"He Gave Them 15 Minutes"

16" x 20" Oil on Linen

In 1885 the Cree, under a chief by the name of Piapot, camped smack-dab on the right-of-way of the Canadian Pacific Railway and effectively stopped track laying crews in their tracks, so to speak (no pun intended).  Corporal Wilde and another Mountie were dispatched from Maple Creek Station to recommend to the Cree that they move their encampment from the right-of-way and to allow track crews to go forward.  His request was pretty well totally ignored. 


So, pulling out his pocket watch and staring down at it, he told the assembled Cree that he would give them 15 minutes to move.  The Cree could only scoff at the pretension of such a thought and made their opinions loudly known.  The next quarter hour was filled with yells, feints, threats, chants and general overt intimidations by 700 Cree with 200 armed warriors, directed at Corporal Wilde and his partner - who patiently remained silent.


When the 15 minutes were up, Corporal Wilde dismounted and walked over to the Chief's lodge.  He proceeded to literally kick it down.  He went to the next lodge and did the same, and the next, and the next.  Chief Piapot was incredulous and must have been very impressed as he later exclaimed that this action by the Corporal showed  considerable  bravery.  That may have been the greatest understatement of the moment.  Accordingly, he moved his people from the area and bloodshed was averted. 

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