Elijah Thunderbird is a Native American shaman who is the ranch manager on Cole's family ranch. Please enjoy this scene:
The morning was bright when Elijah neared the Dillon ranch and Cole's horse crossed the road in front of him. He was certain it was Shiloh by her unique cat-like stride. She didn't seem in a hurry, but the fact she was bridled and dragging reins did not bode well. Elijah didn't want to spook her, so he noted the direction she was traveling, drove up the road ahead of her, and parked the truck. He rummaged about in the glove box and found several unopened packets of sugar from his last trip to the Dairy Queen in Lewistown. He emptied them into his hand and set off on foot to intercept her.
As Shiloh approached, Elijah spoke to her familiarly. She stopped to look at him, her nose twitching at the sweet scent in the air, and he casually walked up to her with palm extended. When she took the bait, he grasped her reins, brought her face close to his, and smelled her anxiety. He mounted her quickly and urged her back in the direction from which she came. She balked, but he talked to her in hushed tones, in the language of the spirits, and she obeyed his request.
Shiloh was tense beneath him, her black tail flailing in an effort to slap away the dark hand that Elijah also felt. There was a hand that reached between the worlds to claim bodies, and there was a greedier one which grasped for souls. A chill, greater than that caused by mere cold, entered Elijah as he saw the nature of the rapacious fingers that clutched at them. A terrible sense of urgency overtook them both and the horse quickened to a full gallop without Elijah's request. They retraced Shiloh's fresh tracks to the lake. On its slick surface, twenty feet from the shore, Elijah noticed the sun glinting off what appeared to be a pair of sunglasses. For a moment his mind clouded and he almost rode out onto the lake, but above him the screech of a hawk—his guardian spirit—assaulted his senses, quickened his blood, and yanked him back to himself. He whoaed the horse, dismounted, then tied her reins to the trunk of a nearby pine tree. Gingerly, he stepped out onto the ice.
With a dreadful certainty, Elijah sensed that Cole was in the lake. Slowly, he advanced until he saw the lake's greedy mouth, eager to consume another live offering. He stopped, closed his eyes, and retreated to the center of the universe. He visualized the dark hand that hovered and saw the grasp had not yet completely enveloped its prey. His mind looked around for a sign of the boy, but saw nothing, so he opened his eyes and performed the same futile search. He untied his red and white neckerchief and attached it to a pen fished from his pocket. With careful aim, he tossed his marker into the black water and noticed the direction in which the current sucked it. Ignoring the crackling and popping beneath his feet, Elijah circled around the hole and tracked the marker until—through the ice ahead—he noticed a glowing light. Sinking to his knees, he cautiously crawled toward the apparition until he saw Cole staring up at him with empty eyes. His open mouth cried out soundlessly, and the water's dance caused his fingers to claw at the clear lid of his coffin. However, there was a subtle radiance surrounding Cole that gave Elijah hope.
Elijah removed a knife from the sheath on his belt and cautiously chipped at the ice around one of Cole's hands—he couldn't see what had snagged him in this spot and didn't want to dislodge him. However, the lake's frozen surface started to surrender loudly and with a spider's web of cracks that spread quickly. Throwing away caution, Elijah reached through the small hole into the frigid water and grasped Cole's hand. When he was sure of his grip, he used his spurs and the heel of his boot to enlarge the opening. An earsplitting shriek greeted his efforts, reverberating in his ears so intensely that he felt an irrational urge to release the boy and throw his hands to his head to keep the sound out. While he wondered about this, he felt movement from Cole, a tugging so fierce and unexpected that Elijah momentarily lost hold of him. Reacting swiftly, despite the clumsiness of his own numb fingers, he managed to clasp onto a lifeless wrist. Then something stronger than the undertow tried to yank Cole away, and Elijah struggled to hold on. Unable to feel what his own hand was doing, he visualized his grip as firm and sure, trusting that it would be so. With a final, decisive thrust of his heel he widened the hole and reached for Cole's free arm. As he fished for his struggling catch, he noticed that the undertow was sucking at Cole like a whirlpool. Looking down into the water, Elijah saw that the eddy was swirling backwards, contrary to the laws of nature. He stared at it in fascination until it hypnotized him with its peculiarity. He lost himself until Shiloh's loud snort captured his attention and his eyes managed to escape the vortex. Glancing at the horse who was bucking and thrashing to break free of her restraints, he came to his senses and hoisted Cole up through and onto the ice like a cold, dead fish. His movement offended the frozen sheet beneath them, and it instantly rebelled by buckling. Elijah tossed Cole over his shoulder and managed to outrun the rift in the world that raced to claim them both.