They were land travelers again when on April 27 they met a roaming band of Walla Wallas (kindred of the Nez Perces) and their chief. The captains, who called him Yellept, had met him last fall, given him a medal, and made a friend. Now he had his people bring them firewood (they had been paying odd bits of metal for odd bits of driftwood), plenty of dogs for food, and “a very eligant white horse.” He would have liked a kettle but they had only their own mess kettles left, one for every eight men, and the grateful Clark gave him his sword instead and a handsome quantity of powder and balls. They traveled with these pleasant people to the mouth of the Walla Walla, dancing for them by night to Cruzatte’s fiddle.
The Walla Walla empties into the Columbia from the east some distance downstream from the Snake by which they had entered the great river last October. In 1818 the North West Company would build a post at its mouth. In 1836 Marcus Whitman would establish his mission for the Cayuse Indians some twenty miles above the mouth, and would begin his ministry not only to the Cayuses but to the emigrant trains of his countrymen that had been all but shattered by the crossing of the Blue Mountains.