When the mounties needed a savvy scout to guide them through the untamed Canadian West, their requirements were pretty high. Someone who knew every square foot of the country, a crack shot with the best fire arms of the day, fluent in English, Blackfoot and Crow, and respected by Indians, white men and Métis.
Jerry Potts was their man. An amazing scout, tracker, horsemen, and seasoned frontiersman. The son of a Scottish Fur trader and a Native Blood mother, he grew up learning to fend for himself. His father was murdered when Jerry was still a baby. His mother returned to her people and after his foster father died, young Jerry was adopted by a kind trader, Alexander Dawson. Under his influence, young Potts acquired an education in worldly subjects and the business of trading.
At the age of 16 Jerry Potts tracked down and killed the man who murdered his father.
His horse trading savvy led to considerable wealth by the time he was 25.
In a drunken haze a native known as “Good Young Man” killed Jerry’s mother and half brother, and as a result Potts declared his own war on the whisky runners, leading to the disappearance of several of them in the next few months.
With the Mounties intending to shut down the American Whiskey trade, Potts was given the job as scout in 1874. They paid him 90.00 a month, 3 times the salary of a regular mountie. His knowledge of the Blackfoot language and social customs made him invaluable to the North West Mounted police and he served them well for the next 22 years.
Jerry Potts continued to guide and scout for the mounties until his death from throat cancer July 14, 1896. He was buried with full military honors as Fort Macleod, Alberta.