Our long line of wagons, now brown-topped and dingy, trailing through the sagebrush did not much resemble the shining white train which had stepped off so smartly through the green grass of the Missouri Valley months before. Neither did the ferry which carried us over the Snake River much resemble the big steam ferry which carried us over the Missouri.
One day we reached a smaller stream crossed by a pontoon bridge in which logs were used for pontoons. We stopped, planning to spend a day there to rest our horses and give the people a chance to do laundry work and make needed repairs.
"A good chance to wash some bedding," Mother said. It was very hard to keep our bedding nice. Try as we would always to pitch our tents in clean spots and always to air and shake the blankets carefully, they grew more and more dingy. I wonder how the people who traveled in the dust of the later summer managed to care for theirs.
While Mother was looking over the bedding, the boys got out some fishing tackle and to our joy were soon catching big beautiful trout from a foot to eighteen inches in length.
Almost before our camp was made, however, we were repacking, preparing to go on. A man who had a sutler's camp beside the river near where we stopped was quarreling with an Indian when we arrived. Suddenly the Indian began to scream. I saw him holding up his arm, from which blood was streaming. The man, who had been drinking, had stuck him with a knife. He jumped on a horse and rode away, still holding up his arm and screaming. As he passed over a mound by the river and away into the sagebrush, the captain sent a message for the train to go on. The affair might cause trouble with the Indians.
Win and Henry put their fish into the wagon. "Drive for me, won't you, Philura?" Win said. "I'll get a few more." Every one was disappointed; we needed those fish so badly. A change in our diet was rare in those days. Bread, beans, dried peas, bacon, ham and dried fruit over and over; no wonder we wanted something new. After what seemed a long time the boys caught up with us. A long chase they had had after the wagons, but they brought a dozen more big trout with them.