A BIG OL’ THANK YOU to Lorrie Farrelly for letting me feature her “Terms” series ’round the campfire!! And thanks to all who stopped by and tossed their two cents into the conversation!

And the winner of a signed copy of the “Terms” book of their choice is…


Yee-Haw and Congratulations!! Just hold steady and I’ll be contactin’ ya for the particulars!

See y’all on the trail!



Jumpin’  Je-hos-ha-phat !! The boys done it again, wranglin’ Ms. Lorrie Farrelly and two of her heroes, Michael Cantrell and Robert Devlin, ‘round the campfire!! Lorrie sure does know how to serve up heroes Western style, and these men fit the bill like Wranglers fit cowboys!!  And they’re from the Wind River Basin area in Wyomin’!!  Hooo-Rah!! Did the temperature just spike or was that my blood pressure?

Hold on to yer hats folks that’s not all! Lorrie is givin’ away a signed copy of either “Terms” book, winner’s choice, to one lucky commenter today!  You heard right all it takes is a comment and Cookie will toss yer name in the hat! Just like that, easier than butterin’ bread!

But Cookie, true to form, has his little side note:  Due to the high cost of sendin’ Pony Express riders on cruise liners, the drawin’ is open for U.S. and Canadian residents only. We’re sorry folks, but don’t let it stop ya from commentin’! We want to hear from everyone!

And don’t forget to read Lorrie Farrelly’s post at the end about her inspiration for pennin’ these not-to-be-missed stories!

So come on now and grab a mug of hot thick-as-mud, black-as-tar coffee from Cookie, pull up a seat and let me introduce y’all to the Cantrells and Devlins…

The War Between the States not only destroyed all Michael Cantrell loved, it left the young, former Confederate cavalry officer without faith or hope, a solitary, haunted man trying to escape his demons in the vast western frontier. Then, one spring day along the Wind River, he finds himself suddenly in the thick of another life-and-death struggle — Annie Devlin’s war.

Desperate to hang on to her ranch and her life, waylaid by gunmen hired by a powerful rancher who covets her land, Annie and her young brother, Robbie, fight a furious, rapidly losing battle for their lives.

When all seems lost, into the fray steps a cold-eyed, steel-nerved stranger — Michael Cantrell — who saves Annie and Robbie, but is himself grievously wounded.

With Annie’s care, Michael recovers not only his strength but a portion of his embittered soul as well. Fighting his powerful feelings for her, convinced he has nothing to give, Michael determines to stay with the Devlins only long enough to ensure their safety against the treachery that would destroy them.

Reluctantly, Michael, who for years has known only loss, allies himself with a stubborn, courageous young woman who will take his heart by storm and test the limit of his honor, his mettle — and his passion.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  Both in reading and writing I tend to be character oriented, and when an author can take compelling characters and weave them into an exceptional story that keeps me turning pages when I should be sleeping you’ve got a first-rate read!  Michael and Annie are both fighters willing to go the distance even when the battle seems hopeless, but both put their whole hearts behind the war for Annie’s ranch and for the love they find in each other, and the forces against them better watch out!

Michael is a natural warrior and a Southern gentleman both characteristics lead him to get involved with Annie’s struggles. He’s a man who needs a purpose and a cause to fight for, and he finds both of these in helping Annie save her ranch. But he also needs to heal, heart, body, mind and soul, and he finds that in Annie’s heart and arms. The War Between the States hardened him and aged him beyond his years, but with Annie and Robbie he softens and finds the spark of youth.

Annie is a fighter and a Western woman born to share the load and hold on tight. She’s lost much, just like Michael, but she refuses to give up on her ranch or on life, her life and Michael’s.  I loved watching as this strong woman learned to release some of the burden and lean on Michael’s resourcefulness and muscle while combining their strengths to defeat their foe.

The secondary characters round out the story adding humor, tenderness and show us and Annie and Michael why they deserve love and each other.

TERMS OF SURRENDER is clearly a story of Lorrie’s heart, as there is a lot of heart in every page as Michael and Annie find out just how much they’re willing to surrender to hold onto each other. This is an endearing story has enough action, passion, humor and lovable characters to keep you enthralled to the end, then closing the book and looking around wondering where everyone you just met went, and why you aren’t still in the Wind River region of Wyoming.


Wyoming Territory, 1885. On a train in the middle of nowhere, a young woman suddenly collapses. Fellow passenger Dr. Robert Devlin, a widower traveling with his five-year-old daughter, responds immediately to the medical emergency. What he finds when he examines his new patient both shocks and outrages him, and soon he is tangled up in her no-way-out, life-or-death plight.

Teresa Rutledge has taken her toddler son and run for their lives. Fleeing her wealthy, cruelly abusive husband, knowing there is nowhere they will be safe for long, she is at the end of her strength and at the end of her rope.

Determined to protect Tess and her child, Rob takes them home to his sister, Annie, and her husband, former cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell. As Tess regains her health, she and Rob fall passionately in love. But she is trapped in a brutal marriage, and on a desperate flight from a powerful, violent man determined never to let her go.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS: It is always a treat to read the next book in a series and get the chance to visit old friends. I loved Robbie in TERMS OF SURRENDER as a rambunctious ten-year-old waiting for the former Reb to die, so he could have his horse :)  But Robbie grew into Dr. Rob Devlin and a strong, amazing hero (almost as wonderful as Michael).

First, I LOVED the family dynamic in this story. The large, loud family that supports Rob and Tess and backs each play they make. The teasing between family members and then arguments, but all weaved with love, it makes you want to pull up a chair and join the Cantrells and Devlins for Sunday dinner.   And all the children were so fun to watch, and drawn so perfectly. It’s difficult to write realistic children, and Lorrie’s are magical, each one with very distinct personalities and not cookie cutter caricatures. It was fun to see Annie and Michael again and to meet their family.

Though Tess has suffered years of abuse, her husband has not completely broken her spirit, and watching her find her strength and smile again under the attentions of Rob and his family was heartening and heartbreaking as she realized past choices might keep her from the promise of real love and family. Tess is such a charming heroine. She’s not a woe-as-me heroine who constantly complains about her situation. She recognizes her mistakes and is willing to accept the consequences as long as her son is happy and safe.  In her desire for happiness and love, she’s also willing to take advantage of the moment she’s given with the Cantrells and Devlins and pitches in becoming a part of the family. But I applauded Tess’ determination to fight for her chance at a new life despite the odds.

Rob is just the man to heal Tess in every way, and recognizes in Tess the woman who could heal his own pain.  Rob is such a compassionate man, and it’s as easy for the reader to fall in love with Rob as it was for Tess to fall for him.  And even though he’s suffered loss, he still believes things can be mended, from broken bones to getting Tess a divorce from her abusive husband leaving her free to build a life with him.  He tenaciously holds on to those he loves offering unwavering loyalty and support.  And he knows how to use his brain, as well as brawn to win the day.

Like Michael and Annie, Tess and Rob work together to battle against the enemy. Lorrie does a superb job of making it clear neither Rob nor Tess take her married status lightly just because her husband is a monster.

The lighthearted moments in TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT are all the sweeter for the sour Tess and Rob have to go through.  And you will fall in love with them and Gracie Rose and Scottie (their little ones). Heck, you’ll fall in love with the whole clan!

Lorrie draws the reader into her world through realistic dialogue and people so true to life you have to remind yourself it’s fiction.


“Terms of Surrender” came straight from my heart. When my folks passed away, I found they’d kept copies of the parole papers and oath of allegiance my great-grandfather, a Confederate soldier, had had to sign in order to be allowed to go home – to whatever home he had left – after the war. My dad was born in Georgia in 1909, and folks were not much different then than they’d been in 1865. He was a U.S. Navy officer and an Annapolis graduate, but he was also a boy who’d been raised as though the Yankees had ravaged his homeland the week before, not in the previous century. I started to imagine how terrible it must have been to choose between country and home, family and friends, duty, honor, and love. Defeat, bitterness, and loss of home and family would be overwhelming; love and hope surely would seem gone forever. How would a man who no longer believed in either ever come to find them again? That was my inspiration for “Terms of Surrender.”

The sequel, “Terms of Engagement,” came about because I just had to find out what had happened to Michael, Annie, and Robbie, and what their family had become. It took me a little while to wrap my head around an adult Robbie, but once I did, I knew right away he’d be a doctor. Then the story was, suddenly, just there. I also love writing about kids – all of my books have at least one important character who is a child or teen – so I had a lot of fun with Gracie Rose and Michael and Annie’s children. Kinley is a whole book in herself. I’m thinking about it! The other feature I love putting in my books is a touch of the paranormal. The first story I ever wrote (which is still in the “drawer” of my computer files) was a ghost story. When I first started writing, editors told me no one liked paranormal stories. Obviously, they hadn’t met “Edward” and “Bella.” (Oh, it’s good to have the last laugh. Evil probably, but good!)

Katy bar the door!!  I know y’all are chompin’ at the bit to get Lorrie’s books, and well ya should.  But don’t run off right yet!  First, leave a comment to see if you can win a signed copy!

How about you, do y’all like a bit of the paranormal in your stories?  And how about children, do ya like when a whippersnapper is included to keep the grown-ups on their toes?

Grab another cup o’ Joe, it’s only been sittin’ a few hours, and chat a bit!



I tell ya folks Cookie and me have been whippin’ up some more trails to blaze and wild paths to follow!!  Fact is we’ve turned the wagon toward our next destination, but then the ol’ coot reminded me I promised to tell y’all about Chief Washakie, so he stopped the wagon! Fact is, Cookie just wanted another piece of Ma’s pie!  For that trick I offered the Shoshone thirteen horses to take the codger, they countered, offerin’ sixteen for me to keep ‘im! Dagnabbit!!

Failed negotiations aside, think I told y’all at our last campfire ‘while back each state got to choose two people whose statue would go into the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. I introduced y’all to the first person honored from Wyoming, Mrs. Esther H. Morris. Now sit on down ‘round the fire and let me introduce ya to the second person Wyoming honored with a statue, the great Shoshone leader, Chief Washakie!

Chief Washakie’s early life still holds many mysteries. The year of his birth and the year he joined the Shoshone tribe have both been speculated upon by numerous Indian agents, religious leaders and historians.  An early biographer, Grace Raymond Hebard records the year of his birth as 1798, however, his gravestone is inscribed with an 1804 date. Washakie, in an interview with an Indian Agent at the Wind River Reservation Captain Patrick H. Ray provides some hints that would place his birth closer to 1808 or 1810. Regardless of the year Washakie was born, or joined the Shoshone tribe he became a fierce warrior and a great leader for the Eastern Shoshone.

Even the name by which he would be widely known has been translated in various ways. Although, it apparently dealt with his tactics in battle. One story details a large rattle Washakie devised by placing stones in an inflated and dried balloon of buffalo hide which he tied on a stick. He carried the device into battle to frighten enemy horses, earning the name “The Rattle.” Another translation of Washakie is “Shoots-on-the-Run,” or “Shoots-buffalo-on-the-run.”

Originally named Pinaquana (smell of sugar), he was born in his father’s Salish (Flathead) tribe. His mother was Lemhi-Shoshone. When Washakie was just a boy, his tribe was attacked by Blackfeet and his father was killed. The survivors of the attack scattered with Washakie’s mother taking him and his siblings to the Lemhi-Shoshone. Later his mother returned to the Flathead, but Washakie and his sister stayed with the Lemhis.  At about the age of sixteen Washakie joined a band of Bannocks. The Bannocks, linguistically related to the Shoshones, were trading and hunting partners with the Shoshone tribe and frequently joined them on massed buffalo hunts in Montana and Wyoming. This particular band considered the Green River basin area of southwestern Wyoming their home.

One of the relationships that provide clues to Washakie’s birth year is his friendship with Jim Bridger. Washakie, in his interview with Ray, stated he met Bridger when he was sixteen after joining the Shoshone tribe and that Bridger was a few years older than Washakie.  Bridger who was born in 1804 did not enter Shoshone country until 1824. It was during Bridger’s time with William Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Company and at the rendezvous in the vicinity of Henry’s Fork of the Green River when the two met. Washakie then hunted and trapped with Bridger attending rendezvous with the famous trapper and explorer. This is also the time when Washakie cast his lot with a band of Shoshone who claimed the Green River and Bear River regions there Washakie lived in proximity for many years with fur trappers and traders. He learned their mannerisms and languages, English and French. He traded with these men and earned a reputation as a friend among the whites.

But while trapping and trading were valuable activities to the fur trappers these were not enough to gain prominence with Shoshone culture. In order to do this, young men had to prove themselves in battle. So at the same time Washakie was immersed in the fur trade, he also made war on the tribe responsible for his father’s death, the Blackfeet.

The first few raids into Blackfeet country, Washakie tells Ray he was young, unmarried and he followed another leader, until he gained enough prowess to lead other raids.  One of the most remarkable things about each of the journeys to Blackfeet country was that Washakie and his fellow Shoshones started on foot from their Idaho or Wyoming base and attacked the Blackfeet near the Three Forks area or even farther east or north. There were two goals for each of these raids, first to steal horses, secondly, to take Blackfeet scalps.

By early 1830s, Washakie matured enough and had achieved enough acclaim in the raids on the Blackfeet to marry his first wife. Shoshone men typically married in their early to mid-20s, depending on their prowess as warriors and their economic viabilities as hunters.  Shoshone women typically married at a younger age, usually fifteen or sixteen.

Washakie continued to maintain his hunting, trapping, trading, and warring activities from his home in the Green River, Bear River and Cache Valley throughout the 1830s and into the 1840s. During this time, the Shoshone bands were under the leadership of several powerful headmen who amassed over 2000 Indians in the buffalo hunting trips to the plains of Montana and Wyoming.  These leaders were identified by trapper William A. Ferris as: Horn Chief, Iron Wristband, Little Chief, and Cut Nose.  Cut Nose was the leader of Shoshones who intermarried and lived in a mixed Indian-White community in the Green River region. It is believed this was Washakie’s band.

Osborne Russell, another trapper, met Iron Wristband in 1834, and stated Iron Wristband was known as Pahdahewakunda and Little Chief was his brother. Little Chief was called Mohwoomha by the Shoshones.  Making clear distinctions about Shoshone leaders proved impossible for white observers. To outsiders, it seemed as if certain leaders controlled thousands of people, but in reality, such men generally were leaders of specific events, such as annual massed buffalo hunts, rendezvous, or ceremonials such as the Sun Dance, not overarching rulers. Shoshones organized themselves into loose-knit family bands for various composition and size. The economics of providing food and fodder for thousands of Indians and their horses acted against maintenance of large-scale communities. Once large gatherings ended, Shoshones dispersed into more manageable and smaller groups of 10 to 150 people.  Each of these had their own designated leaders, or headmen.

So, along with the leaders mentioned above, fur trappers noted other important warriors.  Russell called three young warriors “the pillars of the nation and [men] at whose names the Blackfeet quaked with fear.”  These three warriors were: Inkatoshapop, Fibebountowatsee, and Whoshakik. Whoshakik refers to the warrior we know as Washakie.  Another trapper, William Hamilton, camped for part of 1843 with Washakie and noted the Shoshone warrior led hunting trips into Crow territory of the Big Horn River.  In each account the trappers note Washakie’s friendly relationships with trappers and traders.

Trappers, like Jim Bridger, used their trade relationships to foster the “careers” of their friends. In 1849, Indian Agent John Wilson noted that Washakie, Mono, Wiskin, and Big Man were the main leaders. Wilson took his information directly from reports by Bridger. Washakie denied this in his interview with Captain Ray stating that Gahnacumah was the leader of his band and Washakie was the war chief.  It is also of note that close to the same time Bridger elevates Washakie to that of a leader of the Shoshone, Washakie’s daughter, Mary, became Jim Bridger’s third wife. She was about 17 years old and Bridger was 46.

Whether Washakie was “chief” of the Shoshones or not, he quickly moved into that position in the eyes of white officials. The same year of Wilson’s report, he asked Washakie to help solve an intertribal feud over horse stealing between the Utes, Paiutes, and Shoshones.  For the first time the federal government officially recognized Washakie as an important leader. The actual meeting took place in 1852. Before this meeting could take place, the government called a more important meeting to establish peace on the Plains between the Mandan, Sioux, Crow, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Blackfeet and other tribes in an attempt to provide safe passage for emigrants traveling the overland trails.  Jacob Holeman, recently appointed Indian Agent for the newly created Utah Superintendent of the Office of Indian Affairs, thought other tribes whose lands were affected by the overland emigrants should also attend the meeting.

Holeman sent Bridger to gather the Shoshones and bring them to the council. This would not be an easy task, as the site of the meeting, on Horse Creek about 30 miles from Fort Laramie, was squarely in the enemy territory as far as Shoshones were concerned. The timing was off for the Shoshones, as well. It was August, when most Shoshones were on fall buffalo hunts. Bridger found the band that included Washakie camped along the Sweetwater River. The leader of the band, Gahnacumah was hunting buffalo and refused to attend the council. And to sour things further, a raiding party of Cheyenne attacked a small group of Shoshone hunters near the camp, killing two and stealing horses.  The few leaders in camp immediately mistrusted the upcoming peace council and argued for three days. A desperate Bridger asked Washakie to take charge and resolve the issue.  Washakie stated he:  “called in all the young men who had been to war [with me]” and told them, “I was going to stay with the white men and they must make up their minds to go or to stay and they all said they would stay. There were a good many of them.”  They also elected Washakie as their war chief.

As far as the whites were concerned this began Washakie’s chieftainship.  Sixty to eighty warriors followed him to the Fort Laramie/Horse Creek council.  There the Shoshones entered in full dress regalia that reportedly started their enemies scrambling for weapons thinking the Shoshones intended to attack. Despite their grand entrance, the Shoshones were excluded from official participation since the meeting was called for the Plains tribes only and the Shoshones resided primarily west of the Rocky Mountains.  The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, established territorial claims for the Plains tribes. The Indians guaranteed safe passage for settlers on the overland trails in return for an annuity of fifty thousand dollars for ten years. Also, the nations would allow roads and forts to be built in their territories.  Although, left out of the council, Washakie adhered to the terms of the treaty and he played on this “friendship” with the whites to gain whatever advantages he could for his followers.

Washakie was the clear leader of choice for white officials. There were other prominent Shoshone headmen, chiefs in their own right, who led various bands, but Washakie was the primary leader to whom whites turned for guidance concerning most of the buffalo-hunting Shoshones. As for Washakie, he learned the intricacies of negotiating within the white world from his long relationship with Jim Bridger and other trappers and traders.  He used these skills to obtain goods, supplies, and food from government officials.

The pioneers who passed through his territory had tremendous impact on Washakie’s Shoshones.  Washakie’s band was headquartered around Jim Bridger’s fort during the 1840s. In the early 1850s, following his rise to a more prominent role, Washakie’s activities remained centered around Fort Bridger and also Salt Lake City. Washakie had built trade relationship with Brigham Young, where the Shoshones traded buffalo hides and other game pelts for goods and supplies. By the mid-1850s the continuous flow of white settlers through this area disrupted life and hunting to such a great extent Washakie began to seek out areas where whites had not yet settled.  He believed trading in Salt Lake was still important in the summer, but in late fall, Washakie’s Shoshones headed north to the Three Forks area of Montana for their buffalo hunts.  If you’ll recall this is the place where Washakie had gained his prowess as a warrior against the Blackfeet.  The band whose members formed the majority of the Plains-going Shoshones, made the change to their geographical range from the mid-1850s through early 1860s. Washakie’s plan was two-fold: first, it prevented factions within his band from raiding or killing white travelers, and second he could still lead his people to buffalo in relative safety without violating the territorial boundaries marked out by the Treaty of Fort Laramie.

The 1850s also saw change in Washakie’s band.  Shoshones and Bannocks of Idaho began more frequent campaigns of armed resistance to the invasion of their lands by emigrants and settlers.  As a result, Washakie began to lose some of his followers, especially younger warriors who resisted Washakie’s continued friendship toward the whites.  By 1858, Washakie began making overtures to white officials to set aside land specifically for the Shoshones. He first suggested land along Henry’s Fork, a tributary of the Green River near the border of Utah and Wyoming.  Later, he proposed a reserve near the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. But his negotiations led to gifts of food, clothing, and good will, but not a secured track of land for his people.

Spurred into action by the growing number of raids on settlers, government officials finally sought to set aside lands for the Shoshones and Bannocks.  At the same time, Colonel Patrick Connor led a large-scale militia attack on a Shoshone winter camp near the Bear River. Connor’s attack led to the massacre of over 240 Indians.  While Washakie was not at the camp near Bear River, when the government sought to make a treaty he was called to the negotiations at Fort Bridger along with ten other leaders.  The Fort Bridger Treaty of 1863 set aside over 44,000,000 acres of land for “Shoshone country.”  The land was east of the Wind River Mountains and north of the main immigrant trails through the Basin regions.

This agreement, like most during this time period, brought peace for a time between Shoshones and whites, but was riddled with problems.  Settlers and emigrants now had free access to traditional Shoshone hunting grounds in the Fort Bridger, Bear River, and Salt Lake region, and started spreading up the Green River Valley.  Therefore, Washakie and other Shoshone leaders were forced to increasingly turn to hunting in Crow territory, or even onto the Plains east of Powder River and the Big Horn Mountains. As a result, Shoshones became vulnerable to attacks by Crows, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapahos, all vying for the same hunting grounds.  At the same time, as previously discussed in past posts, white prospectors were flooding into South Pass, Miner’s Delight, Atlantic City and farmers were claiming land near some of the tributaries of the Big Wind River. [See last week’s post on the Battle of Crowheart Butte for details on the escalation of violence between the Shoshone and Crow]

With violence between tribes escalating, the end of the Civil War, the building of the first transcontinental railway and more gold discoveries in South Dakota and Montana, a new round of negotiations with many of the Indian tribes was sparked in 1867 and continuing through 1868. Washakie took advantage of this situation upon hearing the Crow relinquished their claim on the Wind River he met with officials again at Fort Bridger and signed the Fort Bridger Treaty in 1868. This treaty created the Shoshone and Bannock Indian Agency in the Wind River Valley. Today, the Wind River Reservation is the only one in the United States which occupies land chosen by the tribe that lives there.

A treaty on paper did not create immediate benefits. Sioux warriors under Red Cloud continued to raid both whites and Shoshone towns and camps along the Wind River, making it too dangerous to make a permanent home there. The government, under Washakie’s petitions, established a military base at Camp Brown (later called Fort Washakie) to provide protection to the agency.  By 1871, the first agency buildings had been erected, and Washakie and his Shoshones began to learn a new way of life. Washakie included demands for new schools, physicians, teachers, carpenters and other skilled craftsmen in his treaties with the government.

For the next 30 years, Washakie walked a thin line between adhering to the new demands placed on his people to become “civilized,” while at the same time maintaining traditional Shoshone ways. Through the 1870s he encouraged his children to attend agency schools, but still took them on fall buffalo hunts. [Again please refer to last week’s post for information on agency schools and Rev. Roberts]  He moved from living in hide teepees to log houses, yet still led warriors into battle against the Sioux and Cheyenne in the U.S. Army campaigns of 1876. He insisted white officials abide by Shoshone council decisions regarding distribution of food, annuities, and supplies.  He maintained his role as the spokesman for the tribe, but also respected the leadership of the various Shoshone bands who lived on the reservation. He refused to allow an Indian police force (who often served as spies for white officials) to be created through the 1880s stating, the Shoshone could police themselves and provide good order.  He farmed a small plot of land, as an example to other Shoshones, and insisted white farmers and ranchers pay for the use of reservation lands in livestock or grazing fees.

But changes were already in the air that would limit Washakie’s choices about keeping even part of their traditional ways. The Brunot cession of 1872 ceded nearly one-third of the reservation.  Settlers in towns such as Lander, promoted more settlement in the “unoccupied” lands to be used for stockgrowing, hunting, and logging.

Washakie’s influence waned even more regarding reservation policies. The Arapahos, long-time enemies of the Shoshones, were moved to the reservation in 1878. Supposedly a temporary placement, the Arapahos became equal shareholders in the resources of the reservation. This severely limited Washakie’s ability to shape council decisions and limit the impact of official decisions. A more telling blow was the elimination of buffalo hunting as a mainstay of the Shoshone economy.  As long as Washakie and the Shoshones could depend on buffalo as their main source of food and economic activity, they could thwart attempts of the Indian agents to turn them into farmers.  The last buffalo were killed in 1885 and the Wyoming livestock industry expanded into Wind River country, curtailing off-reservation hunting access to other big game such as elk. This forced the Shoshone to pay more attention to farming, ranching and wage labor.

While changes and Washakie’s increasing age limited his power it did not end entirely.  In the mid-1880s, Wind River Indian agents signed on Shoshones to the tribal police service, but Washakie named the men who would serve in these positions. He often nominated the Shoshone Indian employees for agency positions as teamsters, farmers, herders, etc. While younger men played increasingly important roles in Shoshone councils, Washakie was still the dominant voice well into the 1890s. His last major act took place in the 1896 Hot Springs land cessions, when Shoshones and Arapahos gave in to the demands of the government to sell a ten-square mile parcel of land at the northeast corner of the reservation. This parcel contained natural hot springs (present day Thermopolis).  Washakie insisted that the springs remain open to all peoples; this condition is still honored today.

Washakie became ill in the winter of 1899 and succumbed to the illness on February 20, 1900. Buried with full military honors and with a funeral train that stretched for miles, Washakie’s death was a symbol, as his life had been, of the effort made to bring peace to disparate peoples, to listen to ideas and adapt to new ways while honoring the traditions of a proud people.  No other leader emerged from the Shoshones who achieved his stature.

Over one-half of the adult males expressed their loss a few months after his death in a letter written to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

“Our Great Father: We your children The Shoshones, Would be pleased if you would appoint some one [sic] of our number to be our Chief or in some way give us a head.  As you must know, that our old Chief Washakie is dead, and we are now left with out [sic] a head to look too.  It is now with us like a man with many tongues all talking at once and every one of his tongues pulling every which way.  We are feeling bad that things should be in such shape among us.  So we leave it to you to say who shall be our chief, or you name any number say nine or eleven but we want you to say and we will abide by what you say.”

Suffice it say, the “Great Father” did not appoint a new chief.  Instead, after many years of struggle, the Eastern Shoshones are now governed by a democratically elected Joint Business Council.

Folks, I tell ya that’s one heck of a history! Proud and heartbreaking all wrapped in one bedroll of a man who saw the need to adapt to new ways, while tryin’ to retain the honor and traditions of his people. The country as a whole could benefit from more men like Chief Washakie.

Next week folks we’ll be back ridin’ the rough trail over new ground. That is if I can get Cookie’s pie soaked behind back on the wagon and the horses can pull the extra weight…that’s right plum embarrassin’ jawin’ with the good Chief and you shovin’ pie down your gullet…

See y’all next time on the trail!!




Stamm, Henry E., IV.  People of the Wind River: The Eastern Shoshones, 1825-1900.  Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.



Well folks I don’t know about you but I’d say we had a real Wyomin’ time of it yesterday!! I’d like to give a big YAHOO and THANK YOU, to Elaine Levine for joinin’ us ’round the campfire and bringin’ all those fine men from Defiance!

And as always I’d like to tip my hat to all of those who stopped on by and jawed for a bit, y’all are the best!

Now the winner of LOGAN’S OUTLAW is…  


Yeehaw, Shirl, and congratulations! Hold on tight and I’ll be gettin’ with ya in two swats of a bull’s tail!


Folks, I am…Fit. To. Be. Tied! Cookie even had to fetch the smellin’ salts case I get the vapors. Today ‘round the campfire we have Elaine Levine and her get this….Wyoming cowboys (insert wild hoots and hollers) from Defiance!! I’m havin’ a time just drawin’ air!

And like bringin’ these fine cowboys wasn’t enough, Elaine provided a great article on why she set the MEN OF DEFIANCE series in Wyoming and the real life inspirations for the town of Defiance and it’s location in Wyoming!  So keep on readin’ cause it’s a real treat! (Though settin’ your stories in Wyomin’ just makes sense to me)! :o)

Then to put an extra spoonful of sugar in your coffee, she’s givin’ away a paperback copy of Logan’s story…LOGAN’S OUTLAW!!  So for the price of just a comment one lucky reader is walkin’ away with a whole lotta cowboy!

Cookie’s Disclaimer:  I’m sorry but due to the cost of sendin’ the Pony Express overseas (the horses don’t care for the long distance swim) the drawin’ is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

But please come on in and chat with us a spell no matter where y’all are from we love to hear from ya!!

Now let’s get to what y’all are here for…THE MEN OF DEFIANCE!


Running from a brutal past to the father she’s never met, Rachel Douglas must rely on the survival skills of the hard-edged gunman her father sends to guide her across the rugged terrain of the Dakota Territory. But Sager’s got another plan and a blood debt to settle.

Time doesn’t always heal all wounds. Sometimes it takes a little vengeance.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  I bought RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN as an impulse, since Elaine was a new author to me. Oh WOW, did that impulse pay off in a BIG way! This book has it all: family feuds, vengeance, rustling, gunfights, and most importantly a hero and heroine you will LOVE, I mean L-O-V-E!! And it all begins with a wolf attack, so there’s no beating around the bush with the action. Elaine Levine does a superior job of making all of this come together without making it cliché, but she weaves the plot and characters together into a story you will treasure.

Rachel is such an emotionally strong character and so tender and sweet she’s exactly what Sager needs, and what her father, Old Jack, and her father’s enemies the Taggerts need, as well.  Rachel is coming from an abusive situation with hopes of finding a new life and peace on her father’s ranch, and build a relationship with her estranged father.  She’s soon faced with the reality that she’s only wanted as a pawn by both families in their feud. But I think it’s her gentle spirit and her unwavering faith and love for Sager that makes her such a remarkable woman.  But don’t get me wrong, Rachel’s no pushover she has the courage needed to survive in the vast Dakota Territory and when push comes to shove she’ll fight side by side with Sager to see their livelihood protected.

Sager is a hero that transfixes you from his first appearance, when he’s on the page his presence commands the attention of other characters and the readers.  His muddied past and hurts have set him on the trail to vengeance, but his honor and Rachel’s sweetness alter his course.  Sager is a man caught between two worlds, both as a man raised by Shoshone’s and living the white world, and a man desiring revenge, but desiring Rachel and the peace she brings more.

You’ll be roped in from page one to the end and then want to turn around and start at page one all over again…But there’s more men from Defiance to meet so keep reading.


Virginia financier Julian McCaid has put his troubled past behind him. His plans for the future don’t include Audrey Sheridan, the extraordinary frontier woman he met just once, but it’s because of her that he’s come to the Dakota Territory to investigate problems at his ranch. And it’s all the more surprising when he discovers she isn’t the innocent he believed. Now nothing but her complete surrender will purge her from his soul.

If it weren’t for the children she cares for in her makeshift orphanage, Audrey would have left Defiance long ago. Now the sheriff is blackmailing her to distract the man who might derail his corrupt schemes, a man who can offer Audrey not just protection, but a passion bold enough to make them claim their place in this harsh and beautiful land.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  I instantly bought AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK after finishing RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN for a good story, and I got GREAT!  Julian is an outsider and a sheep rancher and in Dakota Territory both of those things cause trouble, but in a corrupt town they could get you killed. Again Elaine Levine pens a great Western full of action and more importantly bringing together two great characters. Julian and Audrey are a bit more high-spirited than Rachel and Sager and their relationship starts like a prairie fire fueled by a wild wind.

Audrey is high-spirited, proud and desperate to save her family from the crooked sheriff and his men who have destroyed the town of Defiance.  Though she is in a tough spot I admired her grit, and her love for her brother and the children she’s taken in as her own.  Like many women in the West, she does what needs to be done to care for her own, while risking her heart to love a man whose plan for his life is destined to keep them apart.  I think in this Audrey illustrates the character of the West, to risk everything for a dream.

Julian is a man who never truly felt like he fit in, anywhere, and is hoping to start a new legacy thinking it will bring him the esteem he desires.  But unfortunately this plan and his passion for Audrey don’t meld and he has to decide which legacy is more important…blood lines or love. Julian is brave and possessive, and willing to fight for what’s his. Like Levine’s other heroes he also has a quick wit and charm as smooth as good whiskey.

Then you add in the children, who add a lot to the story and actually help us see a very different side to Julian and Audrey than they show at other times adding a new dynamic to these characters, and a bit of fun.


To Leah Morgan’s mind, the last thing her hometown of Defiance needs is another gunman stalking its dusty streets, especially one as sweet-talking and fine-looking as Jace Gage. Despite her warnings, the infuriating man seems determined to meddle in her life and risk his own, all for a town that can’t be saved and a heart she locked away long ago.

Professional bounty hunter Jace Gage has cleaned up plenty of corrupt towns in his lifetime, and he knows he can handle whatever Defiance’s thugs have to offer. But the town’s most lawful citizen is another story. Beautiful, willful and exasperating at every turn, Leah is the one person capable of bringing the ruthless gunslinger to his knees, and capturing his desire with a single kiss.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  Jace Gage is brought to Defiance in AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK and you can’t wait to find out more about this man they call the Avenger…And he does not disappoint.

Leah is fierce, hot-tempered, self-sufficient and only a man like Jace is strong enough to hold on tight until the heart she thought was dead starts beating again. Leah has witnessed some of the worst atrocities people can do to one another, and she has lost hope that anyone or anything can change the evil hanging over her town.  As secrets are revealed Leah must come to terms with everything that’s revealed and accept the love, acceptance and hope in the future Jace offers.

Jace saunters onto the pages calm, cool, and caring less rather he lives or dies. War, death and years of hunting evil have almost drained any misguided belief in human goodness Jace had.  In Leah he sees his chance to hang up his guns and find peace, but first he has to convince her.  Jace has a very dry humor that I caught myself laughing out loud at remarks delivered without a hint of emotion. But Jace is loaded for bear and he’s determined to clean up the town of Defiance and when Jace is determined action ensues and the job is done. Leah learns this applies to his heart, as well.

Leah and Jace are two strong-willed individuals and they clash on streets of Defiance, but their hearts being every bit as strong as their wills means neither stands a chance of escaping their love.


Sarah Hawkins survived capture by the Sioux, but after her escape she faced public scorn. Now, she’ll do anything to start over, and the small town of Defiance promises the anonymity and security she needs. Before she melts into the shadows, though, it’s her mission to put a great injustice to rights, and that means jeopardizing her safety once more. But this time, she’s not alone.

Without meaning to, Sarah has fallen under the protection of Logan Taggert, a rough-and-tumble trader unused to caring for others – and yet unable to ignore the tempting, tenacious woman’s plight. Though she refuses to trust him, Logan won’t leave her side, keeping her one step ahead of danger…even as she takes hold of the very thing he never thought he’d risk: his heart.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  This story is ACE-HIGH, WHOO DOGIES, SIX GUNS BLAZEN…Well it’s just a must read!  It is heartrending, beautiful, and really some parts are so tender make sure you have tissue at hand. It also has plenty of gun fire, danger and good ol’ Wyoming action to get your blood pumping.

Sarah has to rank right up there in the all-time favorite heroines chart. She is so misused, abused and scorned, but she refuses to let it all crush her. There are just no words for what this woman has endured and yet she has such grace, strength, and such a kind heart she instantly threads her way into yours. There are times, as she heals through Logan’s patience and care that you are almost verbally cheering her on.  There are moments of bitterness, as there should be, but even then she doesn’t hold onto it or let it consume her she fights against it and for the new life she wants with Logan.

And who wouldn’t want to fight for Logan Taggert? First, before I get into his amazing relationship with Sarah, I have to mention I love his occupation. As a trader, Logan is able to give the reader insight into the Sioux culture, and it was such a beautiful way to weave the Sioux way of life into a story to show both the good and bad in both the Sioux and White cultures and to be able to expose Sarah to the best of both worlds when she’d only seen the worst.

Now for Logan as a man. Be still my heart.  I first met Logan in Rachel and Sager’s story and I genuinely liked him in that story, but I NEVER would have imagined the difference years and becoming his own man could make.  Like Sarah he has wounds in his past that could have made him bitter and hard, but instead he chose to become a successful businessman and a leader both White and Indian cultures respect.  His care and thoughtfulness for Sarah are so kind and expose a tender heart. But his ability to remain calm and sure in extremely dangerous situations and to take care of business in those situations leaves no doubt of his bravery and strength.

Seriously, I’m even getting a bit choked up thinking of some of the melt your heart words he speaks to Sarah and the way he works with her as a team to bring her out of the shadows.  Just read the book folks, before I breakdown right here on the blog!

Elaine Levine’s MEN OF DEFIANCE series is an auto-buy for me. I don’t even have to read the description before clicking purchase.  She knows Wyoming and her characters reflect the land and history she writes about so well you think they might be in the history books. Her stories are gritty and real.  Buy one and you’ll be hooked.


What a fun blog Kirsten has started! If you haven’t had a chance to wander through her Wagons West blog, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for an entertaining read of Wyoming’s historical places and people.

There’s something seductive about Wyoming. I once read a quote (I wish I could remember the source) that said, “I could tell you the truth about Wyoming, but I’d have to lie to do it.” I thought that was the perfect way to explain Wyoming. The space is so big, it’s hard to grasp. It’s green and lush in some places and arid like Mars in others. There are so few people in Wyoming—urbanization has lagged behind most of the country. I don’t know why. I don’t care. I love that it is just the way it is.

The wind is a persistent presence—sometimes as a sweet breeze, sometimes in gale force. It sounds different crossing a wide-open prairie of short grass than it does circling the edges of an isolated dwelling. It whines around a cabin, but sings across a field. You can stand anywhere in the state and hear whispers of the people whose lives passed through that spot.

Wyoming is full of surprising places, like the town of Ten Sleep. My husband and I took a trip up there a few years ago. We were coming up from Colorado. After several hours of empty, flat prairie, we crossed the Big Horn Mountains, through a breathtakingly steep ravine, down into the town. The ravine seemed to pop out of nowhere. After the blistering heat of the prairie, the ravine and the town were cool and green like an oasis.

19th Century Wyoming was an exciting place, full of interesting people and dangerous events. Heartbreaks and triumphs. Towns started and died in short spans of time, supporting the needs of the various trails west, gold rushes, and railroads. Times of such chaotic upheaval bring out the best and worst in people—and they make for a fabulous backdrop for Western Romance.

All of the Men of Defiance stories are set in a fictional town called, Defiance that looks something like South Pass City but is located near present-day Centennial at the foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains. I’ve had a blast following the lives of the characters in this series. Every time I write one story, new characters pop up who need their own story told. I’ll be releasing the next in the series late spring 2013. It’s Chayton’s story, tentatively titled AGNES AND THE RENEGADE. After that comes DULCIE AND THE BANDIT. I’m sure the sheriff in LOGAN’S OUTLAW will have his own story—he just hasn’t told me what it is yet.

I’ll be giving away a print copy of LOGAN’S OUTLAW today. Feel free to visit my website at www.ElaineLevine.com to get updates on the series and my next releases!

Kirsten—thanks so much for featuring my series and letting me make a visit to your site!

WHOOEEE, folks!!  Ms. Levine sure does know her Wyoming! The first clue bein’ she mentioned the wind.  ;o)   I always enjoy hearin’ about and seein’ the places authors use for inspiration and setting. It helps bring their stories to life.

And a Big Ol’ Thanks for mentionin’ the Wagons West posts! Me and Cookie we love travelin’ over the place we call home are glad to share it with the less fortunate who weren’t born and bred in big beautiful Wyoming.  :o)

Now don’t pack up yer bedrolls and head out, yet. Come on and jaw a bit. The coffee’s just gettin’ thick enough to use as tar, so pour a cup and tell us what ya think of the Men of Defiance. If you’ve been to Wyomin’ …Where? What did ya think?  A comment gets yer name in Cookie’s hat…once he gets that coon he caught for supper out.


WHOOEEE! We are blazin’ down the trail! What are we doin’, Cookie, 70…80 miles per hour?  Huh…really 15 miles an hour…sometimes 5 or 10 on a steep grade…Well I won’t lie that’s a might disappointin’.  BUT it gives us time to take in some more sites!  So today we’re gonna check out the Wind River region, or as I like to call it…home. Yes, folks this here’s where a little sprout Kirsten Lynn grew up.

Let’s get crackin’!

We’re chuggin’ down out of the beautiful Wind River Mountains and our first stop on the trail today is Lander…

The gold rush in 1867 South Pass City brought not only miners and prospectors to the area, but homesteaders began settling in the Wind River Basin.  At the same time the Indian tribes in the area became restless with the influx of whites and there was an increase in attacks upon settlers, freight trains, and even part of South Pass City was burned down.

Fort Bridger was the closest military base to the area and it was 150 miles to the southwest.  So, the Army began building military outposts from Fort Bridger.  One of these was Camp Augur built in 1868 and named after General Christopher Columbus Augur commander of the Army’s Department of the Platte.  Before anyone had a chance to get used to that name; Camp Augur became Camp Brown after Frederick H. Brown who was killed at the Fetterman massacre.  And before anyone got to comfortable, in 1870 the installation was moved to its present site to protect the Wind River Agency, Fort Washakie, about 16 miles north of the original camp.

The town that had built around Camp Brown, however, remained, but was called “Push Root.” The name allegedly was derived as a result of warming Chinook winds causing crops to germinate early.  Another explanation says it was a derogatory term given by a nearby competing town of North Fork (or Milford) five miles to the north.  Therefore, residents of Lander were known as “Pushrooters.”  At the time North Fork was experiencing a boom as a result of its saloons and other places of entertainment for soldiers at Fort Washakie. But the pushrooters had the last laugh when in 1884, upon the formation fo Fremont County, the pushrooters won the election to become the county seat.  When it came time for Push Root to get a post officer, the post office department rejected the name, and at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin Lowe they named it Lander after F.W. Lander.

The town was constructed on lands owned by Lowe. In exchanged for assistance in developing the town, Lowe gave a portion of the land to a man named Eugene Amoretti. Amoretti had previously engaged in the mining and mercantile businesses in South Pass City, Atlantic City, Miners Delight, and North Fork. In Lander, he continued in the mercantile business and also founded the First National Bank of Lander, the feed mill, and was one of the investors in the electric plant. Amoretti became the first mayor of Lander when the town was incorporated.  Amoretti was one of the few bank owners at the time who had no need to fear bank robbers.  He was a personal friend of Butch Cassidy, and Butch even deposited some of his ill-gotten gains in Amoretti’s bank.

Amoretti’s friend faced a threat in Lander in the form of Charles L. Stough. Stough came to Wyoming in 1880 and was elected sheriff of Fremont County in 1890. He was known to administer his office in a way that made him a terror to evildoers and gained him the enduring confidence of the County.  He’s best known for arresting the notorious Butch Cassidy and upon the outlaw’s conviction conveying him to the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary in Laramie.

Almost from the beginning Lander tried to get a railroad in the town first courting the Union Pacific, then the Chicago & North Western. When the Wind River Reservation opened to white settlers, the C&NW agreed to come to town. Construction started out of Casper in 1905, and the first passenger train arrived in Lander on October 15, 1906.  The town held a huge celebration and the county fair was incorporated into the festivities. Schools closed and the mayor declared a three-day holiday for the celebration.

During construction in Lander, five houses were moved off the newly-established right-    of-way, and the railroad completely took over First Street. The passenger train ran once daily, and included full Pullman service from Chicago. Later this was downgraded to a doodlebug, and on April 19, 1943 passenger service to Lander was discontinued, just 37 years after it began. On November 10, 1972, the last freight train ran out of Lander. But for 66 years, Lander was known as the place “where rails end and trails begin.”

So let’s keep chuggin’ on our trail.

As we cruise along north at a whoppin’ 15 miles an hour we’re comin’ to Fort Washakie on the Wind River Reservation. Camp Brown’s name was changed in 1878 to Fort Washakie, named after the great Shoshone Chief, an ally of the army against the Sioux. Chief Washakie was the last principal chief of the Shoshone. He became Chief in 1840. Washakie was the only U.S. military installation named after and American Indian Chief.  Each state has two honorees in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. Wyoming is represented by Esther Hobart Morris and Chief Washakie.

Chief Washakie’s policies of accommodation with the Whites included insistence that there be provided schools, hospitals, and other services. Therefore, in the Fort Bridger treaty of 1868 with the Shoshoni, the Government pledged to establish a school at Fort Washakie. The first teacher at the Fort was James J. Chander.  He had a class of 35 students, both Indian and white.

Chief Washakie continued his support for education by donating 160 acres of irrigated land to Rev. Dr. John Roberts for the establishment of the Shoshone Indian Mission Boarding School. Reverend Roberts, originally of North Wales, arrived in Lander on February 10, 1883, after an eight day trip from Green River City in 60 degree below zero weather.  In addition to starting the school, Rev. Roberts along with Charles Lajoe translated portions of the Book of Common Prayer into Shoshone. In recognition of his services to the Shoshone, he was bestowed the title “Elder Brother.”

Now to a bit of a controversy on Fort Washakie. On April 9, 1884, Rev. Roberts officiated at the funeral of Sacajawea, of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame, and Shoshone oral tradition holds this to be true. This has been disputed as many claim Sacajewea died in 1812 at Fort Mandan in a smallpox epidemic.

According to the oral tradition, Sacajewea left her husband Charbonneau, crossed the Great Plains and married into a Comanche tribe taking the name Porivo (chief woman).  When her Comanche husband, Jerk-Meat was killed she left the Comanches and made her way to Fort Bridger with her sons Bazil and Baptiste, who each knew several languages including English and French.  She eventually made her way back to the Shoshone people at the Wind River Reservation.

In 1925, Dr. Charles Eastman, a Santee Sioux physician, was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to locate Sacajewea’s remains.  Eastman visited a number of Indian tribes interviewing elderly individuals, and learned of a Shoshone woman at the Wind River Reservation with the Comanche name Porivo. Some said she spoke of a long journey where she helped white men, and that she had a silver Jefferson peace medal of the type carried by Lewis and Clark.  At the end of his investigation Eastman concluded that Porivo was Sacajewea.  In 1963, a monument to “Sacajawea of the Shoshonis” was erected at Fort Washakie.

Chief Washakie died in 1900, over the age of 100, and was given full military honors.

Dang blasted, Cookie is drivin’ this rig like his mornin’ coffee had a nip of somethin’ else to it. So we’re turning this train around for a quick stop south of here in Riverton.

The history of Riverton is tied to the Wind River Reservation and irrigation.  In 1868, the United States signed a treaty with the Shoshone creating a Reservation of some 3,000,000 acres. In typical U.S. Government fashion and under a number of separate treaties that Reservation was slowly eaten away.  The last major cession being in 1905, under which there would be a per capita payment to each Indian and there would be created and irrigation system, school district, and a welfare and improvement fund would be created. In conjunction with the proposed opening of the ceded lands for settlement, the Chicago and Northwestern proposed to extend their line. As discussed under Lander, on August 15, 1906, the lands were opened for settlement with the most desirable location being near where the railroad was to be located.  Wadsworth was founded as a tent town, named after the railroad station manager, but within two weeks was renamed Riverton.

In short order a municipality, school board, baseball clubs, Free Public Library Commission, and fraternal orders were formed.  The town had two livery stables, hotels, newspaper, two banks, and two lumber companies. From the livery stables the stage left twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays for Kinnear. The town rapidly became the center of commerce taking the place of the older Shoshoni.

Initially, irrigation was to be provided by Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, headed by Chicago salt mogul Joy Morton and former Governor Fenimore Chatterton.  The demand for irrigated lands proved to be less than expected and the town of Morton irrigated only 80 acres of oats.

By 1914, Riverton became a primary shipping place for railroad ties for the C&NW. The ties would be floated down from Dubois by the Wind River Timber Company.  The tie industry declined during World War I as the federal government took over the railroads, but a resurgence occurred after the war. In 1920, Chicago businessman, Ricker Van Metre, took control of the timber company and changed its name to Wyoming Tie and Timber Company.  The last timber drive down the river was in 1946, as mechanization took over the tie industry and the days of hand hewn ties ended.


In 1928, an anniversary of the founding of the area was celebrated with, among other things, a giant tent dance. The tent, erected in the street was 100 ft. long with various displays and a dance floor at one end.

The Dust Bowl and Depression stirred interest in the Riverton area, as farmers left their homes for what they hoped was a better opportunity.  Riverton remains a predominately agricultural area. Riverton is also renowned as the birthplace of Kirsten Lynn, western romance author.  ;o)

“Cookie, stop snickerin’,  put down that piece of Ma’s pecan pie, and let’s get this prairie schooner sailin’!”

While today’s focus has been on the later history of the towns built around the Wind River region, I want to remind you, the area around Lander and Riverton was long traversed by American Indians and trappers and explorers. You will find reference to this in earlier posts such as my post on South Pass, and I might return in later posts and delve into this further. However, in an effort to keep this blog short of of Michner’s Centennial standards I’ve chosen to jump ahead.

If you’ll look to the right of your wagon as we head northwest you’ll see Crowheart Butte…

As more white settlers pushed into Wind River Country the game started to become scarce on the Great Plains. Several tribes, including the Crow, were forced onto the Shoshone’s traditional hunting grounds in the Wind River Valley in search of food.

By 1866, the Crows camped along the Wind River not far from a butte well within the bounds of Shoshone territory. Chief Washakie sent a warrior and his wife with a message to the Crow Chief Big Robber explaining that the Crow were welcome to hunt in the territory of the Owl Creek Range, but they must leave the Wind River Mountains to the Shoshone.

Big Robber responded by killing the warrior and sending back a message with the warrior’s wife.  He considered his tribe superior to the Shoshone and stated the Crow were prepared to go into battle and they would hunt wherever they pleased. (Not his exact words)

Washakie sent word to the Bannocks, allies of the Shoshone, who were camped along the Popo Agie River. The Bannocks joined the Shoshone in an attack on the Crow camp. The battle raged for five days, neither side gaining ground. Finally, Washakie and Big Robber decided to fight a duel to the death to reach a conclusion. The victorious chief would claim the Wind River Valley.

In the end, Washakie was victorious.  So impressed with the bravery of Big Robber, instead of taking the Crow Chief’s scalp, he cut out his heart and placed it on the end of his lance as a sign of respect.  The butte around which the battle occurred was called Crowheart Butte.

Among the local Indian tribes, the battle between Washakie and Big Robber settled once and for all who controlled the Wind River Country.  (If you’re hankerin’ for more on Chief Washakie, hold tight to yer hats.  I’ll be doing a post real soon on this amazing Shoshone Chief.)

In the 1870’s, stockgrowers and tie hacks began settling northwest of Crowheart Butte, in a location known as Never Sweat due to its warm and dry winds.  The area was on a military road from Fort Washakie to Fort Yellowstone. The road was not suitable for ordinary travel, and often not suitable for military travel.

When the government decided to establish a post office, officials in Washington found the name Never Sweat distasteful and renamed the community Dubois, after the United States Senator from Idaho, Fred T. Dubois, a member of the Postal Committee.  In protest, the citizens rejected the French pronunciation of the name (it is pronounced Du-boy-se).

The first postmaster of Dubois was Alice A. Welty, wife of Dr. Francis H. Welty, the post physician at Fort Washakie. The post office was established in a store owned by her son, Frank A. Welty.  By 1915, Welty’s store served the many ranchers in the area. The goods purchased in Omaha were shipped by rail to Shoshoni then brought to Dubois by 16-horse freight wagons. This trip could take almost a month to complete.  Ya can still stop into Welty’s if ya have a hankerin’, or need on the trail.

As mentioned in the section on Riverton, the main business (other than agriculture) in Dubois was tie hacking.  In 1914, the Wyoming Tie & Timber Company began cutting railroad ties in Togwotee Pass and Union Pass.  Tie Hacking in Wyoming dates back to the Union Pacific in 1868 with tie hack camps springing up near Medicine Bow, the Big Horns and Winder River Mountains. The railroad took 2,500 ties per mile of track, and until the 1940’s the Dubois area was the leading source of railroad ties in the United States.

Tie Hack Memorial

Ties were cut by hand, in the beginning, using a broad axe.  A good tie hack could hew 50 ties a day. Later in the 1930’s, with more mechanization, tie hacks were paid on a piece of work basis, 3 cents a tie. A good tie hack could hew 300 to 310 ties a day. Dubois depended on the tie hacks for the economy, and most tie hacks enjoyed their drink, therefore the town remained open during the prohibition years, and continued to allow gambling.  In the winter, tie camps were cut off and access to Dubois was by skiing.  In those months, some tie hacks made their own hooch, using dried fruit, or drank vanilla extract. “At one time there they sold more vanilla up there in the tie camp than all the rest of the county put together.”

The last of the major lumber mills in Dubois closed down in 1987. Currently, the town ‘s main economy is tourism as many travelers come through on their way to Togwotee Pass and on to Jackson, Teton National Park and Yellowstone.



There ya go folks! Cookie and me ‘ave brought ya full circle to the Tetons. Well, maybe more like hexagonal with crazy slashes through the center…But the point is we got ya here, and don’t be givin’ us no lip!

What? Ya ask iffin’ we’re done? Are ya flea bit, folks? Heck no!  We’ll be back on the trail just as soon as cookie can get this dangblasted rickety wagon turned ‘round and headed…well we don’t know yet, but y’all can be sure Cookie will have a pot of coffee and the campfire blazin’ each night. Speakin’ of which Cookie we’re not sendin’ an SOS, douse that fire a bit…

See y’all on the trail!








Well we sure had us a heel kickin’ time yesterday with Pam Crooks and her hunky heroes! A BIG OL’ THANK YOU to Pam for comin’ by the campfire! We all hope to see her on the trail again soon!

And thanks to all who shared a bit of ground for a time and jawed a bit! Cookie insisted on pullin’ the name out of the hat in between fillin’ mugs and servin’ up biscuits. And the winner is…

Donya C.

Just hold tight Donya and Pam will be gettin’ with ya to discuss the particulars!

See y’all on the trail soon!