- Historic Sites
Graves And Grizzlies
A search for a desecrated corpse, an encounter with a 900-pound bear, and a night of terror in Montana, 1879.
June 1967 | Volume 18, Issue 4
As I approached with the horses closer to the graves, all reverence for Gray Eagle and Red Heart vanished, to be replaced by a superstitious dread that bordered on panic. What other kind of devilry had the spirits in store for me? Would my powerful charms save me again or would the spirits get me before I could get out of this accursed gulch? As though to add to my torture, the horses in the lead, as they came up to the small pine thicket where Red Heart’s grave lay, seeing the fresh dirt mound, came to a halt. With their suspicions aroused, they refused to go past Red Heart’s grave and stood there sniffing and snorting, ready to wheel around and stampede back up the gulch. Again I sweat some, and I was not sorry to see them continue in the right direction. The rest of the bunch, with a whistling snort and shying bolt, wildly sprang past Red Heart’s grave, bucking and squealing and following the leaders. As soon as the last horse was past, I gave my saddle horse the quirt, and in a bound or two I rode wildly up behind the bunch, furiously slashing at the rear horses with my quirt. I kept them on the run. Leaping, snorting, and shying, they went past Gray Eagle’s grave, and I kept them on the dead run until they came out of the gulch and onto the main trail in the valley. None too sorry that I was leaving behind this hoodoo gulch forever, casting glances behind me, as though the devil was still after me, I sent the horses flying down the trail until I came near camp. Susie was safe and anxiously awaiting my return.
She was now as anxious to leave there as I was, and she had everything packed up for our immediate departure. So after our meager breakfast it did not take us long to pack up. Leaving the dead grizzly lying there, I headed my horse down the trail, followed by the pack horses in single file. As I was starting off, I watched Susie out of the corner of my eye, to see what she would do, now that we are leaving. After a glance or two in the direction of the gulch in which all that was once mortal of her father lay, she swung her pony around and came on behind, driving the bunch.