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the captain's dog

Page numbers are approximate and may vary between book editions.

Section 1: 1808 through September 24, 1804

Comprehension

  1. While waiting by the fire with Colter and Drouillard, what does Watkuweis take from her otter skin bag?
    pg. 6
  2. While looking downriver with Captain Lewis, what does Seaman liken the Missouri River to?
    pg. 10
  3. How does Seaman try to cheer up Captain Lewis when he sees a hint of sadness in the captain’s eyes?
    pg. 14
  4. While bargaining over the price of Seaman (Champion), what lie does Brady tell Captain Lewis?
    pg. 16
  5. After the captains display the force of their guns, what does Cruzatte do that Seaman doesn’t like?
    pg. 25
  6. What does Seaman see Private Collins do late at night while the other men are asleep?
    pg. 28
  7. When Private Joseph Fields is bitten by a rattlesnake, how does Captain Lewis treat the bite?
    pg. 30
  8. Even though he doesn’t believe it at first, how is Seaman convinced that Captain Clark owns York?
    pg. 32
  9. What does Captain Clark want for his birthday dinner?
    pg. 36
  10. How does Seaman know Moses Reed had not left his knife at Council Bluff?
    pg. 47
  11. What two things does Dorion tell Captain Lewis had been brought to the Omaha?
    pg. 48
  12. How does Seaman escape from the wolf pack?
    pg. x
  13. Out of all the men, why is Captain Lewis most affected by Floyd’s death?
    pg. x
  14. How is the tension of the standoff with the Tetons broken?
    pg. x

Discussion

  1. 1. Find examples of literary devices in the reading, such as, simile, metaphor, idiom, colloquialism, and descriptive imagery.
    n/a
  2. Seaman says that dogs know humans better than humans will ever know dogs. Do you agree?
    pg. 13
  3. Seaman gives a detailed account of the differences between Captain Lewis and Captain Clark. What do you think Seaman means when he says, “Our tribe would have two chiefs, but they would lead as one.”?
    pg. 18
  4. Seaman says humans have pitiful noses. Why do you think that could be a handicap when you’re out in the wilderness?
    pg. 27
  5. What do you think about the punishment Collins and Mall received for stealing whiskey? Do you think it was fair? What do you think may have happened if they weren’t punished?
    pg. 29
  6. Seaman says that he has more freedom to do as he pleases than York. What do you think about that? How can a dog have more freedom than a human being?
    pg. 32
  7. Newman was being influenced by Reed. What was Reed trying to do to Newman?
    pg. 35
  8. How do you think the men could eat nine pounds of meat per day and still go hungry? What do you think is happening?
    pg. x
  9. What do you think about the gifts they gave the Otos? What do they tell you about Lewis and Clark’s understanding of the Native Americans? What would you have offered them instead?
    pg. 43
  10. Discuss the whole speech Captain Lewis gives to the Otos. Did the President uphold the promises that Captain Lewis made?
    pg. 44
  11. Why do you think it was important for the Captains to keep their tempers under control?
    pg. 72

Section 2: October 22, 1804 through June 9, 1805

Comprehension

  1. How does Newman’s court marshal and punishment change him?
    pg. 81
  2. After the grass fire, what does Seaman find under the burnt buffalo skin?
    pg. 86
  3. After walking in on Captain Lewis unannounced, what service does Toussaint Charbonneau offer?
    pg. 89
  4. What are the Captains depending on the Shoshone for that is critical to the success of the expedition?
    pg. 91
  5. What does Seaman discover about Bird Woman that nobody else knows?
    pg. 93
  6. As food becomes scarce, what do the captains do to get meat and produce from the Mandans?
    pg. 95
  7. What does Rene Jessaume suggest to Captain Lewis to hurry along Bird Woman’s labor?
    pg. 98
  8. How does Charbonneau react when a squall suddenly comes up while he is at the tiller of the boat?
    pg. x
  9. What makes Seaman’s blood tingle while he and the Indian dog are looking down at the Yellowstone River?
    pg. 110
  10. What changes Captain Clark’s opinion of Grizzly bears?
    pg. 115
  11. When the pirogue heals over in the squall, how does Cruzatte force Charbonneau to obey the captain?
    pg. 117
  12. Whenever Charbonneau fails in his duties, how does he try and make it up to the captains?
    pg. 127
  13. Why are the captains so concerned about taking the correct fork in the River to get to the Great Falls?
    pg. x
  14. Who does Captain Lewis credit for his knowledge of herbs that help cure his illness?
    pg. x

Discussion

  1. The Arikara Indians were very surprised by the whiskey offered them by Lewis and Clark and refused the gift. What do you think about Lewis and Clark offering alcohol to the Indian tribes they encountered? Why do you think the Indians were surprised that, “Their great Father” would give them something to make them foolish?
    pg. 77
  2. Do you think it makes sense for the Captains to make battle-axes, give them to the Indians, and tell them not to use them? Do you think this was confusing? What would you have given them instead?
    pg. 95
  3. The Captains kicked Charbonneau and his family out of the fort because of Charbonneau’s attitude. Do you think that was a good idea? Is it fair that Charbonneau refused to work? Why or why not?
    pg. 98
  4. What do you think it was like for the expedition to come across grizzly bear tracks for the first time? Have you ever seen pictures of grizzly bears? What do you think it would be like to run into one of them in the wild?
    pg. 107
  5. Why do you think the elk and buffalo showed no fear of man? Why wouldn’t they be afraid? Why did they begin to become afraid?
    pg. 109
  6. When Seaman follows the cat and sticks his head in the cave, he was in for a big surprise. How would you have reacted if you saw an animal that you had no idea existed?
    pg. 120
  7. If Seaman had died from his wounds, would it have been a loss the expedition? Why? Has Seaman proven his worth? How?
    pg. 124
  8. Colter tells the Captains, “The way I figure it, we are in this together.” This show of loyalty cheers Captain Lewis. How important is loyalty in a situation like this? Why?
    pg. 136

Section 3: June 13, 1805 through September 18, 1805

Comprehension

  1. What does Charbonneau accuse Captain Lewis of in regards to Sacagawea?
    pg. x
  2. Who is the only person surprised when Captain Lewis’s iron boat sinks to the bottom of the river?
    pg. 156
  3. According to Seaman, what are some of Captain Lewis’s successes?
    pg. 161
  4. Why does Charbonneau want the Captains to order him and Sacagawea to not cross the mountains?
    pg. x
  5. After finally spotting a Shoshone, what prevents Captain Lewis from meeting him?
    pg. x
  6. How are the Shoshone keeping from starvation?
    pg. 183
  7. What does Captain Lewis do to keep Cameahwait and the Shoshones at the river?
    pg. 195
  8. What does Captain Lewis order his men to do that Seaman thinks is the hardest thing they have ever done?
    pg. 197
  9. Why do Old Toby’s sons leave to rejoin the Shoshones?
    pg. 206
  10. Why does Three Eagles, the Flathead Chief, decide to greet the expedition as friends?
    pg. 208
  11. What do the Nez Percé Indians call themselves?
    pg. x
  12. On the journey over the mountains, why does Seaman want to stay up front with Old Toby?
    pg. x
  13. When it looks like they might not make it over the mountains, what does Captain Clark suggest?
    pg. x
  14. What name is given to Seaman by the old woman in the Nez Percé camp?
    pg. x

Discussion

  1. Captain Lewis realized that pride made him deaf to the logic of the other men. Have you ever been prideful to the point where did something foolish? How does pride blind a person? Discuss.
    pg. 157
  2. Captain Lewis focused on all of his “failures” but others saw all of his successes. Do you think it’s better to dwell on failures or successes? Is there a place to learn from your failures? What happens to a person who only dwells on their mistakes?
    pg. 160
  3. Bird Woman witnessed unspeakable horror when she was kidnapped. Discuss how going through something like that would affect you. What emotions do you think she experienced?
    pg. 170
  4. What do you think about Captain Clark not forcing Sacagawea to stay with the Shoshone? Was it fair? Why or why not?
    pg. 178
  5. The Shoshone chief believed that Captain Lewis had come in peace. Discuss what the Chief and the other warriors did. How could this have gone badly?
    pg. 185
  6. How much faith did the men have in Captain Lewis? Was this a situation where absolute obedience was necessary? Why or why not?
    pg. 197
  7. Chief Cameahwait turned out to be Bird Woman’s brother. Have you ever been separated from someone you love? What emotions do you think Bird Woman and her brother experienced?
    pg. 203

Section 4: September 20, 1805 through end of story

Comprehension

  1. Why does Seaman enjoy being with the boy, Mountain Dog?
    pg. x
  2. Of all the goods the expedition had with them, what were the Nez Percé most impressed by?
    pg. x
  3. What do the Nez Pierce sell to the men to eat?
    pg. 235
  4. Why are Captain Lewis and his men in a dark mood after meeting the Chinook Indians?
    pg. x
  5. How many miles had the expedition traveled?
    pg. 238
  6. What Indian tribe helps them when they are stranded and hungry in the estuary?
    pg. 238
  7. Why were the Clatsops good bargainers?
    pg. x
  8. What is the only long excursion Seaman gets to go on?
    pg. x
  9. What do Colter and Drouillard plan on doing when they get home?
    pg. 247
  10. While heading up the Columbia river, how do the captain’s plan on getting past the Chinook Indians?
    pg. x
  11. After beginning the Journey over the mountains, why do the men have to turn back?
    pg. x
  12. Why do the guides try and talk Captain Lewis out of exploring Maria’s River?
    pg. x
  13. After talking late into the night with the Blakfeet Indians, what happens early the next morning?
    pg. x
  14. What happens to Seaman while he’s running away from the Blackfeet?
    pg. 280

Discussion

  1. When WatKuweis overhears the Nez Percé plotting against the men, she confronts them. They say, “There is no harm in talk.” And she says, “Bad talk leads to bad actions.” What do you think she means by this? Do you agree or disagree?
    pg. 231
  2. How do you think Seaman felt when he realized the men were eating dog meat?
    pg. 235
  3. The Captains decided to put it to a vote where they would build a fort. Letting York and Bird Woman vote also was very unusual at that time. Why do you think they allowed them to vote?
    pg. x
  4. Of all the things you are used to in your daily life what do you think would be the hardest thing for you to do without if you went on an expedition like this? How would you adapt?
    pg. x
  5. If you were starving, would you be tempted to steal? How would you handle that temptation?
    pg. 251
  6. The men did not listen to Twisted Hair’s advice about crossing the mountains because they were impatient to get moving, but they soon found that they should have followed his advice. Can you think of a time that you were impatient and ended up having to do something over. Can you think of a time when you wished you had listened to the advice of someone wiser than you?
    pg. 258
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