Imagine you are a traveler on a good horse, in eastern Kansas, 1854. It's a warm early summer day, the scrub oaks full of birdsong, the road not yet dusty under your horse's hooves. At a ford on Potawatomie Creek, you meet a band of rough-looking men, riding skinny mules. They tote a variety of weapons, knives and dirks, a pepperbox jammed into a rope used as a belt. They smile. The oldest, a bearded man in an old slouch hat, Sharp's cavalry rifle in his left hand, rides up directly to the water's edge, blocking you from crossing. He grins, the black stumps of teeth in his gums glistening. "So, friend," he says, "How do you stand on the goose?"