Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Ghost Horse Named Paint

Once there was a bay pinto, born on the prairie to an old mare who had given many foals to her Crow owner. The horse’s name was Paint. In the five years he lived with the Crow, he learned the feel of a man on his back and the ways of the buffalo hunt. One night as they camped along Painted Robe Creek in today’s Golden Valley County, Blackfeet crept into the sleeping camp to steal the horses. Paint felt a man on his back and he began to run. Gunfire shattered the night. Paint felt the man go slack and then Paint ran alone. When the horses stopped running, the Blackfeet saw that one man was missing. Their leader, Bad Wound, looked over the captive horses and noted Paint was good and strong. But then he saw the dried blood on his back. He drew his Henry rifle and fired at Paint. The horse fell to his knees and rolled on his side. Bad Wound wanted to send the dead warrior a good horse to take him on his last journey. But later Bad Wound saw Paint among the herd, dried blood on his head and neck, but otherwise sound. The bullet had gone completely through his neck, and Paint lived. But he was the steed of a dead man, and no one would ride a ghost horse. The following spring, some whites came to the Blackfeet to buy horses. Bad Wound sold Paint to a young boy whose name was Charlie Russell. Paint, whom Russell renamed Monte, was his favorite horse and the two were inseparable until the horse died of extreme old age twenty-five years later.

From Charles M. Russell, Word Painter. Original in the Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives.

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