Part 2, Section 3

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Last Updated on February 4, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 848

The night before the trial, Stace Red Hawk struggles to sleep. The courthouse is mobbed by newspapermen, who are interested in Stace despite his resignation from the bureau. Hill Indians in traditional dress, including Moses, Horse, and Stink, come to observe.

Hale pleads "not guilty" to murder. The first witness, a criminal, testifies that Hale approached his gang leader, Al Spencer, about killing "some oil-rich Indians." Mardy Green then testifies that Walter Bird had been released from jail to kill Walker for Hale, for his life insurance policy, and that Hale had given Green the Buick which was used in the killing of Grace.

During the recess, Levee tells Stace he thinks someone more senior is involved in an oil plot: many Indians sold their land legally because they were told that the army would otherwise evict them from it. Stace is furious as he realizes why there are Indians leaving their own town. 

Several witnesses fail to appear, and Hale has an alibi for the times of all the murders. Each day, fewer Indians appear, until Hale's lawyer, Springer, is arrested for bribing and threatening witnesses, at which point a mistrial is declared. However, Hale is immediately arrested again by the bureau for the murder of Forrest on federal land. There will be a fresh trial.

Stace goes to the Grayclouds' house, and Floyd asks why he hadn't said he was with the government. Stace apologizes and says he could not. He leaves for Sorrow Cave and sees Na-pa-Cria, called Cry, the "teller of events," approaching from the settlement. She brings him home with her. Belle meets Stace at the settlement, and they listen to Cry recount what happened during the trial. Belle presents Stace with a feather and asks her to give it to Lettie and say Belle will come soon for the new trial. He tells Lettie this and accompanies Lettie to Guthrie for the trial. They take rooms in an inn, but Stace wants to sleep outside to reconnect with the old ways.

The trial begins. Mardy retracts his confession and says it was forced out of him by government officials. Ballard, Levee, and Stace deny this to the judge. Mardy does continue, however, by explaining that the plot had been for Jess Gold to marry Lettie and inherit the oil. Then they found that Lettie's marriage to Benoit was illegal under white law and decided to murder Belle—at which point Belle's bees attacked Gold. The sheriff had wanted Willis killed for fear that he would try to help Belle, as he was part Indian. Mardy's testimony suggested everyone was involved: attorneys, the banker, guardians of oil-rich Indians, and others. China testified that Hale had wanted her to marry John Stink for his money.

Nola becomes despairing. She frees her monkey and parrot, saying this is not their world and they, like her, are imprisoned. She is sure Will is "a bad man." She takes a pistol and shoots Will, which the guardians witness. Shortly afterward, she goes into labor; Horse watches over her and continues his book. The baby is born, and Horse feels that "the bat medicine has awakened." When, a few nights later, Stace manages to capture Redshirt, Horse says Redshirt allowed himself to be captured and Stace should let him go again. In Watona, Belle's bees return home.

Nola tells Belle she is calling her daughter Moses. Belle decides not to tell her that Will was innocent of any wrongdoing. 

Stace returns to the Grayclouds' to borrow a horse, saying he needs a horse to help him recapture his own. The Grayclouds are distrustful of him at first, but he is eventually invited to stay there for the night. He remembers Belle's feather and presents it to Lettie. Stace and Moses then set out the following morning to recapture Stace's lost horse. They trap her, and Redshirt, who has befriended them, reappears, following them.

Levee tells Stace that he is leaving. The world is different now, and the Indians do not want him. 

That night, Moses wakes to the sound of Ruth screaming. He leaps onto a horse and races toward her home. 

Stace, filled with sudden dread, runs back to Levee's camp to say someone is at the Grayclouds'. 

The someone is a man. Floyd runs out to him, telling the women to get out of the house. Moses has returned with the wagon and helps all the women into it. Their house has been set aflame by a charge, and a gunshot makes them all fear that Floyd has been killed until they see the figure of the dead man, the assailant, on the ground. As the family leaves, Stace joins them. Moses is crying and explains that Ruth is dead: Tate shot her. Moses shot him in retaliation, because he was "one of them." They have to leave to avoid Moses being arrested, but there is a sense that they are moving away from a catastrophe and toward hope—"the night was on fire with their pasts and they were alive."

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Part 2, Section 2