Last Reviewed 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...
(The entire section contains 848 words.)
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Mean Spirit study guide. You'll get access to all of the Mean Spirit content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.
- Chapter Summaries
- Critical Essays