continuing from yesterday (Kurz Journal 5.0) we are still on September 23, 1851, and while returning from the bison chase Rudi Kurz heard the story of mustang capture that did not end well:
On our way home Mackenzie pointed out to me on the left bank of the Yellowstone a prairie where several years ago he caught a wild mare — an adventure that came to a tragic end.
|Kurz drawing of horses|
He was riding the fleet-footed John at the time and found that he was some distance ahead of the pack horses that were to carry the meat as usual to the fort as soon as he should have the luck to kill a buffalo.
In the distance he saw a drove of dark-colored animals grazing ; he directed his course so as to gain the wind and take them by surprise. He made ready his rifle and gave fiery John the reins as soon as he thought the distance favorable.
But when he got sight of the herd again he saw that they were not buffaloes at all, but wild horses. As the horses took to flight immediately, for they were just as shy as the former, Mackenzie laid his gun across his lap and seized his lasso of twisted leather, fixed the noose, and pursued the fleeing herd at a riotous gallop. John soon drew near his wild blood relations and Mackenzie selected from among them a black mare that was accompanied by a young foal. He rode after her and with his right hand swung the lasso, catching her head in the noose, while, with his left hand, he held fast to the other end of the rope. He drew in the thong, choking the imprisoned animal by a violent jerk backward that forced her to stop, while at the same time he reined in his own horse. The foal turned back and kept near its mother, now brought to a stand by means of the choking noose and thereby subdued. Then, with the assistance of Spagnole, who happened to be hurrying by, Mackenzie bound together the mare's feet, so that he could leave her lying there while he followed the chase, for he dared not return home without meat.
Unfortunately he did not find buffaloes as soon as he expected and his return to the place was delayed until the next day, when he found only the colt's head, tail, and feet. The mother also, his captured mare, had already fallen a prey to wolves.