Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Joe Meek Stands Guard:

One cold night, Meek was put on guard on the further side of the camp, with a veteran named Reese.  But neither the veteran nor the youngster could resist the approaches of " tired Nature's sweet restorer," and went to sleep at their post of duty.  When, during the night, Sublette came out of his tent and gave the challenge-- " All's well! " there was no reply.  To quote Meek's own language, "Sublette came round the horse-pen swearing and snorting. He was powerful mad.  Before he got to where Reese was, he made so much noise that he waked him; and Reese, in a loud whisper, called to him, 'Down, Billy! Indians!'  Sublette got down on his belly mighty quick. 'Whar? Whar?' he asked.

'They were right there when you hollered so,' said Reese.

'Where is Meek ?' whispered Sublette.

'He is trying to shoot one,' answered Reese, still in a whisper.

Reese then crawled over to whar I war, and told me what had been said, and informed me what to do.  In a few minutes I crept cautiously over to Reese's post, when Sublette asked me how many Indians-had been thar, and I told him I couldn't make out their number.  In the morning a pair of Indian moccasins war found whar Reese saw the Indians, which I had taken care to leave there; and thus confirmed, our story got us the credit of vigilance, instead of our receiving our just dues for neglect of duty.

From Joe Meek: River of the West.

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