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Summers was smiling at the ground as if he was pleased. “Caudill and Deakins, here, aim to be mountain men.”
“Huh! They better be borned ag’in.”
“How so?”
“Ten year too late anyhow.” Uncle Zeb’s jaw worked on the tobacoo. “She’s gone, goddam it! Gone!”
“What’s gone?” asked Summers.
Boone could see the whisky in Uncle Zeb’s face. It was a face that had known a sight of whisky, likely, red as it was and swollen-looking.
“The whole shitaree. Gone, by God, and naught to care savin’ some of us who seen ‘er new.” He took the knife from his belt and started jabbing at the ground with it, as if it eased his feelings. He was silent for a while.
“This was man’s country onc’t. Every water full of beaver and a galore of buffler any ways a man looked, and no crampin’ and crowdin’. Christ sake!”
To the east, where the hill and sky met, Boone saw a surge of movement and guessed that it was buffalo until it streamed down the slope, making for them, and came to be a horse herd.
Summers’ gray eye slipped from Boone to Uncle Zeb. “She ain’t sp’iled, Zeb,” he said quietly. “Depends on who’s lookin’.”
“Not sp’iled! Forts all up and down the river, and folk everywhere a man might think to lay a trap. And greenhorns comin’ up, a heap of ‘em—greenhorns on every boat, hornin’ in and sp’ilin’ the fun. Christ sake! Why’n’t they stay to home? Why’n’t they leave it to us as found it? By God, she’s ours by rights.”
…Boone heard his own voice, sounding tight and toneless. “She still looks new to me, new and purty.”

–A B Guthrie, Jr. The Big Sky. 1947

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