White Man’s Dog settles into the routine of winter, but he longs for excitement and adventure. He considers looking for Yellow Kidney, but he knows finding him without a sign will be impossible. Instead, White Man’s Dog spends his time hunting blackhorns with Rides-at-the-door and Running Fisher. Not even Rides-at-the-door possesses a many-shots gun and the men hunt with bows and arrows.
White Man’s Dog’s desire for excitement and adventure suggests that, subconsciously at least, he desires to be free from the responsibilities of tribal life. However, unlike Fast Horse, White Man’s Dog chooses the tribe over his own desires, and instead spends his time hunting and fulfilling the needs of the tribe.
At times, White Man’s Dog hunts alone, and he kills many animals. He has begun to bring Heavy Shield Woman and her family blackhorns, and one day, Red Paint catches him dropping off a fresh kill. He speaks to her quickly and awkwardly before running off. White Man’s Dog is sure that Red Paint thinks he is foolish.
White Man’s Dog has not spoken to Fast Horse since the raid, and Boss Ribs fears that a bad spirit has entered his son. Fast Horse has remained sullen since the raid—he rarely hunts, and he has allowed most of his horses to wander off. White Man’s Dog is troubled that Fast Horse has not made yet made good on his deal with Cold Maker and the helping-to-eat moon is nearly over.
The Pikunis keep track of time and seasons by way of lunar cycles—the time from one new moon to the next. They name each cycle, or moon, to help keep track of each cycle, which is roughly one month. Since the helping-to-eat moon (likely, the month of October or November when wild game is most plentiful) is nearly over, Fast Horse has had an entire month to fulfil his vow to Cold Maker, and he has done nothing.
White Man’s Dog offers to help Fast Horse hunt blackhorns so that he can fulfil his vow to Cold Maker. Fast Horse responds angrily and tells White Man’s Dog that he doesn’t need his help to fulfil his vow. As White Man’s Dog watches Fast Horse ride away, he realizes that while Fast Horse is preoccupied by his debt to Cold Maker, something else is going on inside of him. White Man’s Dog suspects that it has to do with Yellow Kidney.
Fast Horse’s behavior is evidence of his guilt and feelings of responsibility over Yellow Kidney’s fate. Fast Horse knows deep down that his actions directly led to Yellow Kidney’s capture and torture; however, he is slow to accept this, and in the meantime, he further isolates himself from his tribe.
Meanwhile, White Man’s Dog gives five of his best horses to Mik-api and visits the old man frequently. Mik-api soon asks White Man’s Dog to prepare the sweat lodge, and with this task, he becomes his apprentice. White Man’s Dog assists the old man as well as he can, and when Mak-api goes to the sick person’s lodge, White Man’s Dog carries his healing paraphernalia. White Man’s Dog realizes that the other men no longer tease him. Ever since the raid, the others in the tribe have begun to respect him.
When White Man’s Dog’s gives the horses to Mik-api. this is further evidence of White Man’s Dog’s dedication to the collective good of the tribe. He could easily keep the horses, but White Man’s Dog’s views Mik-api’s magic as a major source of his success. White Man’s Dog’s efforts to repay Mik-api and take care of Yellow Kidney’s family earns him more respect from his tribe.
Later, Mik-api tells White Man’s Dog about a dream he had. In this dream, Raven came down from the Backbone of the World and told him that behind Chief Mountain, a four-legged is stuck in a Napikwan trap. Raven could not release the trap, and he came to ask Mik-api if his young helper, a man “both strong and true of heart,” would release the trap for him. If White Man’s Dog releases the trap, Raven promised to teach him how to use the animal’s power, which is more powerful than all but that of the real-bear.
Raven is Mik-api’s spirit animal, or animal helper, and he is evidence of Mik-api’s own connection to the natural word. However, Raven’s message also represents the dangers of the encroaching white settlers. Trapping is not a native practice of the Pikuni people, and the four-legged stuck in a metal trap is a powerful image.
In the meantime, Red Paint sits outside her mother’s lodge sewing beads onto the moccasins Heavy Shield Woman will wear at the Sun Dance ceremony. Since her request to be Medicine Woman, her mother has thought of little else and has begun to neglect her children. One Spot and Good Young Man have become unruly, and Red Paint worries that White Man’s Dog will grow tired of providing them with meat.
Yellow Kidney’s need to advance his fortune and honor through warring has negative consequences for his family. If White Man’s Dog were to stop hunting for Yellow Kidney’s family, they likely will not survive. Heavy Shield Woman’s neglect of her family is an understandable result of her preoccupation with her husband’s safe return. Despite this, however, women do not hunt in Pikuni society, and One Spot and Good Young Man are too young. Yellow Kidney has left them with few options in the event of his death.
Up on Chief Mountain, White Man’s Dog sets out searching for the four-legged caught in the trap. He thinks that it is a wolverine, although Mik-api refused to confirm this. He comes across a fat raven and begins to follow it. At the top of the ridge, White Man’s Dog stops and prays to Old Man, Napi, his creator, and suddenly the bird begins to speak. “I speak many languages,” he says. Raven tells White Man’s Dog that while he is powerful, he is not strong, and he can’t free Skunk Bear, who has been slowly dying for four days, from the trap.
The fact that Raven begins to speak only after White Man’s Dog prays highlights the deep connection between spirituality and the natural world within Pikuni culture. Nature is sacred to the Pikunis, and it is essential to their way of life. When White Man’s Dog saves Skunk Bear from the Napikwan trap, he symbolically saves his Pikuni way of life—for the time being, that is.
White Man’s Dog quickly frees the wolverine from trap. Raven instructs him to feed Skunk Bear some of his meat and tells him to sleep that night on his left side, away from the door. He orders White Man’s Dog to dream about what has happened and tells him that he alone will now possess the magic of Skunk Bear. White Man’s Dog will fear nothing and have much wealth, but he must not abuse his power, Raven says. He then tells White Man’s Dog to always listen to Mik-api, as he will speak through him.
Raven’s insistence that White Man’s Dog give Skunk Bear food represents respect and repayment to the animal. Skunk Bear, as White Man’s Dog’s spirit animal, nourishes him by gifting him power, so White Man’s Dog must likewise nourish the wolverine with meat from his last kill. In this way, White Man’s Dog and Skunk Bear have a symbiotic relationship, further underscoring the Pikunis’ connection to nature.