Many Of The Indian Warriors And Hunters
Encamped Around Captain Bonneville Possess From Thirty To Forty
Their horses are stout, well-built ponies, of great
wind, and capable of enduring the severest hardship and fatigue.
The swiftest of them, however, are those obtained from the whites
while sufficiently young to become acclimated and inured to the
rough service of the mountains.
By degrees the populousness of this encampment began to produce
its inconveniences. The immense droves of horses owned by the
Indians consumed the herbage of the surrounding hills; while to
drive them to any distant pasturage, in a neighborhood abounding
with lurking and deadly enemies, would be to endanger the loss
both of man and beast. Game, too, began to grow scarce. It was
soon hunted and frightened out of the vicinity, and though the
Indians made a wide circuit through the mountains in the hope of
driving the buffalo toward the cantonment, their expedition was
unsuccessful. It was plain that so large a party could not
subsist themselves there, nor in any one place throughout the
winter. Captain Bonneville, therefore, altered his whole
arrangements. He detached fifty men toward the south to winter
upon Snake River, and to trap about its waters in the spring,
with orders to rejoin him in the month of July at Horse Creek, in
Green River Valley, which he had fixed upon as the general
rendezvous of his company for the ensuing year.
Of all his late party, he now retained with him merely a small
number of free trappers, with whom he intended to sojourn among
the Nez Perces and Flatheads, and adopt the Indian mode of moving
with the game and grass.
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