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Counting Coup and Cutting Horses: Intertribal Warfare on the Northern Plains, 1738-1889

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Counting Coup and Cutting Horses is the comprehensive history of more than 150 years of intertribal warfare between northern Plains tribes and a study of the complex rivalries that prevailed among the Native societies that migrated into and around the region. It is a sweeping drama about the warriors’ perpetual search for glory—from the plains of Nebraska to the grasslands of Saskatchewan, from the fields of Minnesota to the forests of Montana. It is also about the attempts of private interests (such as fur trading companies) and the U.S. government to control tribal warfare for their own purposes, and, ultimately, to end it.

Anthony R. McGinnis consulted a wide variety of sources, including early travelers’ accounts, government reports, and studies by other authorities, to provide a full account of the intricate cultural systems of the Arapahos, Assiniboines, Blackfeet, Sioux, Shoshonis, and Cheyennes. Depicting one of the most fascinating periods in western history, Counting Coup and Cutting Horses describes warriors such as Dull Knife, Plenty Coups, and Sitting Bull; women such as Sacagawea, Deer Little Woman, and Buffalo Calf Road; the cycle of raids and revenge; the impact of horses and guns; and the role of the American and Canadian governments.

ISBN-13: 9780803234550

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: UNP - Bison Books

Publication Date: 11-01-2010

Pages: 272

Product Dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Anthony R. McGinnis is a historian and former high school teacher whose research in intertribal warfare has taken him all over the West. He has published articles in numerous historical journals, including the Journal of the West, Montana: The Magazine of Western History, and the Red River Valley Historical Review.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Preface ix

Chapter 1 From Time Immemorial...Deadly Enemies

Intertribal Warfare, 1738-1800 1

Chapter 2 Killed Them Like Birds

Explorers, Traders, and Intensified Warfare, 1804-1810 17

Chapter 3 Very Impatient of Insult

The Growing Complexity of Warfare, 1810-1830 35

Chapter 4 Their Name Is A Terror

Warfare in Blackfoot and Crow Country, 1830-1850 49

Chapter 5 War Is the Breath of Their Nostrils

The Sioux Advance on the Eastern Plains, 1830-1850 71

Chapter 6 Disregard Their Treaty Obligations

Early Treaties and the Sioux Advance, 1851-1865 85

Chapter 7 Scourge of the Missouri

Warfare in the Age of Sioux Suzerainty, 1865-1877 109

Chapter 8 Superior in Daring and Enterprise

The Climax of Warfare, 1865-1877 129

Chapter 9 A Source of Grave Apprehension and Anxiety

The End of Sioux Suzerainty, 1877-1881 149

Chapter 10 Those Days of Which I Now Only Dream

The End of Intertribal Warfare, 1881-1889 173

Bibliographical Essay 195

Endnotes 217

Bibliography 233

Index 247