"An Incident of the Plains," Juvenile Instructor, 1 Mar. 1883, p. 68.
It was customary in those days for quite a number of Saints to travel together for mutual protection, in case of an attack from Indians some of whom were at that time not very friendly, and also for mutual aid in other ways. That order might prevail in the camp, a captain was always selected by the authorities in Utah or at the outfitting place in the East, to take charge of the emigrants.
It happened, in the year 1859, that Edward Stevenson was appointed captain of an ox-team company to travel from the states to these valleys. As they were about to start on the journey, the captain called the emigrants together, and, among other instructions, told them not to separate themselves from the company on any conditions except by special order. For several days these instructions were carefully observed, but as the company arrived in the Wood River country where the buffalo were seen, it was hard to resist the temptation of following some of them up for the purpose of killing them.
Finally, two men named Rogers, father and son, who had emigrated from the cape of Good Hope where they had been engaged by the British government in carrying the mails throughout the mountains, got on a trail of a large buffalo and succeeded in killing and skinning him. But in the excitement of the chase they had forgotten how far they were going from the camp, and on looking around when they came to a halt, their friends were nowhere to be seen. They quickly realized their position, and it was agreed that the father should remain and take care of the dead buffalo while the son should go to camp for assistance to carry it.
The son retraced his steps as speedily as possible, and arrived in camp almost out of breath, where he told of his success in hunting. The captain was not pleased at the disobedience of these men in leaving the company, for he knew that there was always danger of an attack from the Indians; but as one man was behind, it was decided that several men should return with the son and bring in the dead animal.
This had all occurred early in the morning. About eleven o'clock a.m. the company halted for rest and food. At twelve the party that had been appointed to get the dead buffalo returned to camp, and young Rogers, going up to the captain, asked if his father had not returned. "No," said the captain, "he has not been seen. Did you not find him where you left him?" "No," was the reply. The son then explained that on arriving where the dead animal was, they found that a nice piece of meat had been cut from the same and the hide was thrown over it.
Rogers now felt confident that his father had been killed by the Indians, for he thought it impossible that an old mountaineer like his father should get lost. But the captain was of the opinion that the old man had wandered away. A party of men was therefore organized to return and search the country for the missing man, while the company waited for them. As it was getting dusk the party returned, but with no tidings of old man Rogers, notwithstanding that the men had fired their guns in order to attract his attention should he be near.
It was decided to suspend operations for the night, as it would be useless to attempt a search in the dark. The people had eaten, prepared their beds and had just finished saying their prayers, when a shout was heard, and the old man came, footsore and weary, into camp. Going direct to the captain he exclaimed, "Oh captain, if you will forgive me this time I will never disobey counsel again." He then told about his tiresome during which he was at times so weary with fatigue and anxiety as to be almost unable to stand. "At one time," he said, "I was lying in a hollow taking a few minutes rest, when suddenly a large buffalo appeared on the hillock above me, and looked at me so fiercely with his large, glassy eyes, that I became afraid. "It was then, that I heartily wished I had obeyed your instructions."
It is needless to add that the Saints were pleased at the return of the truant, and during the rest of the journey a more obedient man that the old mountaineer Rogers, could not be found in the company.