By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Horse Thieves
One night at supper Pa was extrememly quiet. He told Ma that there was word out to look for horse thieves and Big Jerry was at the center of that discussion. "Seems every time he's in camp the best horses are stolen."
"I always heard you can't trust a halfbreed," Ma said. Ma didn't like indians not even half-indians.
Pa couldn't believe it was Jerry. He felt the men were just riled because Jerry always beat them in poker every payday and took off with most of their paychecks. Pa also told Ma that Jerry had a kind heart. He told her the story of how Jerry took care of Old Johnny, the water boy when he took sick. Jerry stayed with him through the night, feeding him and keeping him warm. "And Caroline we're beholden to him ourselves." Pa pointed out when Jerry rode up on his white horse during their ride out to Silver Lake.
Charles had to return to the store. "I've got to go sell the boys ammunition for their guns. I hope Jerry doesn't come into town tonight." Pa knew the men would shoot him. It would be dark before he returned again from the store. "There are at least a dozen men with loaded guns and lying in wait." It was around bedtime when Pa had to venture back out. "Don't sit up for me Caroline," he cheerfully said as disappeared into the darkness.
Laura couldn't sleep, so she sat up with Ma in the dark listening. A sharp cry in the distance scared her. It was the cry of a lost goose separated from its flock. Shortly before sunrise they heard footsteps and Pa appeared in the doorway. Laura jumped and Ma went limp in her chair. He was surprised to find both his girls sitting up waiting for him. "Everything's all right," he assured them. "Big Jerry's all right, he won't be coming into camp tonight, but I wouldn't be surprised if he rode in on his white horse in the morning. Let's get what sleep we can before sunrise." He then chuckled "There will be a bunch of sleepy men working on the grade today".
As Laura was undressing on her side of the curtain she could hear Pa whisper to Ma, "There'll never be a horse stolen from Silver Lake Camp."
Sure enough that morning Laura caught a glimpse of Big Jerry riding into camp and heading in the direction of where the men were working. There never was another horse stolen from Silver Lake Camp.