Meanwhile, Double Strike Woman cuts meat in preparation for dinner. White Grass Woman and her husband, Skunk Cap, have come to visit. White Grass Woman is the camp gossip, and she has just told Double Strike Woman that Fools Crow has gone off to look for Fast Horse. She is irritated that her son did not tell her before taking off and that she had to learn it from a gossip. She is concerned about Running Fisher too, as he has been behaving strangely.
Double Strike Woman’s ignorance of her son’s whereabouts is evidence of her powerlessness within her lodge and the patriarchal society of her tribe. As a woman, she is the last one to know about her son and she isn’t involved in the decision-making process.
Kills-close-to-the-lake listens quietly as White Grass Woman spills her gossip. Kills-close-to-the-lake feels like an outsider in Rides-at-the-door’s lodge. She is the daughter of Mad Wolf, a poor man from the Never Laughs people, and Rides-at-the-door had taken pity on them and married Kills-close-to-the-lake as a favor to her father. As she listens to the conversation in the lodge, she feels a nervous twinge in her stomach. She looks toward Rides-at-the-door and quietly slips out of the lodge.
Rides-at-the-door’s marriage to Kills-close-to-the-lake is a form of social security. As a woman, she cannot care for herself, and Mad Wolf can’t support her forever. As a wealthy member of the tribe, Rides-at-the-door takes Kills-close-to-the-lake on as service to the tribe—after all, he can afford it.
Outside, Seven Persons is partially hidden behind the clouds. Kills-close-to-the-lake makes her way to a small tipi nearby and slips inside. Running Fisher lays inside lazily studying an arrow. “Come here, then—where it’s warm,” he says as he lifts his robes.
The fact that Seven Persons is obscured reflects the poor judgement of Running Fisher and Kills-close-to-the-lake. Even though Rides-at-the-door is not emotionally attached to his third wife, their affair still dishonors him.
Outside, Striped Face sneaks outside the tipi, snooping. She is shocked when she discovers her near-son with his near-mother. After all, she had suspected Fools Crow of behaving inappropriately with Kills-close-to-the-lake, not Running Fisher. She will tell Rides-at-the-door tonight, she thinks.
Striped Face views her discovery of the affair as a form of power that she is otherwise lacking in the Pikunis’ patriarchal society.
Striped Face grows angry at the thought of the camp learning about Running Fisher and Kills-close-to-the-lake’s betrayal. She can’t stand the thought of White Grass Woman gossiping about them, and she decides that she will be sleeping with Rides-at-the-door tonight. She usually teases him before sex; makes him beg to come to her. He always treats her “roughly after she yields,” though “they both know that she has the power.” She will not tease him tonight.
Striped Face’s power in her sex life with Rides-at-the-door also suggests that he rejects traditional Pikuni notions of patriarchal power. After all, Rides-at-the-door may play along, but he ultimately knows better. Striped Face has a considerable amount of power—perhaps even more than Rides-at-the-door’s first wife.