COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - The Kanza slept with their leggings and moccasins on despite the warm June nights. The Indians tied their horses at their heads to be ready to run while others kept an overnight watch.
From the start it had been a Fool's Errand, a situation made plain when the ten men in the exploring party reached what in 1847 white people called "Grand Point," the Kanza name "Big Bottoms," today known as Junction City. Here the Indians became apprehensive. A few days before Kanza scouts spotted their powerful enemies, Comanches, near Big Bottoms.
The leader, U.S. Indian agent Richard W. Cummins, was informed the six Kanza in his party "were unwilling to proceed any further west." Recent events validated the Indians' fears. The previous July the Comanche and Kanza battled near the Pawnee Fork [west of present Larned], both tribes suffering heavy losses. At Cummins' insistence, the little expedition pushed a little further out into the plains. If detected, they would have been easily cut off by the Comanche, although Cummins thought at least some of the Kanza could have escaped. Not far west of Big Bottoms, the agent ordered a halt, concluding "it very dangerous to proceed any further." After another deliberation, the anxious men retreated east down the Kansas River valley.