In the meantime, two day-riders guarding the Lone Eaters’ horses see an approaching horse in the distance dragging a sled. As the men approach the horse, they can see that the makeshift sled holds a body. One of the men claims to have seen a rider near the top of a ridge and they fear the enemy is near. As one man goes to warn the other riders, the other rides off to camp to alert the Pikunis.
Surprisingly, Fast Horse has gone to the trouble of returning Yellow Kidney to his people. This is a clear departure from Fast Horse’s selfishness, and he instead acts in Yellow Kidney’s best interest.
Fast Horse is struck by a desire to go home and beg for Boss Ribs’s forgiveness, but too much has transpired, and he can’t bring himself to go back. He doesn’t belong with the Pikunis, but he doesn’t belong with Owl Child either. He looks to the north—the whisky traders in Canada are sure to accept him. After all, many lone men have traveled there. He looks one last time to the camp of the Lone Eaters and heads north.
Ironically, Fast Horse is heading in the safest possible direction. With Napikwans moving in and the white-scabs disease spreading, Canada is again the safest bet. Although he doesn’t know it, moving north may just mean eventually reuniting with his family.