| Courtliest, most self-effacing
and modest, yet bravest in battle and wisest in council; purest
of heart and mind, most just and slowest to anger, but quickest
with trigger and surest of aim--such a combination of superlatives
could be applied only to Kit Carson.
In 1835, while trapping with Jim Bridger, Carson encountered, among
a large party of French Canadian trappers, a Captain Shunan, who
had a wide reputation as a bully and a gun fighter. One morning
Shunan declared in Carson's hearing that the Americans were all
cowards, and Carson challenged the bully to fight in whatever manner
he chose. Shunan dared Carson to a fight on horseback.
They faced each other at a distance of a hundred paces until the
signal was given when each spurred his horse forward at a gallop.
Both held their fire until within a few yards. Carson's bullet struck
Shunan's right wrist, shattering it. Shunan's bullet grazed Carson's
head, knocking his hat off. The defeat of the hated bully was the
cause of celebration, in which Carson did not join. He spent the
time affording relief to his opponent.