A ferry floated the wagons across the river. Joseph James, John’s youngest son, age 7, and his friend Rollo White took care of the animals on the flat boat that followed after the ferry. The flat boat began to tip and sink. Joseph James and the stock fell into the river. John paddled his small row boat toward his son, hurrying to pull him out of the water. Others helped rescue the animals. John rowed a shivering Joseph James safely to shore and told him to go stand near the bonfire to dry his wet clothes.
But where was Rollo White? He had been on the flat boat too. John scanned the water. Rollo was nowhere to be seen. From the Iowa shore, John climbed back into his craft to go look for the child. Someone on shore yelled that Rollo was safe. John found the boy dripping wet, huddling close by the fire. Breathing a sigh of relief, John knew there would be tragedy enough on the trip. He was thankful for Rollo’s safety. When the boat had begun to tip, Rollo’s dog, Tiger, jumped into the water. Rollo latched onto the dog’s tail and glided safely to shore. Tiger was the hero of the day.
Several days later as they traveled across Iowa, Tiger escaped into the woods. Rollo and Joseph James dodged after him because dogs were not allowed to run free. A loose barking dog could create chaos, scattering the sheep and small animals. John watched Milo White, Rollo’s father, run after the dog with his gun. Would he kill the dog? Soon there was a shot from the woods. John’s heart sank as he walked to meet the boys, hoping to comfort Joseph James. But Milo appeared, holding a large turkey. The boys and Tiger were at his side.
“A ram in the thicket!” Milo smiled, and went to work at once to make a leash for Tiger.