Fools Crow (earlier called White Man’s Dog), a Pikuni Blackfeet youth. He is considered to be unlucky because in eighteen winters he has captured no horses and has no wives. His first vision quest has failed. With the aid of the healer Mik-api, Fools Crow acquires courage and strength, distinguishing himself in the horse-raiding party and later the war party against the Crows. In his coming of age, Fools Crow evolves from an uncertain young man to a generous, brave, and selfless hero. He becomes a hunter, warrior, healer, and leader of the Pikunis. Ultimately, he is chosen to foresee and to witness the near destruction of his tribe.
Rides-at-the-door, Fools Crow’s father, a wise man and adviser to the chief of the Lone Eaters. Years ago, he took as wife the mother of Fools Crow and her younger sister. When he takes a young third wife out of kindness to her father, it is an unfortunate choice, because she is treated like a servant by the older wives and like a daughter by Rides-at-the-door. After his son Running Fisher is found with the young wife, Rides-at-the-door blames himself for failing them both. Because he is a just man, he does not punish her according to custom but releases her from the marriage, gives her four horses, and sends her back to her father. He is pained that Running Fisher has not become a man like Fools Crow. Rides-at-the-door is a quiet, thoughtful model of...
(The entire section is 596 words.)