A region of natural curiosities The plain of white clay Hot springs The Beer Spring Departure to seek the free trappers Plain of Portneuf Lava Chasms and gullies Bannack Indians Their hunt of the buffalo Hunter's feast Trencher heroes Bullying of an absent foe The damp comrade The Indian spy Meeting with Hodgkiss His adventures Poordevil Indians Triumph of the Bannacks Blackfeet policy in war
It was a party of twenty-five Bannack Indians, friendly to the whites, and they proposed, through their envoy, that both parties should encamp together, and hunt the buffalo, of which they had discovered several large herds hard by.
Some men are said to wax valorous upon a full stomach, and such seemed to be the case with the Bannack braves, who, in proportion as they crammed themselves with buffalo meat, grew stout of heart, until, the supper at an end, they began to chant war songs, setting forth their mighty deeds, and the victories they had gained over the Blackfeet.
Having vented their valor in this fierce effervescence, the Bannack braves gradually calmed down, lowered their crests, smoothed their ruffled feathers, and betook themselves to sleep, without placing a single guard over their camp; so that, had the Blackfeet taken them at their word, but few of these braggart heroes might have survived for any further boasting.
At one time, they had made their way through them, and reached the Boisee River; but meeting with a band of Bannack Indians, from whom they apprehended hostilities, they had again taken shelter among the mountains, where they were found by Captain Bonneville.
The bargain concluded, the Bannacks set off for their village, which was situated, they said, at the mouth of the Portneuf, and Captain Bonneville and his companions shaped their course toward Snake River.
On his route, he encountered many heavy falls of snow, which melted almost immediately, so as not to impede his march, and on the 4th of December, he found his other party, encamped at the very place where he had partaken in the buffalo hunt with the Bannacks.
The Bannacks immediately posted themselves on each side of a dark ravine, through which the enemy must pass, and, just as they were entangled in the midst of it, attacked them with great fury.