As more and more Lone Eaters fall ill, several families head in the direction of the Four Horns agency. Fools Crow has since returned from his vision quest, and he helps Mik-api and Boss Ribs tend to the sick. Fools Crow knows that their magic is useless against the disease, but still he tends to his people.
The efforts of Fools Crow, Mik-api, and Boss Ribs are evidence of their commitment to their tribe. They know that exposure increases their chances of becoming ill, and they tend to their people anyway.
On the fifth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow finds Boss Ribs staring at the Beaver Medicine bundle, which has been emptied of most of its contents. “Are we lost then?” asks Fools Crow. Boss Ribs tells him that they are powerless to stop the disease, which must run its course. He asks Fools Crow how his family is fairing, and when Fools Crow says that they are well so far, Boss Ribs says that his daughter died the night before. Fools Crow thinks of Feather Woman and thousands of wailing geese.
The empty Beaver Medicine bundle is symbolic of the Lone Eaters’ helplessness. Even the bundle is powerless against the white-scabs disease, and the image of Boss Ribs sitting amongst the scattered contents of the bag is a powerful reflection of their dreadful circumstances.
Red Paint returns to her lodge, defeated. She can’t stop thinking about her father. When the men brought Yellow Kidney’s body to the camp, her mother had appeared emotionless. She feels guilty over her happiness with Fools Crow—she would gladly give it all up to have her life back the way it was before her father disappeared and sickness took over their lives. That night, she trembles as she sleeps next to Fools Crow.
Red Paint’s willingness to give up her happiness with Fools Crow is evidence of her commitment to community and tribal life. She is deeply in love with Fools Crow, but she would sacrifice her own happiness to make her tribe whole again.