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Riel was discharged from the asylum in January 1878 with the recommendation that he avoid excitement. He returned to the U.S. and fell in love with Evelina Barnabe. Less interested in politics, Riel tried to find work so that he might have something to offer Evelina. Finally, he decided to return to the west. Evelina did not think she would be able to adapt to prairie life and after several months, Riel stopped writing to her and the relationship ended.
By the fall of 1878, life in Manitoba had changed a great deal. An influx of immigrants was driving the Métis away. Stripped of their land and their way of life, the Métis were moving farther and farther west to settle along the Saskatchewan River at places such as Lac La Biche, Qu'Appelle, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Duck Lake and Batoche.
Riel had followed the Buffalo Hunt and worked as an agent, trader and woodcutter near Carroll, in the Montana Territory since 1879. He married Marguerite Monet Bellehumeur on March 6, 1882. Riel took an interest in American politics and became an American citizen. When his exile ended, he paid a brief visit to his mother, then returned to the U.S. where he became a schoolmaster to provide for his family, which now included two children. Although he was a good teacher, Louis was not happy. He had hoped to instruct the Métis but found that they made little progress, coming to class sporadically and preferring to follow the hunt.