin' me that evil I.
A 'one-day' trip became a two-day trip. On the third day we were down and could remove the sleds. People kept abeggin' me to go back up and git their possibles, but I told I couldn't. I said, "This here is huntin' ground. Could be Injuns at any time. We need to hightail it to Fort Bridger."
The next day we caught up with thather three wagons. We war greeted by the young golden har, green-eyed gal. Nobody greeted her. Nobody came near her. She jest walked up to me and said, "I have supper made. You can eat with me."
I said, "Wouldn't mind that atol, ma'am."
She led me back to her fire. Thar war a small baby in a crib near the fire. The young gal said, "This is my son, Mathew."
"Is ya husband goin to mind me settin' at yar fire?"
"Hardly, he died the week in the mountains. He fell off the wagon and over a ledge. We din't find his body to bury him."
"I'm sorry to hear of your loss, ma'am."
"Thank you for concern. He wasn't much of a man, but I loved him. My name is Rebecca Smith. I may have caused you some problems by asking you to my fire. It was rather selfish on my part. Since, I am not a Mormon and was only married to a Mormon, they just tolerate me. They pretty much shun my company. I was lonely."
"Ma'am, it's thar loss. I like the company rait fine."
"Well, the stew is ready. Would you like to eat?"
"Ma'am my stomach's so empty, it thinks my throat's cut."
I watched that little lady dish me a huge plate of stew and thar war fresh bread. Well, I don't to tell ya how fast I cleaned my plate and held it out for mo. If ya ever tasted my cooking ya'd knowed why. This war a treat. The little lady was on her third plate, when she said, "I found some dried apples in that sack you left. So save some room for apple fritters."
"Ma'am ya made bear claws? Ma'am, ya let out ya kin make bear claws and ya have a new husband before we reach Bridger."
Then I seen I said sumtin wrong and I said, "I'm sorry for wat I said. I din't mean nuthin' by it. I'm not round people much. I don't git much practice at talkafying."
"I'm not upset about that. I just don't want to go to Fort Bridger."
"My husband's family has threatened to take Matthew from me, when we get to the settlements. They don't think I'm a fit mother for a Mormon baby. They are blaming me for my husband's death. They say he was being punished by God for marrying me."
"Ma'am, they's crazy. God don't judge people by wat they believe. He judges 'em by wat they do. And I seen ya ere a good woman."
"Please call me Becca. Ma'am makes me sound so old."
"Yes, Ma'am, I mean Becca. Ya kin call me Mar."
"Mar, help me. I'm begging you. You are my only hope. Don't let them take my baby."
"Becca, don't cha worry yar pretty little head. Ain't nobody makin' ya do nuttin' y'all don't wanna do. Y'all have my word on it. By the way, Becca, is one of ya husband's kin, that Sister Ruth?"
"Yes, she is his sister."
"Becca, I wanchu to pack yar wagon and be ready to move before first light. I wanchu to drive ya wagon due east for two hours. Ya should come to a dry riverbed. I wanchu to wait thar.
I ain't goin' to snow ya. My plan is plum dangerous. Y'all be by yaself for neigh on to four hours. The only thin' I kin do is give ya my totem," I took from round my neck and handed to her, "iffin ya meet some Injuns show 'em the totem."
At first light, Becca'd been gone an hour. Sister Ruth war fit to be tied. For wished all sorts of ungodly things to happen Becca in the name of God. She fussed and argued and pleaded and demanded that Brother Zacharia to retrieve her nephew. It war hard keepin' a straight face when Brother Zacharia got round to axin' me to go git 'er. So's I said, "I kint do that. Thar ere six wagons here. They's a much bigger targit than one lone wagon. No, I'll git ya a goin', scout round a bit. Then, iffin, it's safe, I'll go backtrail 'er."
Sister Ruth warnt satisfied, she done said, "How do we know you aren't in this together. You two were thick as thieves last night?"
"You don't," I said as I walked to my hoss, "Git agoin'. We needs to be amovin'. We's burnin' daylight."
And I rode off afore had a chance to ax anymo questions. I won't lie. Iffin somebody war to ax specific like, I would've had to tell. I pushed the train hard for two hours. Then, I goes to Brother Zacharia and tells 'im, "Push on in this here direction for three days until you come to a small stream. Wait fer me thar. Iffin I'm not back afore 3 o'clock on the fourth day, y'all cross the stream and foller it. It'll bring you to sight of Bridger.
Becca war nervous 'til I got thar. To her credit though, she warnt scared none. It took me three hourn to git to whar she war. The trip to my cabin the mountain'd take fourteen hourn. So's we traveled four hourn 'til dusk. We'd a cold camp to keep out of trouble.
First light, we set out to my cable. She'd be safe thar 'til I came back. It warnt much, jest three rooms and a loft, but it war tight and the chimney gave good heat.
It bein' middle of September, the weather war aturnin' cold this high up. Snows war acomin' a little higher up. So I tells her, "Becca, thar's plenty of wood, so's stays warm and inside. I shouldn't be gone hardly atol. Thar plenty supplies inside. That thar is the smokehouse. Thar's meat ahangin'. I'll be fetchin' back enuff from Bridger to last the winter and then some.
When, I gits back, we'll talk. Then, y'all kin do wat'n ya wanna do. I'll hep any way that I kin. But stay close to the cabin. Make yarself to home. Keep yar weapon loaded and to hand. Iffin it ain't Crows, it's liken to be friendly. Iffin it's Crow, shoot to keel."
Before she could answer, I rode off to ketch the wagon train. I circled round and looked to see she war okay and sar she war unloaded, so I starts to leave. Then's I spies a shadder. I injuns over to the shadder and sees my friend Nese Okohkeo'o (Two Crows) watchin' Becca.
I leveled my rifle and cocked the hammer. Two Crows froze like a statue. After a while, he eased round and sar it war me. He smiled and said in Cheyenne, "Notaxe Ma'exanestse, you are an evil woman. I thought I was going to join my ancestors."
I replied in Cheyenne, "Two Crows shouldn't go sneaking around my cabin. I could have thought he was a Crow. Then I would have sent a friend to his ancestors."
"I had no fear of that mistake. You are too smart for that. I didn't want to scare the golden woman and her child. She might have mistaken me for a Crow."
"You right about that. Listen, I have to go. Can you keep an eye on her? No living Crow knows this place, but I fear for her safety. Some of her kin mean her harm."
"We are blood brothers. Many times we saved each other from death. You have only to ask a thing and I will do it."
I took his arm like brothers should and said, "I knew I could count on my brother. Don't let her know you're around. I don't want her to be scared."
Continued in Part 2.