i. The Civil War is over, Congress establishes peacetime troops, and arranges for black soldiers to serve in their own units led by white officers. The black troops, filthy, without uniforms, and underfed, meet their new Sargeant Major Roscoe Brassard. Brassard is angered by their sad appearance and the fact that they are hungry and quickly goes about correcting their living conditions. They make the trip to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
1. Augustus Talbot is a slave. He was kidnapped by Kiowi Indians and kept several years by them, then sold to a farmer, who required him to shoot buffalo for the skins. A party of Buffalo Soldiers comes upon him, there is an altercation, and Augustus' master dies. The soldiers take Augustus back to the fort with them and recommend that he be inducted because of his sharp shooting abilities and because his years living with the Kiowa Indians. He understands how Indians think. They want him to be a scout.
2. Augustus changes his name to Augustus Sharp when he joins up. Thus, he hopes to be a new person as he embarks upon a new life. The Army becomes a home for Augustus, and he makes friends there. He quickly proves his ability to shoot when he wins a target match with the famous Buffalo Bill Cody. He meets the child Selona who will grow up to become his wife. She is the daughter of a fellow soldier named Moss. One night white Texas Rangers visit the fort and make it plain they hate black people. They attack 17-year-old Selona, rape her, and scalp her. Selona has a nervous break-down. Augustus makes a wig for her out of buffalo hair. It looks good on her. She begins to participate in life again.
A ii. Part 2 - in 1874 at Fort Sill Augustus gets a taste of fighting.
1. Augustus goes on a scouting mission and comes upon a farm where Indians have murdered the farmer and his wife. They scalped the farmer, cut the wife's breasts off, and kidnapped the three children whom they intend to sell in Mexico. Augustus frees the children. He sends the two youngest on his own horse to find the detachment and alert them to the situation. He keeps the oldest boy Ernst Bruner with him. Together they fight off a band of Indians. When they are down to their last two bullets, which they have saved to kill themselves with rather than be taken by the Indians, the Cavalry comes in and they beat the Indians.
2. Big Red Food, chief of the Nokoni, and 30 to 40 of his warriors refuse to turn in their weapons and stay on the reservation. Because of this they are refused rations which they need to survive the winter. The Agency fears if they give out the rations, Big Red Food and his warriors will scatter to the plains and join up with the Kiowa. Negotiations with Big Red Food fail.
3. The Troopers charge the Indians in a corral with pistols in hand.
But the Indians have young, swift ponies. The soldiers' horses are old and tired, worn out by their previous service to white soldiers. It is one of the obstacles the Buffalo Soldiers constantly must overcome. In this case those Indians, who were not killed, escape.
4. The Indians come back the next morning and attack the Agency. The Buffalo Soldiers "responded with withering fire from their Spencers, repulsing the attack," and thus prove their mettle. Selona's father Moss Liberty dies from his wounds after extracting a promise from Augustus that he will take care of Selona. Augustus and Selona get married the following week. And begin a life together.
5. While out on patrol, Augustus meets the brother of his former owner who tells him that his former owner's farm has been foreclosed by the bank and that he (the brother) is going to buy the farm, plough it under, and plant cotton. Augustus' parents are both buried there. Augustus digs up their graves and takes their bones home for proper burial.
A iii. In Part 3, (1880-1882) at Fort Davis Selona and Augustus have one child Adrian and adopt another, David, born the same week, whose mother died. They have a