The inspiration behind Stands with a Fist in Dances with Wolves

Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter, Topʉsana (Prairie Flower), in 1861

One of the greatest and saddest love stories of the Wild West

She was christened Cynthia Ann Parker, but she would have told you her name was Naduah, which translates as Keeps Warm With Us.

Author and screenwriter Michael Blake said that his character Stands with a Fist was based upon Cynthia.

She was born in 1824 in Illinois to Silas and Lucy Parker. When she was nine years old, the family moved to north-west Texas. They went to Fort Parker, established by Cynthia’s grandfather, in what is now Limestone County.

But on May 9, 1836, a hundred Comanche and Kiowa warriors attacked the fort and killed most of the men. Cynthia and five other captives were led away. One teenage girl escaped. Four others, including her brother John, were later released for ransom.

Cynthia was beaten and treated as a slave at first, but her life improved when she was adopted by a Comanche couple who raised her like their own.

While still barely a teenager Cynthia married a chieftain, Peta Nakone, who was called Camps Alone. It turned out to be an extraordinary love match.

It was traditional for Comanche chiefs to take more than one wife, but Nakone never did. The couple had three children: the future and famed Comanche chief Quanah Parker, another son Pecos and a daughter Topsannah.

The Comanche massacre.

The next report of Cynthia was in a newspaper account from 1846. It described how a trading party led by Colonel Leonard G. Williams had come across a tribe of Comanches camped on the Canadian River. They had a white woman with them.

Williams offered a ransom of twelve mules and two mule-loads of goods to the tribal elders in exchange for her, but he was refused. The Comanches told Williams that Cynthia loved her husband and children and did not want to leave them. In subsequent sightings, Cynthia would hide.

In the winter of 1860, a small band of Texas Rangers surprised a Comanche meat camp at Mule Creek on the Pease River. Most of the men were away hunting and many of the women and children were massacred.

A Comanche woman attempted to flee on horseback with her daughter but was captured. The Rangers noticed that the woman had blue eyes and realised she might be the missing Cynthia Parker.

When she overheard her name banded around by the Rangers, she patted herself on the chest and said, ‘Me Cincee Ann.’

Her fate was sealed.

Leaving her Comanche family

The story of Cynthia’s ‘rescue’ transfixed the nation, and she was treated like a returning hero. Texas granted her four and a half thousand acres of land and a pension of $100 per year.

Her brother, Silas Junior, was appointed her guardian and took her to his home in Van Zandt County.

But Cynthia never warmed to her new life. She was shuttled from one family to another and often had to be locked in her room to prevent her escaping.

No one could believe she might prefer the company of ‘savages’ to life among her fellow settlers.

Cynthia never saw her husband again. She died seven years later, still grief-stricken over the loss of her Comanche family.

Comanche Chief Quanah Parker

The son she left behind grew up to become one of the Comanche’s greatest war leaders, Quanah Parker.

He fought the Americans for twenty years, trying to defend Comanche lands and protect the bison herds from extinction. He eventually surrendered in 1875, led his tribe to a reservation and died in 1911.

In 1957, his remains were moved to the cemetery at Fort Sill to be reunited with his mother and sister.

FOOTNOTE: If you love historical stories you may like my bestselling EPIC ADVENTURE SERIES. Available on Amazon in Kindle ebook, paperback and in Kindle Unlimited.

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About Colin

Colin Falconer
Colin Falconer is a best-selling author known for historical thrillers such as Silk Road, Harem, Fury, and Feathered Serpent. He has published over 30 books, which have been translated into 25 languages, distinguishing him as a prominent figure in historical fiction.

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