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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Colorado History

- Colorado History -
A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner

The following passage is a Cheyenne War Story:
Wolf Road, the Runner

About the year 1839 ten or twelve men, under Standing On The Hill as their leader, set out on the warpath from the camp on the South Platte River. They went south and on the way stopped at Bent's Old Fort on the Arkansas, and there obtained guns, ammunition, blankets, and new knives.

Bent's Fort
An early artist's depiction of Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River.

Colonel Bent usually gave the Cheyenne these things on credit. He did not know all the Indians, but he knew the chiefs, and the leader of any war party commonly vouched for the men with him, giving Colonel Bent the names and relatives of the different men and saying that if the men were killed these relations would pay their debts. As a matter of fact, they always did pay.

Charles BentWilliam Bent
Left: Charles Bent. Right: William Bent.

This party crossed the Arkansas and the Cimarron and when they reached Wolf Creek turned off a little to the east. While crossing the divide between the Arkansas and the Cimarron rivers they lived on horseflesh, for on the divide wild horses were everywhere. Standing On The Hill, a man of great experience, told his young men that before they went into an enemey's camp to capture horses they should wash themselves with mud, in order to rid themselves of the odor of horseflesh that they had been using. Horses greatly feared this smell, and if the men entered the camp smelling of horseflesh, the horses would be afraid of them and would be hard to catch.

After they had crossed Wolf Creek, they saw signs where people had been traveling, but they could not be sure who the people were or where they were going. To find out about this they sent out scouts - Wolf Road, Sun Maker, and Walking Coyote. The main party stopped above the Antelope Hills on the divide between the North and South Canadian, and the scouts set out before daylight. They were told to cross the South Canadian and go to the west of Antelope Hills and to look over the Washita, following up a tributary of the South Canadian and, as usual, traveling in ravines and low places.

As they were traveling up this tributary stream they saw some people come up over a hill. Buffalo were everywhere on the plain. The people who had come in sight rode toward the scouts and began to chase a large herd of buffalo that was not far away. The scouts ran up to the head of the ravine and there hid in a little hollow. Buffalo were falling all about them.

As the scouts lay there watching, one of them looked down the ravine and saw a Kiowa riding across the stream they had followed up. Suddenly the man stopped and turned up the stream in the direction they had come, riding slowly, looking at the ground, and evidently following the tracks they had made. He kept on the stream and just before he reached the place where they lay hidden he turned off their trail and rode up on a side hill to look. The scouts had determined that as soon as he was near enough they must kill him, but that it would not do well to kill him with a gun, for those who were running buffalo would be sure to hear the shot.

When the Kiowa turned off the trail, the scouts crept up a little side ravine and under a bank over which the Kiowa would be likely to come. Presently they saw him approaching. He was looking all over the country, far off, trying to see people, and rode within twenty or thirty feet feet of them without seeing the scouts. All three shot at him with arrows. Walking Coyote shot his horse, Wolf Road's arrow struck in the pommel of the saddle, and Sun Maker's passed through the Kiowa's heart under his arm. The horse gave a great plunge, the man fell off, and the three scouts rushed forward to count coup. Wolf Road reached him first, and then Sun Maker, who also received credit for knocking him off his horse. They dragged the man into the ravine, got his horse and led it down there. They scalped the man and shot the horse again.

The Kiowa was wearing silver hair plates and the horse a good bridle. The scouts recovered their arrows and taking these things started down the creek as they had come. When they had walked to the flat they looked back and could see some Kiowas still cutting up animals, and a few buffalo running. When the reached an open space which they were obliged to cross they got close together one behind the other, stooped down and hung a blanket over themselves and walked across the flat, looking like a buffalo. When they again came to the brush they ran on as fast as they could.

They reached the stream where their party was and found everyone asleep, except one man, who was watching on the hill. They reported what they had done, and Standing On The Hill said to Wolf Road: "Now, my friend, you are the fastest runner; you must stay behind and watch the trail and we will go back. These people will look for the man who is dead and may find our tracks. It will be too dangerous to go on further." They started back.

Wolf Road waited until the party had disappeared over the farthest hill and then seeing nothing, he ran on and at length overtook his people. They ran all that night, slept a little in the morning, and then ran on until late that night, when they rested for a short time.

When they reached the Arkansas River they met a war party going south and talked for some time with friends, learning that the main camp was near by, on the north side of the river. For a little while they said nothing about what they had done, but at length Standing On The Hill drew out the scalp and said: "Friend, this is what we have done. If you will come back with us, we will have a dance." As he said this, Wolf Road snatched the scalp out of his hand and ran toward the main camp, and the others of the party ran after him. No one could overtake him, for he was swiftest of all. He ran about the camp circle singing, and then, going to the lodge where the medicine arrows were kept, he hung the scalp on the bundle as an offering.

Scalp Dance at Bent's Fort
Lieutenant Abert's depiction of a Cheyenne scalp dance at Bent's Fort in 1840.

Interpret the meaning of the above Cheyenne War Story

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- Colorado History In Depth -
Lecture Notes, Reading, and Information:

| The Cheyenne Migration to Colorado |
| The Gratlan Affair, Massacre, Fort Laramie Treaty |

The Cheyenne Social Club
| A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner |
| Cheyenne Traditions and Beliefs, Sacred Stories |
| Horses, Warriors, War Pipe, Sweatlodge Ceremony |
| Cheyenne War Parties and Battle Tactics |
| The Scalp Dance and Other Cheyenne Dances |

Fort Union
| The Sante Fe Trail and Fort Union |
| Sumner - Ninth Military Department / The First Fort Union |
| Early Arrivals to Fort Union, Daily Life at Fort Union |
| Captain Grover - The New Fort Union, the Confederate Threat |
| Fort Union Arsenal, William Shoemaker, End of Fort Union |

Americans from the East
| Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase |
| The Expedition of Zebulon Pike |
| Pikes Peak or Bust / Colorado Gold Rush |

Colorado's Role in the US Civil War
| The Civil War, Fort Wise / Fort Lyon |
| Mace's Hole, Colonel Canby, F.C.V.R. | Fort Weld |
| The Pet Lambs, John Chivington |
| General Henry Sibly, Battle of Valverde, Fort Union |

Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes
| The Western Federation of Miners / State Militia |
| The 1893 - 1894 Strike | The Strike of 1903 - 1904 |
| The Mine Owners Association |
| Crimes and Military Rule in the Cripple Creek District |
| Marshall Law in Cripple Creek District / End of the Strike |
Early Cripple Creek District
| Photos, Fire, and Life in Cripple Creek |
| Other Colorful Towns in the Cripple Creek District:
Gillett - Colorado's Only Bullfight, Victor, Independence
| A Guide to the Miners' Gritty Lingo |

More Colorado History Information
| Bent's Fort Photos, Personalities, Plans, and More |

| What Was Easter Like at Bent's Fort? |
| Colorado Trivia, Miscellaneous Old Photos,
Western Personalities, Forts, and More

| Lullabies for Jittery Cows - Cowboy Ballads |
| Heraldry of the Branding Iron |
| Project Aims to Clear Infamous Cannibal, Alferd Packer |
Lead Gives Alferd Packer's Story More Weight |
| Legendary Colorado Love Stories: Baby Doe Tabor & More |
| Colorado Pioneer Women: Elizabeth Byers |
| Early Denver Jokes / The History of April Fools' Day |

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Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
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