Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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A young Pikuni warrior of the Lone Eaters’ band and the antagonist of Fools Crow. He is the son of Boss Ribs and a member of Owl Child’s gang of outcasts. Fast Horse serves as a foil to Fools Crow, and in addition to their obvious physical differences (Fast Horse is taller and more muscular), Fast Horse is reckless and greedy where Fools Crow is retrained and kind. Fast Horse’s father possesses the powerful Beaver Medicine bundle, and because of this, Yellow Kidney invites Fast Horse on the horse raid of the Crows. Fast Horse behaves badly during raid—he ignores a foreboding dream, scorns Cold Maker, and boasts loudly in the center of the Crows’ camp, alerting them to their presence and leading to Yellow Kidney subsequent capture. Yellow Kidney and the other Lone Eaters blame Fast Horse for Yellow Kidney’s hardships, and he banishes himself from their camp. Fast Horse turns his back on the Pikuni people and refuses to learn the magic of the Beaver Medicine Bundle, instead choosing to run with Owl Child and his gang. Fast Horse robs and kills Napikwans, including a rancher who shoots him, and is partially responsible for the troubled relationship between the Pikunis and the United States government. While it is Owl Child’s murder of Malcolm Clark that leads to the massacre of Heavy Runner’s camp, Fast Horse is complicit in Owl Child’s actions and guilty by association. When Fast Horse comes upon the dead body of Yellow Kidney in the abandoned war lodge late in the novel, he anonymously returns the warrior to his people and thus finally takes responsibility for the role he played in Yellow Kidney’s downfall. By the end of the novel, Fast Horse regrets his decision to leave his tribe but is still unable to return to it; Fast Horse had placed his own desires for wealth and revenge above the collective needs of his people, and that has serious consequences. Haunted by his shame and failure, Fast Horse escapes north across the Canadian border and never sees his people again.

Fast Horse Quotes in Fools Crow

The Fools Crow quotes below are all either spoken by Fast Horse or refer to Fast Horse. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fools Crow published in 1986.
Chapter 8 Quotes

But all that had changed now because Fast Horse had changed. He had become an outsider within his own band. He no longer sought the company of others, and they avoided him. The girls who had once looked so admiringly on him now averted their eyes when he passed. The young men considered him a source of bad medicine, and the older ones did not invite him for a smoke. Even his own father had begun to look upon him with doubt and regret. As for Fast Horse, the more he stared at the Beaver Medicine, the more it lost meaning for him. That would not be the way of his power. His power would be tangible and immediate.

Related Characters: Fast Horse, Boss Ribs
Related Symbols: The Beaver Medicine Bundle
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

The thought came into [Fools Crow’s] mind without warning, the sudden understanding of what Fast Horse found so attractive in running with Owl Child. It was this freedom from responsibility, from accountability to the group, that was so alluring. As long as one thought himself as part of the group, he would be responsible to and for that group. If one cut ties, he had the freedom to roam, to think only of himself and not worry about the consequences of his actions. So it was for Owl Child and Fast Horse to roam. And so it was for the Pikunis to suffer.

Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Fools Crow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Fools Crow PDF

Fast Horse Character Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the character Fast Horse appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
The next day, Fast Horse approaches White Man’s Dog. Despite being one winter younger than White Man’s Dog, Fast Horse... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fast Horse says that Yellow Kidney has invited him on the raid because he has strong medicine,... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog is hesitant to join the party. He does not have Fast Horse ’s medicine (his father’s Beaver Medicine bundle is the most powerful among the Pikunis), and... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fast Horse tells White Man’s Dog that Mik-api, a powerful many-faces man, has strong medicine and has... (full context)
Chapter 3
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Yellow Kidney looks up to Seven Persons as he waits for Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog. The raid party, consisting of four other men, has gathered and... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...who has a many-shots gun; the others are armed with only bows and knives. As Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog approach, Yellow Kidney is struck by two main concerns—White Man’s Dog... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...popular among enemy tribes of the Snakes and the Flatheads. As the other men rest, Fast Horse tells them about a dream he had two sleeps ago. In this dream, Cold Maker... (full context)
War Theme Icon
In Fast Horse ’s dream, Cold Maker told him that if he finds the boulder and moves it,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...beginning to feel his thirty-eight winters, rests while the younger men go in search of Fast Horse ’s ice spring. As Sun Chief washes the hills in light, Yellow Kidney offers a... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Yellow Kidney still questions Fast Horse ’s dream. He thinks that the young man is foolish, and Yellow Kidney only allowed... (full context)
War Theme Icon
The men return without finding the ice spring and Fast Horse grows morose. Yellow Kidney can sense that even Fast Horse doubts his dream, and Yellow... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...Before setting out on their journey, the many-faces man had invited White Man’s Dog and Fast Horse to his sweat lodge. The men sang and prayed as the purifying sweat exited their... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...war song. Yellow Kidney too paints his face in the pattern of Seven Persons, and Fast Horse ties three eagle feathers in his topknot. (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Yellow Kidney and the other men are distracted by Fast Horse ’s shirt—it is the old war shirt once belonging to Head Carrier and it holds... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Yellow Kidney, Fast Horse , and Eagle Ribs ready themselves to enter the Crow camp. They plan to each... (full context)
Chapter 5
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...again dreamt of the white-faced girl, and he is growing concerned because Yellow Kidney and Fast Horse have not yet returned. Eagle Ribs has found the young men near Elk River—he was... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Eagle Ribs hopes that Yellow Kidney and Fast Horse are simply waiting out the weather, but he tells the other men about a disturbing... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Later that night, Fast Horse arrives and tells the other men that he has not seen Yellow Kidney since the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
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.... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog offers to help Fast Horse hunt blackhorns so that he can fulfil his vow to Cold Maker. Fast Horse responds... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...south, driving twelve large horses, like the kind the Napikwans use to pull their wagons. Fast Horse recognizes Owl Child, a member of the Many Chiefs band. Owl Child has a many-shots... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...and suspects that they are stolen from the Napikwans. “What difference does it make?” asks Fast Horse . Since the white man steals their land, Fast Horse considers stealing from the Napikwans... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...Child a package of boiled meat. As the young men ride away, Owl Child invites Fast Horse to visit their camp in the south: “We will show you what real Pikunis do... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...loss outweighs any benefit of Crow horses. Like the others, White Man’s Dog suspects that Fast Horse is to blame for Yellow Kidney’s disappearance. White Man’s Dog also feels guilty about killing... (full context)
Chapter 8
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
The day before the Lone Eaters are to leave for the trading house, Fast Horse sits staring at his father’s Beaver Medicine bundle, hoping to feel its power. Boss Ribs... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fast Horse “scoffs at Cold Maker.” Days earlier, he had challenged Cold Maker to kill him and... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...Eagle Ribs, but Yellow Kidney says that it was not his voice. They look for Fast Horse , and he is nowhere to be found. Yellow Kidney continues his story and tells... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...know why he left. Three Bears and Rides-at-the-door fear that some may seek revenge on Fast Horse for Yellow Kidney’s misfortune. Both men think that Fast Horse should be banished; however, they... (full context)
Chapter 9
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog tells Rides-at-the-door that he initially blamed Fast Horse for Yellow Kidney’s disappearance, but now he is not sure. He tells his father about... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...Dog thinks about Red Paint, Running Fisher rushes into the lodge and tells them that Fast Horse has banished himself and has left camp during the night to join Owl Child and... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door fears that Fast Horse will be an even bigger problem riding with Owl Child than he would be in... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...as Mountain Chief stands to make an announcement, White Man’s Dog sees Owl Child and Fast Horse in the distance. Mountain Chief tells the bands that while he doesn’t like the Napikwans,... (full context)
Chapter 13
War Theme Icon
Fools Crow is upset by this news and wonders if Fast Horse is still riding with Owl Child’s gang. Less than a year ago Fools Crow and... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...he had made an offering of prime blackhorn hides to Cold Maker not long after Fast Horse left the Lone Eaters’ camp. He hopes that it will be enough. (full context)
Chapter 16
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...Chief has deserted the people. A figure in the distance suddenly distracts him. It is Fast Horse . He tells Fools Crow that he has ridden far and wide, and now he... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Three days later, Fast Horse wakes in Boss Ribs’ lodge. Boss Ribs tells his son that Mik-api has healed his... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
As the snow comes, Fast Horse packs his horse to leave the camp of the Lone Eaters for good. He has... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
After Boss Ribs finishes the story, he begs Fools Crow to find Fast Horse . “Find him and bring him back,” Boss Ribs says. “I will begin to instruct... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
As Fast Horse rides the plains, he comes across Owl Child and his gang. He tells Owl Child... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Later, Fast Horse approaches the rancher’s land with Owl Child and his gang. The rancher is working in... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fools Crow is tracking Fast Horse . As he rides away from the Lone Eaters’ camp and across the plains, he... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 19
War Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
As Fast Horse approaches, Fools Crow grows acutely aware that they are not friends anymore: “They had chosen... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fools Crow tells Fast Horse that he has just come from the ranch and that he knows he is responsible... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Fast Horse tells Fools Crow that he has been betrayed by Cold Maker. Cold Maker had promised... (full context)
Chapter 22
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...the lodge, surprising Mik-api. Raven had told Mik-api that Fools Crow was out looking for Fast Horse , and he didn’t expect him back so soon. Fools Crow mentions that some Napikwan... (full context)
Chapter 25
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fast Horse watches a team of oxen from a distance with Owl Child and his gang. The... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...will make Mountain Chief pay. They decide to burn the wagons and the bodies, and Fast Horse wonders if Owl Child is losing his nerve. He tells Fast Horse that he never... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fast Horse approaches the war lodge on Bad Horse Butte with Owl Child and his gang. Fast... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Fast Horse is struck by a desire to go home and beg for Boss Ribs’s forgiveness, but... (full context)
Chapter 32
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...to do it. That will cause Running Fisher to be full of hatred, much like Fast Horse . He tells his son that if he makes it to the Siksikas and manages... (full context)