Sunday, December 05, 2010

Horseless but not gunless, we walked harnessed to the wagon, through the lush prairie grasses, pulling all our worldly possessions behind us.

Food remained plentiful, and we still had our trusty rifles. The horses were stolen from us by the indigenous natives, who valued them more than a man's life it seemed.

At nightfall, we drew up the wagons in a semi-circle. There weren't enough for a whole circle. Then we lit the fires and brewed the coffee till it was stiff in the pot.

We had only three men that could substitute pulling for a horse, and those men were exhausted by now. It was going to be one day travel, one day rest, or nothing. Our journey had just been lengthened to darn near the first snow month. Getting shelters built to last through the winter was going to be difficult or impossible.

We took each day as it came. As long as there was food for supper, we kept on going. Perhaps that wagon was going to be our winter home too. But we'd been told the winters out here were terrible cold. We needed buffalo coats and blankets, and for that we needed to trade with the Indians. All that was left to trade were the guns and the wagons.

Trading the women and children was out of the question. They were pretty weak though and would only drag the men down, come the cold. Maybe one or two of the prettier ones would fetch a high price, high enough to get us back some of those horses we desperately needed.

Unbeknownst, to them I started looking at them, to see which ones might be best suited for trading.

Writing by Regina Stemberger

Photo "d-158 The traveler" by azrasta

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