Montana Authors Project

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Like the fool I was, just to show off, I stepped out on the edge of the bank above them, where they could see me well and not fifty feet away from them. I raised the Injun blanket up over my shoulders, and up over the lower part of my face. Assuming a dramatic pose, straight as a ramrod with my broad-brimmed hat pulled down so they could not see the rest of my face, I stood erect as a statue, gazing sternly down at them, with my rifle resting in the hollow of my arm…. The one who was washing the pan of wash...gets a good sight of me. He stands looking at me…finds his voice and yells to the other, "Get, Bill, Injuns, Injuns." His partner fairly leaped. (314-315)…

Now that the weather had changed, the moon of the falling leaves turned white in the blackening sky and White Man's Dog was restless. He chewed the stick of dry meat and watched Cold Maker gather his forces. The black clouds moved in the north in circles, their dance a slow deliberate fury. It was almost night, and he looked back down into the flats along the Two Medicine River. The lodges of the Lone Eaters were illuminated by cooking fires within. (3)…

We were playing against Capitol, and one young kid hit a nice two-out triple off me that first inning, but I struck out the last guy, breaking off one of my old curveballs on the third strike, and as I trotted off the field, I caught Sophie Roberts Melvin Andrews Carroll smiling at me. I was taken back to the first time I'd seen her look at me this way. And it was a good memory. (366)…

Black Jack's was a freight car taken off its wheels and set on gravel at the other end of the bridge crossing the Little Prickly Pear. On the side of the box car was the sign of the Great Northern Railroad, a mountain goat gazing through a white beard on a world painted red. This is the only goat that ever saw the bottom of his world constantly occupied by a bottle of bar whisky labeled "3-7-77," the number the Vigilantes pinned on the road agents they hanged in order to represent probably the dimensions of a grave. (30)…

The mission town of St. Xavier belonged to two ages. The opening up of the Indian reserve brought new townsmen and new houses. The newcomers, after one look at what was before them, moved on and erected their neat clapboard bungalows on the opposite side of Buffalo Creek. Over there they laid a few cement sidewalks, hid their outhouses in woodsheds, planted round flower beds and ran fences around their lots. That was the 'Townsite,' the up-to-date quarter. The old town, which was usually called Indian-Town, was left to itself, but not out of mercy. Its lack of plan and of sanitation saved it. (35)…

We had no trouble in finding the grave. It had been opened, and not by bears or wolves. The half-bleached skeleton of Gray Eagle was lying alongside the shallow pit. The pine saplings had been pulled out, and were piled at one side, with most of the needles dropped off under them, showing, only too plainly, the saplings had been removed while green...Susie [In-who-lise] saw all this, and her wailing death cry again echoed through the silent gulch and hills.... (280)…

They were riding through the big-leaf and spear-leaf trees along the Milk River. A few winters ago, it had been good hunting for the long-legs and wags-his-tails, and, before that, bighorns, real-lions and sticky-mouths. With the settling of the Napikwans, these animals had moved into the Backbone, which loomed above the riders to the west. Rides-at-the-door looked over at Ear Mountain, and, below it, Danger Butte. (270)…

Carter County, my county, forms the far southeastern corner [of Montana], sprawling like an old wool blanket spread carelessly across the ground, complete with ridges, wrinkles, hollows, and an occasional hole. The closest thing Carter County can claim to a mountain is the buttes—a series of sandstone flattops that look like the beginning of mountains, as though some ambitious fellow came along and started building a mountain ridge, but didn't have the energy to finish it. Finger Buttes cross the county at an angle, south to northwest, like giant stones laid out to keep the wind from blowing the blanket away. (2)…

Early next morning Paul picked me up in Wolf Creek, and we drove across Rogers Pass where the thermometer is that stuck at three-tenths of a degree short of seventy below. As usual, especially if it were early in the morning, we sat silently respectful until we passed the big Divide, but started talking the moment we thought we were draining into another ocean. Paul nearly always had a story to tell in which he was the leading character but not the hero. (13)…

The center of life was the mission church.... Plain as it was, the hovels which were set against it gave it an air of grandeur.... Each cabin faced the church. Each door—there were no windows—gave a full view of God's tall house and the cropped poplar trees around it. The newcomers saw only the confusion. (35)…
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