Unpublished letters and diaries by eyewitnesses, interviews with decedents, an intimate knowledge of the country enrich this narrative of the heroic Nez Perce Indian War waged in 1877 against relocation.
The result is a well documented chronicle offering new perspective on prewar Indian-white relations, United States government pressures and nontreaty rebellions, the five battles, subjection and surrender, and on the character of the leaders on both sides.
"From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever," Chief Joseph said in surrender. But as a guardian and protector of his people he at last succeeded in bringing back the remaining members of his tribe to their beloved valley.
Calling Professor Beal's book, "definitive, but not final," Herman J. Deutsch, professor emeritus of American history at Washington State University, writes in the foreword: "Joseph and his band remain an example and inspiration to those who today are seeking recognition as human beings, equal in the sight of God and therefore entitled to like status among men. Those who recognize that such aspirations must not for long remain unfulfilled can derive from Nez Perce history examples of the consequences of policies conceived in ignorance and colored with disdain of the culture and way of life of minority peoples. ...A world surfeited with deceptive success stories can ill afford to forget a people and their leader who attained their true moral stature as they were facing their doom."
ForewordPrefaceAcknowledgementsFrom Peace to War1) The Nez Perces at Home2) A Golden Age of Indian relations3) Indian Treaties and Controversies4) On the WarpathThe Campaign in Idaho5) The Battle of White Bird Canyon6) Aftermaths, Skirmishes, and Repercussions7) The Battle of the ClearwaterCrossing the Bitterroot Ranges8) Crossing the Lolo Trail9) Affairs at Fort Fizzle and in Montana10) From Lolo Creek to the Big Hole Basin11) The Battle of the Big Hole12) Casualties, Evaluations, and Reactions13) Incidents on the Route to Camas Meadows14) The Raid and battle of Camas Meadows15) On to Yellowstone National Park16) Indians and Soldiers Cross the ParkFlight toward Canada17) Escaping the Absaroka Blockade18) The Batle of Canyon Creek19) From the Musselshell to the Bear Paw RangeSeventh Cavalry Success20) Colonel Nelson A. Miles Enters the Campaign21) The Battle of the Bear Paws22) "I WIll Fight No More Forever"23) A Summary of the Nez Perce CampaignExile Decreed, Applied, and Abandoned24) Trails of Triumph and Tears25) Survival in Exile26) Epical TwilightsNotes BibliographyIndex