The year is 1867, and the Kiowahs, among other Indian tribes, are sending representatives to a meeting with US Government bigwigs and their soldier escort at Medicine Lodge, Oklahoma. White Bear, the tribe’s envoy, chooses Skywalker and Tay-bodal to ride with him. Tay-bodal, a gifted healer and no mean sleuth (Witch of the Palo Duro, 1997; Death at Rainy Mountain, 1996), had spent a short time among the Blue Jacket soldiers—a time when his life was saved by their doctor Haw-we-sun (Harrison). On arrival at the Lodge, Tay-bodal spends his days helping the white doctor with his patients, thanks to translating help from Billy, a half-caste Kiowah. All goes well until the soldier called Buug-lah (Bugler) is found murdered, soon after his bugle is discovered in the woods by White Bear, who’s now suspect number one. Worse, the other tribes are threatening to outlaw the Kiowahs from the confederacy of nations. Some extensive probing by Tay-bodal turns up two of Buug-lah’s blackmail victims, but it takes another killing before the culprit is pinned and the conference can resume its course. A dense, near-impenetrable forest of plots (large and small), a confusing parade of fussily described but unmemorable characters, and a suspense-less mystery—all make for the weakest of the author’s work to date.