During the summer of 1850, the Indians made their home in the Rocky Mountains, maybe the Dakotas or Utah are as far as I could tell from reading. This is when the Texas Ranger finally made his escape, mounted on a good horse and followed by a mule the whole way.
The Ranger tells of butchering the mule for food in a very dense stand of timber he was hiding in that night and then the terror that ensued at his bloody campsite. He links limb crashing and screaming behavior to panthers and wolves. Predators approach silently and to think a wolf or panther would make a racket crashing around in the brush would be a stretch. (Panthers usually stalk silently) I guess it takes a lot to scare a Texas Ranger; he was terrified. His story follows:
"I sat down on the buffalo hide at the foot of a cedar tree and leaned against its trunk. Here, a new terror awaited me I had not anticipated. The mule's blood had been scented by wild beasts, wolves and panthers, which began to scream. Nearer and nearer they approached until the horse snuffed and snorted, and I could hear their teeth snap, and the dry sticks crackle beneath their feet. A dozen times I was on the point of ascending the tree, momentarily expecting to be attacked. With such a crash would they break through the thicket that many times I bounded to my feet, thinking the Indians had found me. It was a fearful night, and the most fearful sound that has ever fallen on my ears is the scream of the panther, so like is it to the plaintive, agonizing shriek of a human being. The fortunate resolution I had taken to build a fire undoubtedly kept them off. That night taught me a lesson not thenceforward to be forgotten, that is to say never to camp where I had killed my game."
Texas Ranger Nelson Lee, circa 1850
Excerpt courtesy "Lariat One"
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011
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