As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Everyone knows of Kit Carson and Jim Bridger, but this is the true tale of Belzy Dodd, one of the remarkable American Scouts upon the Great Plains.
Not much comment is necessary, but if you need to know that Indians were terrified of people who were "touched" or insane, the following actions of the Great Scout Belzy Dodd are fitting in his saving Americans.
It was just as the first glimmering of the dawn
had begun to dispel the darkness in the East that
the travelers were startled out of their sleep by
the sharp report of a rifle. Bousing themselves
hurriedly, the men sallied forth to find their
guard lying upon the ground groaning from the
effects of a cruel wound while all about, in the
dim light, they beheld the appalling spectacle of
a score or more of savage forms brandishing
their tomahawks and making the early morning
frightful with their mad cavorting and savage
The traders lost no time in opening fire from
behind their improvised fortress and the trusty
rifle of Belzy Dodd, who was among the first
to rise, had brought down two of the assailants
before his companions fully realized what was
The shots now fell thick and fast; two of the
traders were slightly wounded and one other
who had ventured without to help the stricken
guard was shot dead.
It soon became evident that the attacking band
had been merely a small party sent ahead by a
formidable body of Pawnees, who now arrived
in full force, and the predicament of the traders
became perilous in the extreme.
Whether, in their desperate extremity, it oc-
curred to any of them to demand of Belzy Dodd
that he make good his promise of a saving talis-
man, we are not told. Completely surrounded
by an overwhelming force, they fought gallantly,
reposing their faith in their rifles and satisfied,
no doubt, to see their guide and guest ply the
foe so effectively with his.
Suddenly they were aghast to behold Belzy
drop his rifle and, pulling his hunting-knife from
his belt, dash recklessly forth through the line
of mules and wagons, uttering such deafening
and demoniacal yells as had never before as-
sailed their ears.
Then, standing in the open with the shrieking
savages all about him, and before they had a
chance to recover from their surprise at his bold-
ness, he ran his hunting-knife around under the
edge of his hair, and with a frantic shriek tore
off his jet-black curly shock (which was nothing
more than a wig) and waved it excitedly about
The consternation of the Indians when they
beheld Belzy 's shiny pate and the hair and hunt-
ing-knife which he flourished, cannot be de-
scribed. At the appalling spectacle of this self-
scalped man yelling and cavorting before them,
they fled in panic fright, accompanying their
confused retreat with such clamor as never be-
fore had been heard upon the plains.
Bolzy Dodd was not one to rest upon his in-
itial laurels, like so many heroes but, encouraged
by the effect of his exploit, he pursued the terror-
stricken Pawnees with great zest and relish,
waving his ghastly souvenir like a flaunting
emblem and shrieking like a very demon in their
wake. In their precipitous stampede one of the
Indians stumbled and fell and lay trembling
until a comrade raised him to his feet.
Neither history nor tradition tell us how far
the disorganized retreat of the terrified Pawnees
continued, but judging from the character of
its beginning we may safely aver, in the familiar
words of the old song, that "they never stopped
running until they got home."
As for Belzy, after half an hour or so had
elapsed he sauntered unconcernedly into camp,
swinging his wig in his hand, and with beads
of heroic perspiration standing out on his glossy
pate — the honored testimonials of his triumphant
Thereafter, among the Indians in the neigh- borhood of the Trail, Belzy y s fame was secure. He became known as the white man who scalped himself. That he could do this again and again (as he subsequently did) and each time with apparently a fresh crop of hair, served only to increase their dismay and terror, and the sav- ages, one and all, shunned him like a thing of the devil.
Yes those rural folk are such unintelligent types unlike those raised in the cities.