Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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Fools Crow: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Fast Horse rides the plains, he comes across Owl Child and his gang. He tells Owl Child that he must take revenge on the rancher who shot him. Owl Child is irritated with Fast Horse. After all, Fast was not humiliated by the Napikwan as he himself was, only wounded. Still, Owl Child thinks any reason is a good reason to kill Napikwan.
There is very little sense of community among the outcasts. Owl Child only tolerates Fast Horse and agrees to help him because Fast Horse’s desire to kill Napikwans aligns with his own. 
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Later, Fast Horse approaches the rancher’s land with Owl Child and his gang. The rancher is working in his corral while his wife and children sit on the porch steps of their lodge. “Let’s not keep him waiting,” Owl Child says, and they ride toward the ranch.
Owl Child’s eagerness to kill the Napikwans is evidence of his wickedness. He cares about little else apart from raiding and killing the white settlers.
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fools Crow is tracking Fast Horse. As he rides away from the Lone Eaters’ camp and across the plains, he feels his spirits rising. He enjoys the freedom of being away from camp and his responsibilities and understands Fast Horse’s desire to be away the tribe. Still, Fools Crow thinks, if Fast Horse roams away from the tribe, Pikunis will suffer.
Fast Horse is not the only Pikuni who struggles with the responsibilities of tribal life. Fools Crow too can see the attraction of living for himself, but he ultimately chooses his tribe each time. Unlike Fast Horse, Fools Crow understands that his own actions affect his people. 
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Fools Crow soon arrives at the camp of the Many Chiefs and heads towards Mountain Chief’s lodge. Fools Crow asks him if he has seen Fast Horse, and Mountain Chief says he is no longer in the camp. He had ridden through, feasted and rested, but he has gone on to find Owl Child.
Fast Horse seems to have no problem going back to his people when he needs them, and this reflects this self-centered nature. He goes to camp only when he is shot, tired, or hungry.
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
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Fools Crow tells Mountain Chief about the seizers who came to the Lone Eaters’ camp looking for him and that they intend to make him pay for Malcolm Clark’s murder. Mountain Chief says, unlike the other chiefs, he would like to go to war with the Napikwans. “We have become a nothing-people,” he says. Fools Crow is ashamed that Rides-at-the-door and the other chiefs want peace with the Napikwans, and he feels like the Pikunis are “being driven into a den with only one entrance.” He wonders again why Sun Chief has ignored the people.
To Mountain Chief, the Pikuni people are nothing if they do not defend their honor through war with the Napikwans. War is an essential part of life, and when they stand down, it is similar to death for Mountain Chief. 
Themes
War Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the rancher’s wife screams as Fast Horse empties his rifle into the rancher’s body and takes his scalp. Owl Child’s gang grabs the woman and, slapping her, rip her clothes from her body. They drag her into the cabin and leave her children crying outside. She emerges shortly after with a blank expression. She doesn’t scream or try to cover herself, and she doesn’t notice her children who have run to her side. “You tell them Owl Child did this to you,” cries Owl Child, knowing she doesn’t understand. Fast Horse stands nearby, disappointed—he had killed the rancher too quickly and had “been cheated by his own rage.”
The extreme violence of Fast Horse and Owl Child’s raid on the settler’s ranch is evidence of their wickedness. Owl Child wants the settlers to know who has attacked them, even though they cannot understand his words. Owl Child cares very little that his actions are sure to lead to the suffering of the Pikuni people. Both Owl Child and Fast Horse care only about revenge.
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon