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Standoff With the Teton Sioux
September 01-30, 1804
As the Yankton Sioux had warned, the Teton Sioux greeted the expedition and its gifts—a medal, a military coat, and a cocked hat—with ill-disguised hostility. One of the Teton chiefs demanded a boat as the price of passage.
When the Indians became threatening, the expedition prepared to meet force with force: Clark drew his sword, and Lewis turned the keelboat's swivel gun on the Sioux. At the last moment both sides pulled back, and the crisis was over. Nevertheless, the expedition had failed to deliver on Jefferson's hopes for friendly relations with the Sioux. The Americans headed up the river—with a potential enemy behind them and a fast-approaching winter ahead.