As a wagon train in 1864 stopped by the Platte River for lunch, they noticed a few Indians in the distance riding back and forth, charging, then retreating. Since the train’s horses had wandered into the valley away from the wagons, the Indians’ behavior seemed threatening. When the few Indians first seen became many Indians rising from hiding places, and racing on ponies towards the grazing herd, it was clear they intended to stampede the horses.
Anna Dell Clinkenbeard’s father stood in front of his wagon, at the head of the rest. Seeing the danger he quietly called his two grazing horses to come, and they instantly obeyed. As he led them back towards his wagon, other horses they passed in transit turned and followed until other men in the train rushed forward to secure their mounts.
By the time the onrushing Indians came to the train they found armed men awaiting. Foiled in their desire to steal, they became docile. Had it not been that Anna’s dad coolly and quickly called his horses, then marched them back through the others, disaster may have supervened. We cannot tell when the action of one, or a few, people can change the day. Diary – Anna Del Clinkenbeard – Journey Across Prairies to Oregon. From The Paper, November 28, 2013.