There was once a young man whose parents were not overburdened with

the riches of this world, and consequently could not dress their

only son in as rich a costume as the other young men of the tribe,

and on account of not being so richly clad as they, he was

looked down upon and shunned by them. He was never invited to take

part in any of their sports; nor was he ever asked to join any of

the war parties.

In the village lived an old man with an only daughter. Like the

other family, they were poor, but the daughter was the belle of the

tribe. She was the most sought after by the young men of the

village, and warriors from tribes far distant came to press their

suit at winning her for their bride. All to no purpose; she had

the same answer for them as she had for the young men of the


The poor young man was also very handsome despite his poor clothes,

but having never killed an enemy nor brought home any enemies'

horses he was not (according to Indian rules) allowed to make love

to any young or old woman. He tried in vain to join some of the

war parties, that he might get the chance to win his spurs as a

warrior. To all his pleadings, came the same answer: "You are not

fit to join a war party. You have no horses, and if you should get

killed our tribe would be laughed at and be made fun of as you have

such poor clothes, and we don't want the enemy to know that we have

any one of our tribe who dresses so poorly as you do."

Again, and again, he tried different parties, only to be made fun

of and insulted.

One night he sat in the poor tepee of his parents. He was in deep

study and had nothing to say. His father, noticing his melancholy

mood, asked him what had happened to cause him to be so quiet, as

he was always of a jolly disposition. The son answered and said:

"Father, I am going on the warpath alone. In vain I have tried to

be a member of one of the war parties. To all of my pleadings I

have got nothing but insults in return."

"But my son, you have no gun nor ammunition. Where can you get any

and how can you get it? We have nothing to buy one for you with,"

said the father.

"I don't need any weapons. I am going to bring back some of the

enemies' horses, and I don't need a gun for that."

Early the next morning (regardless of the old couple's pleadings

not to go unarmed) the young man left the village and headed

northwest, the direction always taken by the war parties.

For ten days he traveled without seeing any signs of a camp. The

evening of the tenth day, he reached a very high butte, thickly

wooded at the summit. He ascended this butte, and as he sat there

between two large boulders, watching the beautiful rays of the

setting sun, he was suddenly startled to hear the neigh of a horse.

Looking down into the beautiful valley which was threaded by a

beautiful creek fringed with timber, he noticed close to the base

of the butte upon which he sat, a large drove of horses grazing

peacefully and quietly. Looking closer, he noticed at a little

distance from the main drove, a horse with a saddle on his back.

This was the one that had neighed, as the drove drifted further

away from him. He was tied by a long lariat to a large sage bush.

Where could the rider be, he said to himself. As if in answer to

his question, there appeared not more than twenty paces from him a

middle aged man coming up through a deep ravine. The man was

evidently in search of some kind of game, as he held his gun in

readiness for instant use, and kept his eyes directed at every

crevice and clump of bush. So intent was he on locating the game

he was trailing, that he never noticed the young man who sat like

a statue not twenty paces away. Slowly and cautiously the man

approached, and when he had advanced to within a few paces of the

young man he stopped and turning around, stood looking down into

the valley. This was the only chance that our brave young friend

had. Being unarmed, he would stand no show if the enemy ever got

a glimpse of him. Slowly and noiselessly he drew his hunting knife

(which his father had given him on his departure from home) and

holding it securely in his right hand, gathered himself and gave a

leap which landed him upon the unsuspecting enemy's shoulders. The

force with which he landed on the enemy caused him (the enemy) to

lose his hold on his gun, and it went rattling down into the chasm,

forty feet below.

Down they came together, the young man on top. No sooner had they

struck the ground than the enemy had out his knife, and then

commenced a hand to hand duel. The enemy, having more experience,

was getting the best of our young friend. Already our young friend

had two ugly cuts, one across his chest and the other through his


He was becoming weak from the loss of blood, and could not stand

the killing pace much longer. Summoning all his strength for one

more trial to overcome his antagonist, he rushed him toward the

chasm, and in his hurry to get away from this fierce attack, the

enemy stepped back one step too far, and down they both went into

the chasm. Interlocked in each other's arms, the young man drove

his knife into the enemy's side and when they struck the bottom the

enemy relaxed his hold and straightened out stiff and dead.

Securing his scalp and gun, the young man proceeded down to where

the horse was tied to the sage bush, and then gathering the drove

of horses proceeded on his return to his own village. Being

wounded severely he had to ride very slowly. All the long hours of

the night he drove the horses towards his home village.

In the meantime, those at the enemies' camp wondered at the long

absence of the herder who was watching their drove of horses, and

finally seven young men went to search for the missing herder. All

night long they searched the hillsides for the horses and herder,

and when it had grown light enough in the morning they saw by the

ground where there had been a fierce struggle.

Following the tracks in the sand and leaves, they came to the chasm

where the combatants had fallen over, and there, lying on his back

staring up at them in death, was their herder. They hastened to

the camp and told what they had found. Immediately the warriors

mounted their war ponies (these ponies are never turned loose, but

kept tied close to the tepee of the owner), and striking the trail

of the herd driven off by our young friend, they urged forth their

ponies and were soon far from their camp on the trail of our young

friend. All day long they traveled on his trail, and just as the

sun was sinking they caught sight of him driving the drove ahead

over a high hill. Again they urged forth their tired ponies. The

young man, looking back along the trail, saw some dark objects

coming along, and, catching a fresh horse, drove the rest ahead at

a great rate. Again all night he drove them, and when daylight

came he looked back (from a high butte) over his trail and saw

coming over a distant raise, two horsemen. These two undoubtedly

rode the best ponies, as he saw nothing of the others. Driving the

horses into a thick belt of timber, he concealed himself close to

the trail made by the drove of horses, and lay in ambush for the

two daring horsemen who had followed him so far. Finally they

appeared on the butte from where he had looked back and saw them

following him. For a long time they sat there scouring the country

before them in hopes that they might see some signs of their stolen

horses. Nothing could they see. Had they but known, their horses

were but a few hundred yards from them, but the thick timber

securely hid them from view. Finally one of them arose and pointed

to the timber. Then leaving his horse in charge of his friend, he

descended the butte and followed the trail of the drove to where

they had entered the timber. Little did he think that he was

standing on the brink of eternity. The young man hiding not more

than a hundred yards from him could have shot him there where he

stood, but wanting to play fair, he stepped into sight. When he

did, the enemy took quick aim and fired. He was too hasty. Had he

taken more careful aim he might have killed our young friend, but

his bullet whizzed harmlessly over the young man's head and buried

itself in a tree. The young man took good aim and fired. The

enemy threw up both hands and fell forward on his face. The other

one on the hill, seeing his friend killed, hastily mounted his

horse and leading his friend's horse, made rapidly off down the

butte in the direction from whence he had come. Waiting for some

time to be sure the one who was alive did not come up and take a

shot at him, he finally advanced upon the fallen enemy and securing

his gun, ammunition and scalp, went to his horse and drove the herd

on through the woods and crossing a long flat prairie, ascended a

long chain of hills and sat looking back along his trail in search

of any of the enemy who might continue to follow him.

Thus he sat until the long shadows of the hills reminded him that

it would soon be sunset, and as he must get some sleep, he wanted

to find some creek bend where he could drive the bunch of ponies

and feel safe as to their not straying off during the night. He

found a good place for the herd, and catching a fresh horse, he

picketed him close to where he was going to sleep, and wrapping

himself in his blanket, was soon fast asleep. So tired and sleepy

was he that a heavy rain which had come up, during the night,

soaked him through and through, but he never awakened until the sun

was high in the east.

He awoke and going to the place where he had left the herd, he was

glad to find them all there. He mounted his horse and started his

herd homeward again. For two days he drove them, and on the

evening of the second day he came in sight of the village.

The older warriors, hearing of the young man going on this trip

alone and unarmed, told the parents to go in mourning for their

son, as he would never come back alive. When the people of the

village saw this large drove of horses advancing towards them, they

at first thought it was a war party of the enemy, and so the head

men called the young warriors together and fully prepared for a

great battle. They advanced upon the supposed enemy. When they

got close enough to discern a lone horseman driving this large

herd, they surrounded the horses and lone warrior, and brought him

triumphantly into camp. On arriving in the camp (or village) the

horses were counted and the number counted up to one hundred and

ten head.

The chief and his criers (or heralds) announced through the whole

village that there would be a great war dance given in honor of the

Lone Warrior.

The whole village turned out and had a great war dance that was

kept up three days and three nights. The two scalps which the

young man had taken were tied to a pole which was placed in the

center of the dance circle. At this dance, the Lone Warrior gave

to each poor family five head of horses.

Being considered eligible now to pay his respects to any girl who

took his fancy, he at once went to the camp of the beautiful girl

of the tribe, and as he was always her choice, she at once

consented to marry him.

The news spread through the village that Lone Warrior had won the

belle of the nation for his bride, and this with the great feat

which he had accomplished alone in killing two enemies and bringing

home a great herd of horses, raised him to the rank of chief, which

he faithfully filled to the end of his days. And many times he had

to tell his grandchildren the story of how he got the name of the

Lone Warrior.