Army Scout

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Army scout is a stock character in Western fiction. Armies maneuvering in pursuit of Indians or enemy forces (such as during the Mexican and Civil Wars) commonly relied on local auxillaries with knowledge of the area to scout in advance of their arrival. These scouts generally were either cavalry soldiers operating in small groups, or civillians hired on a temporary basis. Indians were often hired due to their extensive knowledge of fieldcraft and their familiarity with local languages and customs.

Due to his need to move swiftly, the scout carries little equipment and is a Fragile Speedster.

See also Mountain Man, Cavalry Officer.

Examples of Army Scout include:

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • In The Urthblood Saga, Urthfist, the brother and mortal foe of the titular character, regularly uses squads of three Long Patrol hares to scout out the area around his home mountain of Salamandastron, to be on the lookout for his brother's return. There is also a special squad consisting of only a single hare called Traveller whose job is to go father afield to spy on Urthblood and his army.


  • In The Outlaw Josey Wales, the title character is pursued by scouts.
  • Gettysburg depicts Civil War scouts performing several functions.
  • The Burrowers includes a Native American scout who cannot accurately translate another Indian's language. When the imprisoned Indian taunts him, he tortures the prisoner.


Live-Action TV

  • Deadwood includes Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, both of whom served as scouts for General Custer. This fact is repeatedly mentioned in the series.

Real Life

  • A lot of these were from tribes that were looking for revenge against whomever the army was fighting-usually meaning the tribes who were getting beaten up before the white men came.
  • Some Army Scouts were peaceful, scouting for exploration and/or diplomatic missions that happened to be entrusted to army personal. Sacajawea is the most famous of these. She was a Shoshone who was taken captive in a Hidatsu raid and then purchased (or won in a card game) as a concubine by a French trapper. Latter the Lewis and Clark expedition came passing through and she and her master/husband were recruited as guides. They provided many services including introducing them to the Shoshone who were grateful to know what had happened to their missing kinswoman.
    • Samuel D Champlain, the founder of New France made several expeditions along the Great Lakes, and of course used local help when he could hire it.

Video Games

  • Red Dead Redemption includes the Buffalo Soldier character, who is representative of an Army scout.