Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood
THE YELLOW HAND DUEL.
As Buffalo Bill, in the foregoing chapter speaks of his killing
Yellow Hand, the celebrated Cheyenne chief, who was greatly feared by
his own people, and a terror to the whites, I will give an account of
that tragic duel between a white man and two Indians, for another chief
also rode down and attacked the noted scout, after his red comrade had
When the Indian war of 1876 broke out Buffalo Bill at once closed
his dramatic season, and started post haste for the West, having
received a telegram from General E. A. Carr asking for his services as
scout in the coming campaign.
He joined the command at Fort E. A. Russell, where the famous
Fifth Cavalry Regiment was then in camp, and arriving received a
boisterous welcome from his old comrades, who felt that, with Buffalo
Bill as Chief of Scouts, they would surely have warm work with the
The Fifth Cavalry was at once ordered to operate in scouting the
country on the South Fork of the Cheyenne and to the foot of the Black
Hills, and it was while driving the Indians before them that the news
came of Custer's fatal fight with Sitting Bull on the Little Big Horn.
General Merritt, who had superseded Carr in command marched at
once to the Big Rom country, and while on route there came news of a
large force of warriors moving down to join Sitting Bull.
Instantly five hundred picked men of the Fifth started back by
forced marches, and Buffalo Bill, splendidly mounted, kept on ahead of
the command a couple of miles.
Discovering the Indians, he at the same time beheld two horsemen
whom he saw to be whites, riding along unconscious of the presence of
He knew that they must be scouts bearing dispatches, and at once
determined to save them for they were riding in a direction down one
valley that would bring them directly upon the red-skins, who had
already seen them, and had sent a force of thirty warriors out to
Instantly Buffalo Bill dashed over the ridge of the hill that
concealed him from the view of the Cheyennes, and rode directly toward
the band going to attack the two white horsemen.
They halted suddenly at sight of him, but, seeing that he was
alone, they started for him with wild yells.
But still he kept on directly toward them, until within range,
when he opened upon them with his matchless Evans rifle, a thirty-four-shot
repeater, and a hot fight began, for they returned the fire.
This was just what Buffalo Bill wanted, for the firing alarmed
the horsemen and placed them on their guard, and he knew that the Indian
volleys would be heard at the command and hasten them forward.
Having dropped a couple of red-skins and several ponies, Buffalo
Bill wheeled to the rightabout, dashed up to the top of a hill, and,
signaling to the two whites to follow him, headed for the command at
As he had anticipated, the two men were scouts with important
dispatches for General Merritt, and Bill's bold act had not only saved
their lives, but also the dispatches, and the result of it was that the
Fifth Cavalry went at once into line of battle, while the Cheyennes also
formed for battle, though evidently surprised at being headed off at
But they saw that they were double the force of the whites, and
were determined upon a fight, and their chiefs reconnoitered carefully
their foes' strength and position.
Buffalo Bill also volunteered to go out and get a closer look at
them, to see what they were up to, and General Merritt told him to do
go, but not to venture too near and expose himself.
As he left the line two Indian horsemen also rode out from among
their comrades, and one was some lengths in front of the other.
At a glance Buffalo Bill saw that the two were full chiefs, and
they had not advanced far toward each other when he discovered that he
was the especial object of their attention.
But though one waited, the other came on, and the scout and the
chief came within a hundred yards of each other.
Then the Indian cried out in his own tongue:
"I know Pa-e-has-ka the Great White Hunter and want to fight
"Then come on, you red devil, and have it out," shouted back
Buffalo Bill, and forgetting General Merritt's orders not to expose
himself, and to the horror of the regiment, every man of whom saw him,
as well as did the Indians, he dashed at full speed toward the chief,
who likewise, with a wild yell rode toward him."
Together both fired, the chief with his rifle, and Buffalo Bill
with his revolver, and down dropped both horses.
Buffalo Bill nimbly caught on his feet, while the Indian was
pinned by one log under his and with his war-cry the scout rushed upon
As he advanced the chief succeeded in releasing his leg from
beneath his horse and again fired, as did Buffalo Bill, and both of them
The Indian's bullet cut a slight gash in Bill's arm, while he
struck the red-skin in the leg, and the next instant sprung upon him
with his knife, which both had drawn.
The hand-to-hand fight was hardly five seconds in duration, and
Buffalo Bill had driven his knife to the broad red breast, and then tore
from his head the scalp and feather war-bonnet, and waving it over his
head, shouted in ringing tones:
"Bravo! the first scalp to avenge Custer!"
A shout of warning from the cavalry caused him to turn quickly
and he beheld the second chief riding down upon him at full speed.
But Bill turned upon him, and a shot from his revolver got him
But hardly had he stooped to tear it from the skull, when the
Indians, with wildest yells, charged upon him.
They were nearer to him than was the regiment, and it looked bad
for Buffalo Bill; but the gallant Fifth charged in splendid style, met
the Indians in a savage fight, and then began to drive them in wild
confusion, and pushed them back into the Agency a sorely whipped body of
Cheyennes, and grieving over heavy losses.
Upon reaching the Agency Buffalo Bill learned that the two
Indians he had killed in the duel were Yellow Hand and Red Knife, and
Cut Nose, the father of the former swore some day to have the scout's
But Buffalo Bill laughed lightly at this threat, evidently
believing the old adage that "A threatened man is long lived."