Iron Tail - The celebrated Chief whose head is on the United States nickel, at age of 64. The man of whom Buffalo Bill said to the author: "He is the finest man I know, bar none."


"I was born four miles below where Rapid City now is, in 1852, about full moon in March. "My father was Black Fox and my mother's name was Iron Cedarwoman. "My father was a chief. In a fight with the Crows he was shot below the right eye with an arrow; it was so deep that it could not be pulled out, but had to be pushed through to the ear. "My tribe was the Ogalalla clan. Our family roamed on hunts for game and enemies all about through the country and to Canada. My father died when he was eighty years old. He had two wives and they were sisters. My mother was the youngest and had five children. The other wife had eight children, making thirteen in all. Kicking Bear was my full brother, and Chief Black Fox was my half brother and was named for our father. "When ten years old I was in my first battle on the Tongue River—Montana now. It was an Overland Train of covered wagons who had soldiers with them. The way it was started, the soldiers fired on the Indians, our tribe, only a few of us. We went to our friends and told them we had been fired on by the soldiers, and they surrounded the train and we had a fight with them. I do not know how many we killed of the soldiers, but they killed four of us. "After that we had a good many battles, but I did not take any scalps for a good while. I cannot tell how many I killed when a young man. "When I was twenty years old we went to the Crows and stole a lot of horses. The Crows discovered us and followed us all night. When daylight came we saw them behind us. I was the leader. We turned back to fight the Crows. I killed one and took his scalp and a field glass and a Crow necklace from him. We chased the others back a long way and then caught up with our own men again and went on. It was a very cold winter. There were twenty of us and each had four horses. We got them home all right and it was a good trip that time. We had a scalp dance when we got back. "We soon moved camp. One night the Piegans came and killed one of our people. We trailed them in the snow all night. At dawn we came up to them. One Piegan stopped. The others went on. We surrounded the one. He was a brave man. I started for him. He raised his gun to shoot when I was twenty feet away. I dropped to the ground and his bullet went over me; then I jumped on him and cut him through below the ribs and scalped him. We tied the scalp to a long pole. The women blacked their faces and we had a big dance over it. "The next day I started out again with some men and we ran into a Crow camp. We got into that camp by moonlight, but we got caught. They started to fire on us. We all ran into a deep gulch. We got out, but when it was day we saw them coming with a herd 'of horses, going back to the Crow camp. We got in front of them and hid in a hollow. When I looked out I saw they had Sioux horses which they had stolen from our camp. "A big Crow was ahead and the others were riding behind. I took a good aim at the big Crow and shot him in the chest. The rest of them left the horses and ran away. The big Crow was still living. I took another shot at him, then I took his scalp. We took all the horses they had stolen. There were sixty-nine head that time. "Some time after we went to hunt buffalo. All the men went on this hunt. While we were butchering the kill some Piegans were coming. We went to meet them and had a fight. Some missed their 'horses and were running on foot. I was on a good fast horse. I ran over one and knocked him down and fell on him and scalped him alive (ugh). Another one of my people was close by and he shot the one I scalped. This fight was below where Fort Peck is. "More Piegans came. More of them than us. We were attacked by the Piegans. I kneeled down beside a sage bush. A Piegan shot at me but missed. I shot at him and hit his horse. It went down. Then I turned back and ran into a Piegan. Four of them were butchering buffaloes. I shot at them but missed. The Piegans ran and left their horses, and I took them all. We killed three of the Piegans. They shot one of our horses through the head. The fight was over and the Piegans went to a hill. "On the way back we ran into a lot of Crows and we had a fight on horseback. We chased them but no one was killed. We had a scalp dance on the Piegans.

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