By Don. A Berry
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Additional info for A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company
When the beaver emerged from his lodge, two or three hundred yards away, he smelled the medicine and went to investigate. Rising to examine the stick, his foot was caught. Generally his impulse was to head for the bottom. If the trapper had placed properly, this put the animal into water too deep to surface, with the trap and stake holding him down. He drowned there. When the trapper came to check his line, he would sometimes find that the beaver’s struggles had wrenched the stake loose. ) In that case the "float stick" attached to the trap would show where the animal was.
Unfortunately, he came back to report, Stephens' eyes had been put out, the body decapitated and "otherwise mangled" so badly it was not worth the effort. This news doubtless did little to improve the morale of the party isolated on the beach. By now it was almost dawn. The Aricaras opened intensive fire from behind the palisades as the sun rose. They raked the exposed beach, and in a few minutes most of the horses had been killed and many of the men, The remainder found what shelter they could behind the corpses of the animals, and tried to return the fire.
This was discouraging enough to lead to the desertions. In August he passed the Mandan villages (near Bismarck, North Dakota), and the course of the river trended to the west. This was good; the Mandan villages were only about 250 miles from the mouth of the Yellowstone, and the better part of the trip was over. Then he ran into trouble. A little above the Mandan villages he encountered a roving band of Assiniboines. Henry was aboard the boat, the horses and land party probably out of sight somewhere on the bank.
A Majority of Scoundrels: An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company by Don. A Berry