Last Reviewed on February 4, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1090
Levee tells Stace that the bureau are planning to get rid of him; Stace says that he might quit first. He writes to his sister saying that he is returning home, then writes to Moses to say his life is in danger. He leaves this note under the Grayclouds' door, then walks through the creek and into the hills, to Sorrow.
Floyd sees the note being left; he is waiting for his son, Ben. Since going to Indian school, Ben has become a drunk; he staggers home with his friend Cal, and Floyd confronts him. Ben, enraged, wields a knife at his father. A gun is fired, and the sheriff arrives the next morning to investigate. The sheriff says he will send policemen to drive past and keep an eye on the Grayclouds.
Stace goes to the new settlement where Horse lives, where the Indians are delighted about the fast-growing corn. Belle arrives the next day to speak to the elders. She asks for protection, and an older woman sends her two runners: a girl named Okeena and one other. Horse is writing a "new chapter of the Bible."
Belle goes to Tar Town, a shanty town, to look for Ben. The town is full of Indians in poverty. Belle finds Ben with Cal, having killed an eagle for its feathers, to pray with. Belle is devastated and leaves.
The next day, Belle finds a group led by the sheriff at Sorrow Cave, shooting the bats because a girl has died of rabies and they are sure the disease is carried by the bats. Belle protests and stakes out the site. Moses comes to join her. Jess Gold, the sheriff, calls in reinforcements, but Willis, the half-Indian deputy sheriff, has joined Belle at the cave, protesting. Several other Indians come to join them.
Eventually, the priest, James Josh, Horse, and Joe Billy are all in the cave with the Grayclouds. They find a narrow hole which leads to a secondary cave and wriggle through it, finding a mummified body and various ceremonial items. At this moment, the sheriff returns; Horse tells Belle and Moses to block up the hole from their side, as he can see an alternative exit. When the sheriffs arrive, they throw gas into the cave and Belle and Moses emerge, but everybody else has escaped out of the back of the cave. Willis lies that the Indians would not let him leave. Meanwhile, Louise arrives to free her parents from prison and reconciles with her mother.
Jess Gold tells the Blue Store owner, Palmer, that he heard Willis planning to rob Palmer that night and to keep a gun handy. Gold then calls Willis and tips him off that Palmer is about to be robbed. Willis goes to the store, and Palmer, frightened, calls out for help, at which point Gold shoots Willis dead. He then shoots Palmer. When Ballard arrives, he assumes Willis and Palmer were working together to swindle the Indians.
The Indians are beginning to gamble more and more. Ben and Cal are gambling, too. Nola, Belle, and the others have come to watch the races; Will is not present, and Nola has begun to talk quietly to her unborn child about its father's faithlessness. Lettie is talking to Josh when the sheriff comes to greet them, and Lettie begins to wonder whether the sheriff is in on the murder plot. She wonders if this could have allowed for Benoit's murder in jail.
Louise and Floyd are worried about Ben's drinking as the town gathers for a celebration. Nola, meanwhile, is worried that Will is seeing a white woman she has noticed at the event. Keto, the veteran, dances with a girl named Jewell and walks out into the road with her. Lettie witnesses what happens next: a car appears, and some men emerge and scoop up Keto, carrying him to the car. Lettie shoots into the air, but the car speeds off.
Lettie is taken to see Dr. Levee because she is hysterical, but she is afraid of the white doctor, which Stace understands. Lettie tells Stace that she doesn't know whom she can trust.
Stace walks back to...
(The entire section contains 1090 words.)
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