Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

"Big Jim" Kills a Venomous Serpent:

"Having started early the next day, our hunter soon brought in two fine antelope, the sight of which again raised the ambition of Big Jim, who would fain do deeds of equal wonder; and he accordingly strolled off into the hills with that intent.  

After shooting at several of the wary animals without success, he began to get tired of the sport, and concluding the "poverty-stricken" creatures not worth the powder and lead, set his face for the caravan.

Plodding leisurely along, he espied a prairie snake, and, o'erjoyed at the thought of counting a "coup," gathered his rifle by the small, and brought it down with such force, he not only killed the snake, but broke his gun-stock short off at the breech.  With the pieces, one in each hand, he made his appearance before his comrades, who hailed him:

"Hello, Jim.  What's that you've killed?"
"Gun broke.  Why, you must have overloaded it!"
"When'll you go hunting again? 'case I want to go too!"
"Poor Jim! Shoot graass, kill horse, break gun!  Wat in de world does him mean!"
"Never mind, Jim.  Don't be skeered at these fellows.  It takes you to play the devil and break things!"

The above passage is from Rufus Sage in Rocky Mountain Life.  

Big Jim's First Adventure at Guard Duty
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