Fools Crow shoots a white bighorn, which falls down the side of the mountain. He and Red Paint have gone up the Backbone to get away from the Lone Eaters’ camp for a while. The seizers are determined to make Mountain Chief pay for Owl Child’s crime, and the camp has become a stressful place.
Fools Crow and Red Paint escape to the mountains because they too are struggling with their tribal responsibilities. Away from the tribe they can focus on themselves and their own needs and desires.
Fools Crow and Red Paint have been on the Backbone for eighteen sleeps. They wouldn’t be able to stay much longer though; Cold Maker is beginning to arrive. Fools Crow thinks about how he had made an offering of prime blackhorn hides to Cold Maker not long after Fast Horse left the Lone Eaters’ camp. He hopes that it will be enough.
Fools Crow’s offering to Cold Maker on behalf of Fast Horse is a reflection of his dedication to his tribe. Fools Crow may struggle with his responsibilities, but he ultimately chooses his people and their way of life each time he is tested.
Suddenly, Raven arrives just as a real-bear drags off Fools Crow’s bighorn. Raven says that he has just flown over the Crows’ camp, and when Fools Crow asks him excitedly if he had seen how he killed Bull Shield, Raven says, “Oh, yes. You killed twenty-three men. Alas, you also killed six women and one child. Such is war.”
Raven points out that Fools Crow didn’t really trick Bull Shield, and that the Lone Eaters only think he did. Fools Crow is ashamed. Raven then tells him that an evil is afoot on the mountain. A Napikwan has been shooting animals and leaving their dead bodies to rot. Raven says that only Fools Crow can kill this evil Napikwan. Fools Crow agrees—the man can’t be left to needlessly slaughter animals.
In a way, Raven offers Fools Crow a chance to redeem himself and reverse some of his shame. The Napikwan’s senseless killing of the animals reflects Fools Crow’s own senseless killing of the Crows, but he has the power to stop the Napikwan. Fools Crow has a strong connection to the animals, and he is particularly upset by the settler’s behavior.
That night, Raven visits the dreams of the Napikwan who has been shooting the animals and tells the man about a beautiful Pikuni woman on the Backbone. He says that the woman is lonely and is sure to fall in love with him, and then tells the Napikwan where he can find her.
In the Napikwan’s dream, Raven offers up Red Paint as bait, and this reflects her powerless status within her patriarchal society.
The next morning, Red Paint is busy washing pots and bowls in the river. A fish swims by, and she thinks about catching one to eat. She is hesitant to do this; “her people scorn those who eat the underwater swimmers.” She thinks about Fools Crow—he had tossed and turned most of the night.
Red Paint’s thoughts about the fish are significant because as the Napikwans invade Pikuni lands and push the people north, the Pikunis are pushed away from the blackhorns and into the country of the Siksikas, the only band who eats fish.
As Fools Crow watches from a distance he senses that something is wrong. The Napikwan sees Fools Crow and, sensing the trap, fires his rifle, hitting Fools Crow in the shoulder. He shoots again and Red Paint screams. Fools Crow prays to Sun Chief and the wolverine before shooting the Napikwan in the middle of the forehead.
Fools Crow prays to Sun Chief and the wolverine to summon his strength and courage to defeat the Napikwan, which again is a reflection of the importance of nature within Pikuni culture.