“Oklahoma” by Ernest Hemingway

An early poem.


Ernest Hemingway

All of the Indians are dead
(A good Indian is a dead Indian)
Or riding in motor cars—
(the oil lands, you know, they’re all rich)
Smoke smarts my eyes,
Cottonwood twigs and buffalo dung
Smoke grey in the teepee—
(Or is it myopic trachoma)

The prairies are long,
The moon rises, Continue reading

Sophie, the Ghost of Harvey, North Dakota: Interview with Carolyn Feickert at the Harvey Public Library, and “Sophie’s Legend Lingers in Harvey Library” from Dakota Mysteries and Oddities by William Jackson

2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-public-library-sophia-eberlein-sophie-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-1-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-spooky-tree-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void 2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-2-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-for-sale-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-void 2016-august-north-dakota-harvey-house-3-sophia-eberlein-sophie-crime-ghost-haunted-folk-lore-legend-creepy-front-door-usa-nd-photo-by-the-voice-before-the-voidHalloween:
An interview with the lovely librarian Carolyn Feickert in August, 2016, in the very busy Harvey Public Library in Harvey, North Dakota, along with the story of Sophia Eberlein from William Jackson’s first book of North Dakota lore, and some thoughts about folklore, tourism, and small town economies.
Fair use of copyrighted material is claimed under U.S. copyright law for the purposes of education and commentary.
-The Voice before the Void

Interview with Carolyn Feickert at the Harvey Public Library in Harvey, North Dakota

The Voice before the Void


“Sophie’s legend lingers in Harvey library”

from Dakota Mysteries and Oddities

William Jackson

Also mentioned:
Gorman UFO Dogfight over Fargo, North Dakota
Hazel Miner of the 1920 North Dakota Blizzard

SasWhat podcast and SmallTownMonsters.com
Fouke, Arkansas and the Beast of Boggy Creek
Inverness, Scotland and the Loch Ness Monster
Deadwood, South Dakota and Aces over Eights
Roswell, New Mexico and the Roswell UFO Crash

Harvey, North Dakota
Harvey Public Library
Ben Franklin store in Harvey
Tastee Freez restaurant in Harvey

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse by Charles Eastman

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary:
June 25 is the anniversary of the great victory. As of 2016, it’s been only 140 years.
From one of his popular books, here presented are dramatic biographies of three men by the Dakota writer Ohiyesa, more widely known as Charles Eastman.
-The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse

from Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains

Charles Eastman

“Red Cloud”

The Sioux were now entering upon the most stormy period of their history. The old things were fast giving place to new. The young men, for the first time engaging in serious and destructive warfare with the neighboring tribes, armed with the deadly weapons furnished by the white man, began to realize that they must soon enter upon a desperate struggle for their ancestral hunting grounds. The old men had been innocently cultivating the friendship of the stranger, saying among themselves, “Surely there is land enough for all!”

1865-1880 - Sioux - Red Bear, Young Man Afraid of his Horses, Good Voice, Ring Thunder, Iron Crow, White Tail, Spotted Tail, Yellow Bear, Red Cloud, Big Road, Little Wound, Black CrowRed Cloud was a modest and little-known man of about twenty-eight years when General [William S.] Harney called all the western bands of Sioux together at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for the purpose of securing an agreement and right of way through their territory. The Ogallalas held aloof from this proposal, but Bear Bull, an Ogallala chief, after having been plied with whisky, undertook to dictate submission to the rest of the clan. Enraged by failure, he fired upon a group of his own tribesmen, and Red Cloud’s father and brother fell dead. According to Indian custom, it fell to him to avenge the deed. Calmly, without uttering a word, he faced old Bear Bull and his son, who attempted to defend his father, and shot them both. Continue reading

“Three Toes of Harding County” from Wikipedia

Old stories, told long ago.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Three Toes of Harding County”


Three Toes of Harding County was the nickname given to a solitary North American male wolf who killed livestock at ranches in Harding County, South Dakota over a thirteen-year period in the early 20th century. His hunting range extended into southwestern North Dakota and southeastern Montana.

Three Toes began his depredations in 1912, becoming a fully fledged livestock killer by 1917. He was estimated to have killed $50,000 worth of livestock in his thirteen-year career. He is known to have killed 66 sheep in two nights shortly before his capture. He was pursued by over 150 men, only to be trapped on July 23, 1925, in the Kahoun pasture, near Gallup, South Dakota, by Clyde F. Briggs, the state deputy predatory animal inspector.

Three Toes was thought to have been 20 years old, and measured 6 feet in length and weighed between 75 and 80 pounds.

1925 July Three Toes of Harding County South Dakota famous wolf taken by Clyde F Briggs state deputy predatory animal inspector

“Cattle Rustling and the Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt

With an old cowboy story of North Dakota, Roosevelt illustrates a moral truth about representative democracy and the line it threads between brutal revolution and authoritarian plutocracy.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Cattle Rustling and the Republic”

from Realizable Ideals (The Earl Lectures), “The Public Servant and the Eighth Commandment,” address delivered extemporaneously to the Pacific Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California, 1911 spring

Theodore Roosevelt

edited by The Voice before the Void

In the old days, I used to have a cow-ranch in the short-grass country. At that time, there were no fences within a thousand miles of it. If a calf was passed by on the round-up, so that next year when it was a yearling and was not following any cow, it was still unbranded, it was called a maverick. It was range custom or range law that if a maverick were found on any range, the man finding it would put on the brand of that range. I had hired a new cow-puncher, and one day when he and I were riding, we struck a maverick. It was on a neighbor’s range, the Thistle Range. The puncher roped and threw the maverick; we built a little fire of sage-brush, and took out the cinch iron, heated it, and started to run on the brand. I said to him: “The Thistle brand.” He answered: “That’s all right, boss, I know my business.” In a minute, I said, “Hold on, you’re putting on my brand”; to which he answered: “Yes, I always put on the boss’s brand.” I said: “Oh, well, you go back to the house and get your time.” He rose Continue reading

“My Mother’s Curse upon White Settlers” by Zitkala-Sa

“My Mother’s Curse upon White Settlers”


One black night mother and I sat alone in the dim starlight, in front of our wigwam. We were facing the river, as we talked about the shrinking limits of the village. She told me about the poverty-stricken white settlers, who lived in caves dug in the long ravines of the high hills across the river.

A whole tribe of broad-footed white beggars had rushed hither to make claims on those wild lands. Even as she was telling this I spied a small glimmering light in the bluffs.

“That is a white man’s lodge where you see the burning fire,” she said. Then, a short distance from it, only a little lower than the first, was another light. As I became accustomed to the night, I saw more and more twinkling lights, here and there, scattered all along the wide black margin of the river. Continue reading

“The Soft-Hearted Sioux” by Zitkala-Sa

Christianity as a weapon of subjugation.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Soft-Hearted Sioux”



Beside the open fire I sat within our tepee. With my red blanket wrapped tightly about my crossed legs, I was thinking of the coming season, my sixteenth winter. On either side of the wigwam were my parents. My father was whistling a tune between his teeth while polishing with his bare hand a red stone pipe he had recently carved. Almost in front of me, beyond the center fire, my old grandmother sat near the entranceway.

She turned her face toward her right and addressed most of her words to my mother. Now and then she spoke to me, but never did she allow her eyes to rest upon her daughter’s husband, my father. It was only upon rare occasions that my grandmother said anything to him. Thus his ears were open and ready to catch the smallest wish she might express. Sometimes when my grandmother had been saying things which pleased him, my father used to comment upon them. At other times, when he could not approve of what was spoken, he used to work or smoke silently.

On this night my old grandmother began her talk about me. Filling the bowl of her red stone pipe with dry willow bark, she looked across at me.

“My grandchild, you are tall and are no longer a little boy.” Narrowing her old eyes, she asked, “My grandchild, when are you going to bring here a handsome young woman?” Continue reading

“Sioux Names and Their Significance” by Charles Eastman

The venerable Eastman provides elucidation.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Sioux Names and Their Significance”

from Indian Scout Talks

Charles Eastman

We Sioux had three classes of names; first, birth names; second, honor or public names; third, nicknames. The first indicated the order in which children were born into the family; as “Chaskáy,” first-born son, “Wenónah,” first-born daughter, and so on to the fifth child, who was presumed to be the last. There were a few who carried this childhood name through life.

The nickname usually records some humorous act or odd characteristic of the boy or man. It is seldom a flattering one. There is an imaginary Indian personage called “Wink’tah,” who is supposed to be ever on the watch for an excuse to coin a ridiculous name, and such a name will travel like a prairie fire before its owner is aware of it. Continue reading

“A Goblin Story” by Theodore Roosevelt

An astonishingly creepy story by one of the most popular of U.S. Presidents.
Any contemporary listener has a ready name for the “goblin” of this story.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“A Goblin Story”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

Frontiersmen are not, as a rule, apt to be very superstitious. They lead lives too hard and practical, and have too little imagination in things spiritual and supernatural. I have heard but few ghost stories while living on the frontier, and these few were of a perfectly commonplace and conventional type.

But I once listened to a goblin story which rather impressed me. It was told by a grisled, weather-beaten old mountain hunter, named Bauman, who was born and had passed all his life on the frontier. Continue reading

“Death of Two Cheyenne Braves” by Theodore Roosevelt

An eerie scene of extraordinary courage and honor and self-sacrifice.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Death of Two Cheyenne Braves”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

The incident, related by Lieutenant Pitcher, took place in 1890, near Tongue River, in northern Wyoming. The command with which he was serving was camped near the Cheyenne Reservation. One day two young Cheyenne bucks, met one of the government herders, and promptly killed him–in a sudden fit, half of ungovernable blood lust, half of mere ferocious lightheartedness. They then dragged his body into the brush and left it. The disappearance of the herder of course attracted attention, and a search was organized by the cavalry. Continue reading

“Trapped by a War Party” by Theodore Roosevelt

Regrettable and complex, Roosevelt’s attitude toward Native Americans is reflective of his entire nation’s attitude toward Native Americans.
Here, Roosevelt goads his reluctant friend into relating one of the most desperate struggles of his friend’s life, because the event also happened to be one of the most famous gunfights of the American West.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Trapped by a War Party”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

Accidents are common. Men break their collar-bones, arms, or legs by falling when riding at speed over dangerous ground, when cutting cattle or trying to control a stampeded herd, or by being thrown or rolled on by bucking or rearing horses; or their horses, and on rare occasion even they themselves, are gored by fighting steers. Death by storm or in flood, death in striving to master a wild and vicious horse, or in handling maddened cattle, and too often death in brutal conflict with one of his own fellows–any one of these is the not unnatural end of the life of the dweller on the plains or in the mountains.

But a few years ago other risks had to be run from savage beasts, and from the Indians. Continue reading

“How Cowboys Die in North Dakota” by Theodore Roosevelt

“How Cowboys Die in North Dakota”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

Last spring one of the Three-Seven riders, a magnificent horseman, was killed on the round-up near Belfield, his horse bucking and falling on him. “It was accounted a plumb gentle horse too,” said my informant, “only it sometimes sulked and acted a little mean when it was cinched up behind.” The unfortunate rider did not know of this failing of the “plumb gentle horse,” and as soon as he was in the saddle it threw itself over sideways with a great bound, and he fell on his head, and never spoke again.

Such accidents are too common in the wild country to attract very much attention; the men accept them with grim quiet, as inevitable in such lives as theirs–lives that are harsh and narrow in their toil and their pleasure Continue reading

“Light-hearted Way of Regarding ‘Broke Horses'” by Theodore Roosevelt

Insight into cowboy culture.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Light-hearted Way of Regarding ‘Broke Horses'”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

In the cow-country there is nothing more refreshing than the light-hearted belief entertained by the average man to the effect that any animal which by main force has been saddled and ridden, or harnessed and driven a couple of times, is a “broke horse.” My present foreman is firmly wedded to this idea, as well as to its complement, the belief that any animal with hoofs, before any vehicle with wheels, can be driven across any country. One summer on reaching the ranch I was entertained with the usual accounts of the adventures and misadventures which had befallen my own men and my neighbors since I had been out last. In the course of the conversation my foreman remarked: “We had a great time out here about six weeks ago. There was a professor from Ann Arbor come out with his wife to see the Bad Lands, Continue reading

“The Ending of a Desperado” by Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt recounts the story of one of his friends telling him the story of one of his scars.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Ending of a Desperado”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

One of my valued friends in the mountains, and one of the best hunters with whom I ever travelled, was a man who had a peculiarly light-hearted way of looking at conventional social obligations. Continue reading

“Buildings Made of Canvas” by Theodore Roosevelt

Disaster overwhelms a frontier town.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Buildings Made of Canvas”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

Squalid, pretentiously named little clusters of make-shift dwellings on the edge of the wild country spring up with the rapid growth of mushrooms, and are often no longer lived. In their earlier stages these towns are frequently built entirely of canvas, and are subject to grotesque calamities. When the territory purchased from the Sioux, in the Dakotas, a couple of years ago was thrown open to settlement, there was a furious inrush of men on horseback and in wagons, and various ambitious cities sprang up overnight. The new settlers were all under the influence of that curious craze which causes every true westerner to put unlimited faith in the unknown Continue reading

“Hunting a Horse-thief” by Theodore Roosevelt

An ethical dilemma on the wild frontier.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Hunting a Horse-thief”

from The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt

Early one spring, now nearly ten years ago, I was out hunting some lost horses. They had strayed from the range three months before, and we had in a roundabout way heard that they were ranging near some broken country, where a man named Brophy had a ranch, nearly fifty miles from my own. When I started thither the weather was warm, but the second day out it grew colder and a heavy snowstorm came on. Fortunately I was able to reach the ranch all right, finding there one of the sons of a Little Beaver ranchman, and a young cowpuncher belonging to a Texas outfit, whom I knew very well. After putting my horse into the corral and throwing him down some hay I strode into the low hut, made partly of turf and partly of cottonwood logs, and speedily warmed myself before the fire. We had a good warm supper, of bread, potatoes, fried venison, and tea. My two companions grew very sociable and began to talk freely over their pipes. There were two bunks one above the other. I climbed into the upper, leaving my friends, who occupied the lower, sitting together on a bench recounting different incidents in the careers of themselves and their cronies during the winter that had just passed. Soon one of them asked the other what had become of a certain horse, Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 4

Warfare is inherently dramatic. In this case, the Arikara are abominably outnumbered as they ride into combat against their dread enemies the Lakota.
Must warfare exist? Can grave conflict be superintended without putting men through hell and into death?
Is hell an adventure sought by men?
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 4

The story of Young Hawk

The army was on the little knoll at the foot of the hill, they were met by Custer’s party from the high butte. Considerable excitement among the scouts was to be seen. They wondered what Custer would say when he heard that the Dakotas knew of his approach. The scouts from the hill had told them of the six Dakotas. When the scouts saw Custer coming down they began to group themselves according to tribes, Arikara, Crows, etc. The Arikara grouped themselves about the older men who spoke to the younger men as is the custom of the tribe. Stabbed spoke to the young men and Custer gave the instructions here to the scouts through Gerard. He said: “Boys, I want you to take the horses away from the Sioux camp.” Then Stabbed told the Arikara scouts to obey Custer’s instructions and to try and take away as many horses as possible. Custer continued: “Make up your minds to go straight to their camp and capture their horses. Boys, you are going to have a hard day, you must keep up your courage, you will get experience today.” On the top of the ridge the bugle sounded for the unfurling of the flag. This caused great excitement, all made ready, girths were tightened, loads were made light. Another bugle sounded and Custer ordered the scouts forward. They went down the dry coulee and when about half way to the high ridge at the right, Young Hawk saw a group of scouts at the lower end of the ridge peering over toward the lone tepee. The scouts he was with slowed up as the others came toward them. Then behind them they heard a call from Gerard. He said to them: “The Chief says for you to run.” At this Strikes Two gave the war-whoop and rode on. At this we all whooped and Strikes Two reached the lone tepee first and struck it with his whip. Then Young Hawk came. He got off on the north side of the tepee, took a knife from his belt, pierced the tent through and ran the knife down to the ground. Inside of the lone tepee he saw a scaffold, and upon it a dead body wrapped in a buffalo robe.

White-Man-Runs-Him, Hairy Moccasin, Curly, Goes-Ahead - US Army cavalry Crow scouts at Little Bighorn Battlefield ca 1913

Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 3

Scouting forward and encountering the portents of a momentous battle to come: giant deserted camps with sun dance circles and sweat lodges, drawings in sand of dead men, drawings on hills of fighting bison, rocks painted red.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 3

An interview with Custer as told by the Arikara scout named Soldier

Soldier and Bob-tailed Bull met Custer at his camp on the river bank, in his own tent, F.F. Gerard was interpreter. Custer said: “The man before me, Bob-tailed Bull, is a man of good heart, of good character. I am pleased to have him here. I am glad he has enlisted. It will be a hard expedition but we will all share the same hardships. I am very well pleased to have him in my party, and I told it at Washington. We are to live and fight together, children of one father and one mother. The great-grandfather has a plan. The Sioux camps have united and you and I must work together for the Great Father and help each other. The Great Father is well pleased that it took few words to coax Son-of-the-Star to furnish me scouts for this work we have to do and he is pleased, too, at his behavior in helping on the plan of the Great Father. I, for one, am willing to help in this all I can, and you must help too. It is this way, my brothers. If I should happen to lose any of the men Son-of-the-Star has furnished, their reward will not be forgotten by the government. Their relations will be saddened by their death but there will be some comfort in the pay that the United States government will provide.”

Bob-tailed Bull replied: “It is a good thing you say, my brother, my children and other relatives will receive my pay and other rewards. I am glad you say this for I see there is some gain even though I lose my life.”

Custer then said: “No more words need be said. Bob-tailed Bull is to be leader and Soldier second in command of the scouts.”

Clothing was issued to the two leaders, on Bob-tailed Bull’s sleeve there were three stripes, and on Soldier’s sleeve there were two. Custer called on Bob-tailed Bull to speak, and he said through Gerard, that he was not a man to change tribes all the time, that he was always an Arikara and respected their chiefs and had served under them gladly. He said: ”Yes, Long Hair, I am a member of the police and also chief, with one hand I hold the position of police among my people and with the other I hold the position of chief of the scouts. My brother, I am going to address you so, for you said we were brothers, I have had experience fighting the Sioux, and when we meet them we shall see each other’s bravery.”

Bloody Knife US Army cavalry Arikara scout 1873 Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 2

The small society of the Arikara, in facing their age-old enemies the mighty Lakota nation, prehend a powerful ally: the United States.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 2

Preface to the Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas

The purpose in publishing this material on the Dakota campaign of 1876 is twofold. Merely as a matter of justice to the Arikara scouts, their version of the campaign in which they played an important part should have long ago been given to the public. Nearly every other conceivable angle of this memorable campaign has received attention and study. But during the past generation, the Arikara scouts, true to their oath of fealty to the government as they understood it, have remained silent as to their own part in those eventful days. The present narrative is designed to make public the real story of the Arikara scouts who served with General Terry and under the immediate command of Colonel Custer.

back row John Buckman, Goose front row Bloody Knife, George Armstrong Custer, Little Soldier 1874 Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 1

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary Special:
One of the most mesmeric and seismic battles in world history: when the Lakota defeated utterly the United States.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 1

Historical Introduction to the Battle of the Little Big Horn

In the year 1867, the United States Congress provided for a commission to treat with all the Indian tribes of the Great Plains and arrange a treaty which would grant to them definite lands. This, it was thought, would cause them to settle down and cease their war on the white man. Parts of two years were spent in visiting the scattered bands and finally, in April, 1868, an agreement was concluded which defined clearly the boundaries of the territory set apart for the Dakotas [Treaty of Fort Laramie]. This area was not large when compared with the fields over which the Dakotas had been accustomed to roam at will, but it included the Black Hills and adjacent lands which the Dakotas had cherished for a long time as a hunting ground and asylum. Consequently when gold was discovered in these hills and when the expedition commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was sent “to reconnoiter the route from Fort Abraham Lincoln to Bear Butte,” a well known point north of the Black Hills, and “to explore the country south, southeast, and southwest of that point,” the Dakotas were much disturbed.

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight - 1903

Continue reading

“Sandbar Fight” from Wikipedia

Sandbar Fight Anniversary Special:
Acting in violence is abhorrent behavior but, unfortunately, by no means aberrant behavior. / The spectacle of violence is compelling yet repulsive, for armed conflict is inherently dramatic but destructive. / Men who engage in mortal combat with each other share a camaraderie that cannot be comprehended by those who have not gambled their lives in brutal games of skill and chance. / However they may be judged, Jim Bowie’s actions in his Sandbar Fight are unquestionably memorable.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Sandbar Fight”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Sandbar Fight, a.k.a. the Vidalia Sandbar Fight, was an 1827 brawl featuring Jim Bowie. The brawl occurred at the conclusion of a duel, and resulted in Bowie being seriously injured; nonetheless, Bowie was the victor.Bowie knife Continue reading

“At the Rainbow’s End” by Jack London

A rakish cowboy, stealing a dogsled and running from the Canadian Mounties, faces destiny on an island in the Yukon River. London’s depiction of societal strata, his icy white cataclysm, and the darkness combine to form a stupendous achievement in pathos.
(The universe will crush us. We will be wiped from the earth. This is why we read poetry, this is why we tell jokes, this is why we write…)
⁓The Voice before the Void

“At the Rainbow’s End”

Jack London

It was for two reasons that Montana Kid discarded his “chaps” and Mexican spurs, and shook the dust of the Idaho ranges from his feet. In the first place, the encroachments of a steady, sober, and sternly moral civilization had destroyed the primeval status of the western cattle ranges, and refined society turned the cold eye of disfavor upon him and his ilk. In the second place, in one of its cyclopean moments the race had arisen and shoved back its frontier several thousand miles. Thus, with unconscious foresight, did mature society make room for its adolescent members. True, the new territory was mostly barren; but its several hundred thousand square miles of frigidity at least gave breathing space to those who else would have suffocated at home.

Montana Kid was such a one. Heading for the sea-coast, with a haste several sheriff’s posses might possibly have explained, and with more nerve than coin of the realm, Continue reading

“Dakota War of 1862” from Wikipedia, part 2

The aftermath: military tribunals, Abraham Lincoln’s role, the largest mass execution in United States history, and death camps.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Dakota War of 1862”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

part 2


In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by a defense in court. President Abraham Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians. Continue reading

“Dakota War of 1862” from Wikipedia, part 1

The sad history of the lead-up to, and the vicious fighting of, the frontier war between the Dakota, the European-American settlers, and the U.S. Army, including the legendary fates of despised trader Andrew Myrick and Dakota leader Little Crow.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Dakota War of 1862”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

part 1

The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, (and the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow’s War) was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux (also known as eastern Dakota). It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. It ended with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. Continue reading

“The Outcasts of Poker Flat” by Bret Harte

Another of the classic American short stories, unexpectedly sensitive and complex.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Outcasts of Poker Flat”

Bret Harte

As Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, stepped into the main street of Poker Flat on the morning of the twenty-third of November, 1850, he was conscious of a change in its moral atmosphere since the preceding night. Two or three men, conversing earnestly together, ceased as he approached, and exchanged significant glances. There was a Sabbath lull in the air which, in a settlement unused to Sabbath influences, looked ominous.

Mr. Oakhurst’s calm, handsome face betrayed small concern in these indications. Whether he was conscious of any predisposing cause was another question. “I reckon they’re after somebody,” he reflected; “likely it’s me.” Continue reading