The stage was set for trouble in spring 1878 when new agent Nathan C. Meeker arrived at the White River Indian Agency on the Ute Reservation. The Utes had seen agents come and go without bringing any great change, but Meeker intended to convert them to Christianity and a farming lifestyle. His efforts to alter their society drove the White River Utes to war. In The Last War Trail, Robert Emmitt details the conflict that followed, the Meeker Massacre and the Ute War of 1879. From White River Ute chief Saponise Cuch, a young warrior at the time, Emmitt heard the story of the Utes’ antagonism to Meeker’s plan to teach them to farm, their version of the battle at Milk River, and their attitude toward removal. Emmitt spoke with other Utes, some of them descendants of war participants, and with whites who had lived near the reservation. He also consulted congressional documents and official testimonies to craft this well-rounded account.
About the Author
Robert Emmitt was a staff member of the New York Times Herald Tribune. In gathering the material forThe Last War Trail, he spent a great deal of time on the Ute Reservation in Whiterocks, Utah, and visited the White River country of Colorado where the outbreak took place.
Bettina Steinke (1913-1999) was an American portrait painter.