When the company reached Council Bluffs and the Missouri River, the herd boys were assigned to drive the cattle and oxen across the river. John watched his son, George, and the other herd boys urge their horses up next to the bulls. Each boy leapt from his horse to the back of a bull, prodding it with a stick until the bull plunged into the river. Other boys whooped the rest of the herd into the water. As one of the boys leaped from one animal to another, he fell into the river among the bobbing animals. John strained to see the boy. Could he swim well enough to come up for air? Would he be kicked or trapped by the animals?
Soon the boy surfaced and pulled himself onto the back of a cow. Boys, John thought to himself, remembering his love of spirited horses as a youngster. John smiled with relief when everyone, including the cattle, reached the Nebraska side.7After crossing the river, the Saints, under the direction of Brigham Young, established the settlement of Winter Quarters where the Saints could live undisturbed by mobs and persecution. Houses had to be built and grain planted while it was still summer. The Saints worked to prepare food and supplies for themselves and those pioneers that would follow for the trip west to the Rocky Mountains.