Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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Rides-at-the-door Character Analysis

Father to Fools Crow and Running Fisher, and husband to Double Strike Woman, Striped Face, and Kills-close-to-the-lake. Rides-at-the-door is a respected war chief of the Lone Eaters and has a special relationship with Three Bears, the band’s chief. He is highly intelligent and has been involved in past treaties with the Napikwans. As the only Lone Eater who speaks the English language, Rides-at-the-door is indispensable to his band and the Pikuni tribe as a whole. The Lone Eaters frequently look to Rides-at-the-door for guidance and advice. He is in favor of banishing Fast Horse from the Lone Eaters for his role in Yellow Kidney’s capture by the enemy Crows, and he also supports the capture and killing of Owl Child as punishment for the murder of Malcolm Clark. Rides-at-the-door supports peace with the Napikwans if they don’t expect anymore land, but he is willing to fight for the Pikuni way of life should it come to that. Rides-at-the-door accompanies Heavy Runner and the other chiefs to the Four Horns agency to discuss Owl Child’s fate, but since he is only a war chief, the Napikwan refuse to let him speak. He is devasted when his son, Running Fisher, betrays him and has an affair with Kills-close-to-the-lake, and he banishes him to the lands of their relative Siksikas as punishment; however, he doesn’t punish Kills-close-to-the-lake, his third and youngest wife. Instead, he gives Kills-close-to-the-lake her freedom in the form of a divorce and asks for forgiveness for stealing her youth. Rides-at-the-door told himself he married her as a favor to her father, a poor friend of the Never Laughs People, but he suspects he took the young wife as an outward display of his own wealth and power. He is deeply ashamed by this realization, which he views as his punishment for his selfish actions. In this way, the character of Rides-at-the-door is critical of traditional patriarchal customs of multiple wives as symbols of wealth and power. When Three Bears dies during the white-scabs outbreak, he gives his red-stone pipe to Rides-at-the-door and selects him as the new chief of the Lone Eaters. He lives through the outbreak and is among the procession that leaves the winter camp at the end of the novel.

Rides-at-the-door Quotes in Fools Crow

The Fools Crow quotes below are all either spoken by Rides-at-the-door or refer to Rides-at-the-door. 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 22 Quotes

“We will lose our grandchildren, Three Bears. They will be wiped out or they will turn into Napikwans. Already some of our children attend their school at the agency. Our men wear trousers and the women prefer the trade-cloth to skins. We wear their blankets, cook in their kettles, and kill the blackhorns with their bullets. Soon our young women will marry them, like the Liars and the Cutthroats.”

Related Characters: Rides-at-the-door (speaker), Three Bears, Joe Kipp
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:
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Fools Crow PDF

Rides-at-the-door Character Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the character Rides-at-the-door appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...eighteen winters, White Man’s Dog has little wealth and no tribal respect. Unlike his father, Rides-at-the-door, who has three wives and many horses, White Man’s Dog has no women and only... (full context)
War Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog thinks of his father ’s youngest wife, Kills-close-to-the-lake, and the way she looks at him. He often catches her... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...remain in Always Winer Land for a bit longer. As he makes his way to his father ’s lodge, White Man’s Dog asks Seven Persons and the Above Ones to forgive his... (full context)
Chapter 2
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Later that night, Rides-at-the-door notes that White Man’s Dog is in better spirits than he has been for some... (full context)
Chapter 5
War Theme Icon
...home to his family. His mother, Double Strike Woman, is thankful for his return, and Rides-at-the-door asks his son about Yellow Kidney. White Man’s Dog tells his father about Eagle Ribs’s... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...a woman to declare this role—if she fails, it will bring dishonor to them all. Rides-at-the-door silently voices his support as well, although he does not speak, much to the disappointment... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
As the crowd disperses, Three Bears approaches Rides-at-the-door. The chief noticed White Man’s Dog leaving in the middle of Yellow Kidney’s story, and... (full context)
Chapter 9
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
The next day, Rides-at-the-door asks White Man’s Dog about his behavior during Yellow Kidney’s story. White Man’s Dog tells... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door reassures White Man’s Dog. There is no telling what Yellow Kidney would have done; they... (full context)
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... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...Double Strike Woman gives her son instructions for his ride, Striped Face, her sister and Rides-at-the-door’s second wife, braids her hair. Kills-close-to-the-lake cooks and serves them—their husband’s youngest wife is little... (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... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...presents them to the chiefs in hopes that it will strengthen their trading relationship. As Rides-at-the-door arrives, Riplinger greets him first in Blackfeet, then in Napikwans’ language. Riplinger respects Rides-at-the-door as... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Riplinger makes small talk and offers Rides-at-the-door a drink. He declines, and Riplinger presents him with a many-shots gun. As he leaves,... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...White Man’s Dog marries Red Paint, he must take care of Yellow Kidney as well. Rides-at-the-door gives his son permission to marry Red Paint. Kills-close-to-the-lake sits nearby, never looking up from... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Four days later White Man’s Dog’s family and Red Paint’s family gather to exchange gifts. Rides-at-the-door presents his son with his many-shots gun. Red Paint moves her things into a small... (full context)
Chapter 11
War Theme Icon
...and his young warriors arrive at the Lone Eaters’ camp before riding to Crow territory. Rides-at-the-door is worried that Crow Foot will be angry that White Man’s Dog did not want... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Crow Foot calls the sign a catastrophe, and Rides-at-the-door says it cannot be ignored. Another chief suggests that they keep going—they have come too... (full context)
Chapter 12
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...shoots him three times. He falls dead. As White Man’s Dog assesses his own injury, Rides-at-the-door appears. “Take his hair, son,” he says.  (full context)
War Theme Icon
...the black horse (his own horse is nowhere to be found) and rides next to Rides-at-the-door, who smiles at his proudly. White Man’s Dog looks at the scalp in his hand... (full context)
War Theme Icon
The next day, far away from the Crow camp, White Man’s Dog and Rides-at-the-door ride behind the covered bodies of Fox Eyes and Lone Medicine Person, another Pikuni chief.... (full context)
Chapter 15
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...Pikunis,” the young men say, and they are ready to drive them from their land. Rides-at-the-door agrees with the young men, but he is hesitant to engage the Napikwans. He says... (full context)
Chapter 18
War Theme Icon
...with the Napikwans. “We have become a nothing-people,” he says. Fools Crow is ashamed that Rides-at-the-door and the other chiefs want peace with the Napikwans, and he feels like the Pikunis... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
War Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 22
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door fears that the proposed meeting with the seizer chiefs is a ploy to get all... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
“Perhaps it is useless to resist?” questions Three Bears. Rides-at-the-door, however, insists they must, but that they also must give something to the seizers to... (full context)
Chapter 24
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...seizer chiefs. Heavy Runner is with them, along with a few other lesser chiefs and Rides-at-the-door. The major chiefs have not come along, and the Pikunis know that the seizer chiefs... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...General Sully, the man in charge of Indian policy in the Montana Territory. He tells Rides-at-the-door that since he is not a chief, he will be allowed to sit in on... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...he is now authorized to bring criminal Indians who have fled justice back from Canada. Rides-at-the-door knows that there is no way his people will be able to meet the conditions... (full context)
Chapter 32
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Rides-at-the-door sits at his usual place near the entrance to his lodge. He quietly thinks that... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Kills-close-to-the-lake enters the lodge and Rides-at-the-door feels the same sadness he felt when Striped Face first told him of her betrayal.... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...Fisher enters the lodge and sits. He openly admits to his affair with Kills-close-to-the-lake and Rides-at-the-door feels sadness enter his body—part of him had hoped that his son would deny Striped... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door reminds Kills-close-to-the-lake that to dishonor a husband is the worst offense a woman can make.... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door looks to Running Fisher. He tells him that he is to travel north to the... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door knows that he should banish his son completely, but he can’t bring himself to do... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...mourns the loss of her sons. She is sure neither will return, and even though Rides-at-the-door tells her that it is not time to mourn, she finds it difficult to believe.... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door is certain that their prayers will be answered. He is convinced that his people will... (full context)
Chapter 35
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
On the thirteenth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow and Rides-at-the-door walked through camp counting the sick and dead. They pass many mourners and it seems... (full context)
Chapter 36
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...Paint, with a cradleboard on her back, wait to join. The elders join next, including Rides-at-the-door and Double Strike Woman, and One Spot falls in as well. As the procession moves... (full context)