Leah and Amanda followed the guide down a path that lead to the bottom of the cliff.
“Is it called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump because the animals smashed their heads when they went over the cliff?” asked Leah.
“Legend has it that a young boy wanted to get a good look at the buffalo as they went over the cliff. He stood too close and a buffalo fell on top of him smashing in his head. The people then called it Head-Smashed-In.”
“Maybe the parents used the story to warn other children not to get too close,” remarked Amanda.
“Perhaps.” The guide nodded. “Many of our legends have a lesson in them.”
Soon they came upon some tipis in a circle. The tops were painted with black dots and stripes and a single huge buffalo decorated each side.
While Leah continued to ask the guide questions, Amanda examined the nearest tipi. She looked to see if she could spot any more symbols similar to the one on the rock. She ended up around the back of the tent when the same cowboy appeared.
“Where is the stone?”
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do.” The cowboy put both hands on her shoulders. “I heard you have the stone and I want it!” He began to shake her.
Amanda stepped back. The cowboy moved forward. She took another step back, tripped in a gopher hole and fell flat on her back. The cowboy fell on top of her.
“If you know what’s good fer you, you’ll hand over that stone to me,” he growled through his yellowed teeth.
His breath smelt of stale cigarette smoke and onions. Amanda held her breath.
A hand came around the cowboy’s throat and pulled him back. His hat fell to the ground, revealing curly ginger hair.
“Leave her alone, Hank. She doesn’t have anything to do with this.”
Amanda looked up and saw Dan with the ranch hand firmly in his grip. Leah stood behind him with her eyes wide and her mouth open as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t get the words out.
Hank struggled to free himself from Dan’s hold, picked up his hat and slammed it against his leg before plunking it on his head. He stared hard at Amanda and strode away.
Amanda trembled as Leah and Dan helped her up.
“Are you OK?” asked Leah.
“Boy, am I glad you guys showed up when you did.”
“I wanted to tell you Dan was here, but I couldn’t find you. We heard a noise and came back here to find you being attacked by that awful man. What did he want?”
“I – I don’t know,” stammered Amanda as she brushed dirt and dry grass off her arms and legs.