As all these things ran through the active mind, a party of men moved out of the forest at the edge of the plain
and advanced toward the ruins of the burned bungalow.
The Snake River here wound its devious way between low banks through the great plain of the Three Butes; and was bordered by wide and fertile meadows.
The lofty range of the Three Tetons, those great landmarks of the Rocky Mountains rising in the east and circling away to the north and west of the great plain of Snake River, and the mountains of Salt River and Portneuf toward the south, catch the earliest falls of snow.
The plains were swept by keen and bitter blasts of wintry wind; the ground was generally covered with snow, game was scarce, so that hunger generally prevailed in the camp, while the want of pasturage soon began to manifest itself in the declining vigor of the horses.
The next morning, as we approached the Rio Colorado, the appearance of the country changed; we soon came on a plain covered with turf, which, from its flowers, tall clover, and little owls, resembled the Pampas.
With this important weapon the Indian catches his game, and also his horse, which roams free over the plain. In fighting, his first attempt is to throw down the horse of his adversary with the bolas, and when entangled by the fall to kill him with the chuzo.
The two miserable springs in the long passage between the Rio Negro and Colorado were caused by trifling inequalities in the plain, without them not a drop of water would have been found.
It was even doubtful that I could retrace my steps to Phutra should I once pass beyond view of the plain, and even were that possible, what aid could I bring to Perry no matter how far I wandered?
I have no idea, of course, how long it took me to reach the limit of the plain, but at last I entered the foothills, following a pretty little canyon upward toward the mountains.
The watchers from the plain below could see them flit from rock to rock until their figures stood out against the skyline.
The man staggered to his feet and looked down upon the plain which had been so desolate when sleep had overtaken him, and which was now traversed by this enormous body of men and of beasts.
There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged canons; and there are enormous plains, which in winter are white with snow, and in summer are grey with the saline alkali dust.
This plain, would then be nothing but an immense cemetery, on which would repose the mortal remains of thousands of extinct generations.
Are these plains composed of arid sand, as the first astronomer maintained?
They painted in strong colors, to the poor Canadian voyageurs, the risk they would run of perishing with hunger and thirst; of being cut off by war-parties of the Sioux who scoured the plains
; of having their horses stolen by the Upsarokas or Crows, who infested the skirts of the Rocky Mountains; or of being butchered by the Blackfeet, who lurked among the defiles.