Timeline of the American Old West

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1864 Dower hand-colored map depicting the western half of the United States, including most of the lands west of the Mississippi River

This timeline of the American Old West is a chronologically ordered list of events significant to the development of the American West as a region of the United States prior to 1912. The term "American Old West" refers to a vast geographical area and lengthy time period of imprecise boundaries, and historians' definitions vary. The events in this timeline occurred primarily in the contiguous portion of the modern United States west of the Mississippi River, and mostly in the period between the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the admission of the last mainland states into the Union in 1912. A small section summarizing early exploration and settlement prior to 1803 is included to provide a foundation for later developments. Rarely, events significant to the history of the West but which occurred within the modern boundaries of Canada and Mexico are included as well.

Western North America was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Native Americans, and later served as a frontier to European powers, beginning with Spanish colonization in the 16th century. British, French, and Russian claims followed in the 18th and 19th centuries. After the American Revolution, the newly independent United States began securing its own frontier from the Appalachian Mountains westward for settlement and economic investment by American citizens. The long history of American expansion into these lands has played a central role in shaping American culture, iconography, and the modern national identity, and remains a popular topic for study by scholars and historians.

Events listed below are notable developments for the region as a whole, not just for a particular state or smaller subdivision of the region; as historians Hine and Faragher put it, they "tell the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the lands, the development of markets, and the formation of states.... It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures."[1]

Early exploration and settlement[edit]

Coronado Sets Out to the North by American artist Frederic Remington
Statue of Popé, or Po'Pay, leader of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, as it stands in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building
Natives utilize a primitive plow to prepare a field for planting near Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Drawing by A.B. Dodge, 1920.

For almost three centuries after Columbus' voyages to the New World, much of western North America remained unsettled by European colonists, despite various territorial claims made by imperialist nations. Europeans interest in the vast territory was primarily motivated by the search for precious metals, especially gold, and the fur trade, with miners, trappers, and hunters among the first people of European descent to permanently settle in the West.[2]:150 The early years were also a period of scientific exploration and survey, such that by 1830 the rough outline of the western half of the continent had been mapped to the Pacific Ocean.[2]:162

Year Date Event
1540 Feb 23 Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado embarks on an expedition into the unexplored territory north of colonized Mexico to search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. The voyage lasts more than two years, during which Coronado travels through much of the American Southwest and as far north as present-day Kansas. His party is the first to document the geography and indigenous peoples of significant portions of the West.[3]
1598 Apr Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate establishes Nuevo México in the region around the upper Rio Grande as the northernmost province of New Spain, serving as its first colonial governor.[4]
1607 Spanish colonists establish the city of Santa Fe in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.[5]
1610 The Palace of the Governors is built in Santa Fe, the new capital of Nuevo México. Today it is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.[6]
1680 Aug 10 An alliance of Puebloan peoples coordinated by Popé initiates a mass revolt against Spanish colonists occupying what is now northern New Mexico in an effort to abolish European influence in the area. More than 400 people are killed and the Spanish are unable to reconquer Santa Fe for another 12 years.[7]
1692 Santa Fe is formally repossessed by the Spanish after Diego de Vargas negotiates a peace with the Pueblo Indians. The following six years witness a difficult reinstatement of Spanish and Franciscan rule over the Pueblos, including another revolt in 1696, which is successfully countered by De Vargas and his forces.[8][9]
1718 May 1 The Presidio San Antonio de Bexar, eventually the city of San Antonio, is founded in Spanish Texas to undermine French claims in the area.[10]
1743 Mar 30 François and Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye, on expedition west from Quebec, bury an inscribed lead plate near present-day Fort Pierre, South Dakota, claiming the area for France.[11]
1762 Nov 13 France transfers all of its territory west of the Appalachian Mountains to Spain in a secret treaty just months prior to the negotiations that end the French and Indian War.[12]
1769 Jul 16 Spanish Franciscans, led by friar Junípero Serra, establish Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Las Californias. By 1823, the missionaries successfully plant a series of 20 more missions along the coast of what becomes the Spanish province of Alta California. These missions bring European culture to the indigenous peoples of California, but also enable a serious decline of from one-third to one-half of the indigenous population there during the Mission period.[13][14]
1779 Sep 3 Comanche Indian leader Cuerno Verde is killed in combat with Spanish forces led by Juan Bautista de Anza in what is now Pueblo County, Colorado.[15]
1792 May 19 Captain George Vancouver's expedition drops anchor near present-day Seattle and proceeds to name Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, Vashon Island, and Restoration Point. Vancouver and his expedition are the first Europeans to explore the area, claiming it for the British along with much of the Pacific Northwest coast, including Vancouver Island and the Columbia River.[16][17]


"Louisiana" and the Louisiana Purchase
Government Printing Office, 1912 Map No. 4
Year Date Event
1800 Oct 1 Under pressure from Napoléon Bonaparte, the Kingdom of Spain transfers the colony of Louisiana back to the French Republic with the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.
1803 Apr 1 The United States agrees to buy the colony of La Louisiane from the French Republic for the price of $15 million.
Dec 20 The United States officially takes control of Louisiana, an enormous area of imprecise boundaries extending from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains, more than doubling the land area of the new nation.
1804 May 14 The Lewis and Clark expedition sets out to explore and chart the territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Officially titled the Corps of Discovery, the party canoes up the Missouri River from Saint Charles, spending the winter at Fort Mandan on Indian territory in what is now North Dakota.[18]
1805 Nov 7 Lewis and Clark sight the Pacific Ocean for the first time, near the mouth of the Columbia River. The expedition winters at Fort Clatsop on the south side of the river, near present-day Astoria, Oregon.
1806 Jul 15 A U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition under the command of Lieutenant Zebulon Pike departs Fort Bellefontaine near Saint Louis to explore the southern Louisiana Territory.
Sep 23 Lewis and Clark return to Saint Louis after a journey of nearly 6,000 total miles; in the past two and a half years, the party has made contact with over 70 Indian tribes and produced 140 maps, as well as documented more than 200 new plant and animal species.[19]
1807 Feb 26 Spanish cavalrymen arrest the Pike expedition in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México (now southern Colorado).


A view of Fort Ross in 1828 by A. B. Duhaut-Cilly
Year Date Event
1810 Sep 16 Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla proclaims the independence of Mexico from the Kingdom of Spain.
1812 Mar Fort Ross is established by Russian traders on the California coast as the hub of the southernmost colony in Russian America.[20]
1818 Oct 20 The Treaty of 1818 establishes the 49th parallel from Lake of the Woods west to the Rocky Mountains as the boundary between the United States and British North America.[21]


Prairie dog by Titian Ramsay Peale, c. 1819–1821
Year Date Event
1820 Mar 5 Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting slavery in the unorganized territory north of 36.5° latitude and west of the Mississippi River, except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri, while permitting the admission of Maine as a free state. Largely devised by Henry Clay, it is a landmark agreement in the debate over slavery in the West.
May Major Stephen H. Long leads a scientific expedition up the Platte River in present-day Nebraska, along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, south to the Arkansas and Canadian rivers, and finally east to present-day Fort Smith, Arkansas. Among the first expeditions to bring American artists and scientists into the West, the party includes painter Samuel Seymour, artist-naturalist Titian Peale, and physician Edwin James, who leads the first recorded ascent of Pikes Peak during the journey. Long's report, published in 1823, promotes the idea of the Great Plains as the "Great American Desert".[22][23]
1821 Feb 22 The Adams–Onís Treaty takes effect exactly two years after its initial signing, defining a new border between the territory of New Spain and the United States and further securing American claims to the Louisiana Purchase and the Oregon Country.[24]
Aug 10 Missouri is admitted as the 24th U.S. state.
Aug 24 The Kingdom of Spain finally recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Treaty of Córdoba.
Sep 1 William Becknell and a party of frontier traders leave New Franklin, Missouri bound for Santa Fe. The Becknell route will become the Santa Fe Trail.
1822 Mar 6 William Henry Ashley and Andrew Henry place an advertisement in the Missouri Republican for one hundred "enterprising young men" to join a trapping expedition to the upper Missouri River. The respondents comprise "Ashley's Hundred", many of whom earn reputations as famous explorers and mountain men in the following years, including Jim Bridger, Jim Beckwourth, Hugh Glass, and Jedediah Smith.[25]
1827 Mar 29 The town of Independence, Missouri is founded. In later years it becomes a common point of departure for pioneers journeying west on the emigrant trails.[26]
1828 Jul 14 Trapper, explorer, and mountain man Jedediah Smith and his party are attacked by Umpqua Indians in Oregon Country. Smith and three others are the only survivors.


Year Date Event
1830 May 28 The Indian Removal Act is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson, authorizing the U.S. government to negotiate the removal of Native American tribes of the southeastern United States to federal territory in what is now Oklahoma.
1831 Mexico ratifies the boundaries with the United States originally established by the Adams–Onís Treaty.
1832 May The Bonneville Expedition departs Missouri with 110 men. Over the next two years, the party explores several major river systems in present-day Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and establishes an overland route to California that will later become the California Trail.
1833 Spring Frontier trader William Bent establishes Bent's Fort on the north bank of the Arkansas River, along the Santa Fe Trail.
1834 Fort Laramie is founded by William Sublette in what is now eastern Wyoming as a private fur-trading post named Fort William.[27]
Jul 31 Fort Hall is established on the Snake River in present-day Idaho.
1835 Spring Frontier traders Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette establish Fort Vasquez on the South Platte River, 35 miles northeast of present-day Denver, Colorado.
Oct 2 The Texas Revolution begins with a Texian victory at the Battle of Gonzales.
Dec 10 The two-month Siege of Béxar culminates in the surrender of the last remaining Mexican garrison in Texas, under Martín Perfecto de Cos, to the Texian Army under Edward Burleson. General Antonio López de Santa Anna immediately prepares to march overland to recapture San Antonio.[28]
1836 Mar 6 Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under Santa Anna storm the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, killing all but a handful of its more than 200 Texian defenders, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett.
Mar 27 More than 450 captured Texian soldiers are executed by the Mexican army at the Goliad massacre.[29]
Apr 21 Texians under General Sam Houston surprise and defeat the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto, ending the Texas Revolution.
May 2 Texians declare the independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico. Later, they force captured General Antonio López de Santa Anna to sign the Treaties of Velasco, though Mexico never ratifies these treaties.
Jun 15 Arkansas is admitted as the 25th U.S. state.
1838 Aug–Nov Rural landowners clash with immigrant Mormons near Kansas City, Missouri in a series of violent episodes later called the Mormon War, eventually forcing their complete expulsion from the state.
1839 Jul 15–16 Militia forces of the Republic of Texas win a decisive victory over Cherokee and Delaware Indians at the Battle of the Neches, the main engagement of the Cherokee War of 1838–1839.[30]


A forty-niner panning for gold in California
Year Date Event
1840 Mar 19 In the Council House Fight, a delegation of 33 Comanche chiefs and warriors is slaughtered by Texan militiamen while attempting to negotiate the return of captive white settlers during a peace conference in San Antonio.[31]
1841 Jun 18 Swiss pioneer John Sutter receives title to nearly 50,000 acres of land surrounding the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers in the Mexican province of Alta California, upon which he founds a colony he names "New Helvetia". In December, Sutter purchases the Russian settlement at Fort Ross and uses its building materials to construct a fort on the site of present-day Sacramento.[32][33]
1842 Mar 5 Mexican troops led by Ráfael Vásquez invade Texas and occupy San Antonio, but are chased back across the Rio Grande two days later.
Dec 25–26 The Battle of Mier results when a Texan militia invades the Mexican border town of Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas. The heavily outnumbered Texans are forced to surrender and more than 200 men are taken prisoner.
1843 Mar 25 Seventeen Texan prisoners of war are executed by the Mexican army after drawing beans in a random lottery, as punishment for their participation in a raid on the town of Ciudad Mier several months earlier.[34]
Missionary Marcus Whitman leads the first major wagon train west along the final leg of the Oregon Trail, establishing the viability of the route for later immigrants.
1844 Oregon City, the western terminus of the Oregon Trail, becomes the first incorporated U.S. city west of the Rocky Mountains.[35]
1845 Jun 1 John C. Frémont's third expedition with 55 men and Kit Carson as guide leaves St. Louis to "map the source of the Arkansas River" but continues to the Sacramento Valley.
Jun 23 The Republic of Texas accepts a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress to annex Texas to the United States. Mexico does not recognize the annexation.[36]
Dec 19 The "Lash Law" bans blacks from living in the Oregon Territory.
Dec 29 The United States admits the Republic of Texas to the Union as the slave State of Texas. The boundaries of the state remain undefined.
1846 Apr 25 The first skirmish of the Mexican–American War takes place on the Rio Grande near present-day Brownsville, Texas.
May 13 The United States under President James K. Polk declares war on Mexico, formally commencing the Mexican–American War.
Jun 14 In the Bear Flag Revolt, American insurgents led by William B. Ide seize the Sonoma Barracks from Mexican officers and declare their intention to found an independent republic in northern Alta California. The so-called "Bear Flag Republic" lasts just 25 days, after which it is subsumed into American military efforts to control California.[37]
Jun 15 The Oregon Treaty resolves a decades-long dispute over possession of the Oregon Country by extending the original boundary between the United States and British North America further west to the Pacific Ocean, with the entirety of Vancouver Island retained by the British.[38]
Aug 15 Troops under the command of General Stephen W. Kearny seize the territorial capital of Santa Fe for the United States with little resistance.
Dec 25 American forces under Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan defeat Mexican regulars at the Battle of El Brazito.[39]
Dec 28 Iowa is admitted as the 29th U.S. state.
1847 Jan 19 Governor Charles Bent of the New Mexico Territory is assassinated and scalped during the Taos Revolt.[40]
Feb The first of three relief missions arrives to rescue survivors of the Donner Party, who have been snowbound in California's Sierra Nevada mountains for more than three months.
Jul 24 Brigham Young and his vanguard company of Mormons first arrive in the Salt Lake Valley in present-day Utah.
Nov 29 Fifteen Oregon missionaries, including mission founders Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, are murdered and 54 others taken hostage by a party of Cayuse Indians who accuse Whitman of deliberately poisoning Indians in his medical care during an outbreak of measles. The massacre sparks the Cayuse War.[41]
1848 Jan 24 James W. Marshall discovers gold at Sutter's Mill near Coloma, California, precipitating the California Gold Rush.[42]
Feb 2 The United States and Mexico sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican–American War. The agreement results in the cession of nearly all of the present-day Southwest, including California, to the U.S., as well as the designation of the Rio Grande as the boundary between Texas and Mexico.
1849 Feb 28 Regular steamboat service between the east and west coasts of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco.


Year Date Event
1850 Jan 29 Responding to questions of how to accommodate slavery in the western territories, Henry Clay proposes a series of measures to preserve the Union that come to be called the Compromise of 1850.
Feb The Pinkerton Detective Agency is founded.[43]
Apr 4 The city of Los Angeles, California is incorporated.
Apr 15 The city of San Francisco, California is incorporated.
Apr 16 The California territorial government sends a military expedition to attack hostile Yuma Indians along the Colorado River in retaliation for the Glanton Massacre earlier in the year, sparking the Yuma War.
Jun 3 Five Cayuse tribesmen are hanged in Oregon City for their participation in the Whitman massacre.[44]
Sep 9 California is admitted as the 31st U.S. state.
Sep 9 The New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory are organized by order of the U.S. Congress.
Sep 27 The Donation Land Claim Act takes effect to promote homestead settlement in the Oregon Territory.
Sep 29 President Millard Fillmore appoints Brigham Young the first governor of the Utah Territory.
1851 Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, popularizes the saying "Go West, young man", though the phrase was originally written by Indiana newspaper writer John Soule in the Terre Haute Express.
Western Union is founded as The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.
Jan 23 The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning.
Feb 27 Congress passes the Appropriation Bill for Indian Affairs, which allocates funds to move western Native American tribes on to permanent reservations enclosed and protected by the federal government. The act sets the precedent for modern reservations in the United States.[45]
Mar 27 Mariposa Battalion, led by James D. Savage, are the first reported non-natives to enter California's Yosemite Valley.
Sep 17 The Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851) is negotiated between the United States government and representatives of ten Native American tribes of the Great Plains, including the Lakota, Crow, and Cheyenne. The tribes agree to provide safe passage for westward migrants and permit the construction of roads and forts in their territories in return for an annuity of $50,000 for fifty years.
Nov 13 The Denny Party lands at Alki Point, the first settlers of what will become Seattle, Washington.
1852 Mar 18 The Wells Fargo company is founded to provide express and banking services to California.
1853 Mar Levi Strauss arrives in San Francisco and opens a store supplying goods and clothing to Gold Rush miners.[46]
Mar 2 The Washington Territory is organized from a portion of the Oregon Territory.
Oct 26 Paiute Indians attack U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison and his party of 37 soldiers and railroad surveyors near Sevier Lake, Utah.
Dec 30 The United States and Mexico agree to the Gadsden Purchase, transferring portions of southern Arizona and New Mexico to the U.S.
1854 Feb 13 The Mexican army forces would-be conqueror William Walker and his mercenary troops to retreat to Sonora.
Feb 14 Texas is linked by telegraph with the rest of the United States when a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas is completed.
May 30 The Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law, rescinding the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and creating the Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory. A provision that settlers will vote on the legality of slavery in the new territories leads to violence beginning the next year.
Jul 4 Omaha City is founded in the Nebraska Territory.
Aug 19 An argument over a stray cow precipitates the Grattan massacre, in which 30 U.S. Army soldiers and an interpreter are killed in retaliation for the shooting of Chief Conquering Bear of the Lakota Sioux.[47]
Dec 19 Jonathan R. Davis, a veteran of the Mexican-American War and a gold rush prospector, single-handedly kills eleven armed immigrant outlaws near Sacramento, California using two revolvers and a Bowie knife.[48]
1855 Jan 23 The first permanent bridge across the Mississippi River opens for traffic in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Sep 2–3 U.S. Army detachments under Brigadier General William S. Harney defeat a band of Brulé Lakota led by Little Thunder at the Battle of Ash Hollow in present-day Garden County, Nebraska, a punitive expedition for the Grattan massacre.[47]
1856 Feb 2 The city of Dallas is incorporated in Texas.
1857 Sep 11 Nearly 120 emigrants passing through the Utah Territory are massacred by a combined force of Mormon militiamen and Paiute Indians during the hysteria of the Utah War.
1858 May 11 Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
Jul Gold is discovered in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The resulting gold rush draws nearly 100,000 gold-seekers to the Pike's Peak Country of present-day Colorado over the next three years.[49]
1859 Spring The Comstock Lode, the first major discovery of silver ore in the country, provokes a silver rush in present-day Nevada that funds boomtowns including Virginia City and Gold Hill. Over the next 30 years, hundreds of mines extract more than $320 million in gold and silver from the region, making millionaires of investors such as George Hearst and the Bonanza Kings.[50]
Feb 14 Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.
Sep 28–30 Mexican folk hero Juan Cortina and a posse of 40 to 80 men seize control of Brownsville, Texas in one of the major actions of the First Cortina War. His motivation is the cessation of legal abuses perpetrated by Texan authorities against ethnic Mexicans. The occupation only lasts two days, but the Cortina Troubles continue for another two years.[51]


Year Date Event
1860 Apr 14 The Pony Express completes its first westbound and eastbound deliveries between St. Joseph, Missouri and San Francisco, California.
1861 Jan 29 Kansas is admitted to the Union as the 34th U.S. state, and a free state.
Feb A series of hostilities involving U.S. Army Lt. George Nicholas Bascom and Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise triggers the Apache Wars, which remain a central conflict in Arizona and New Mexico for the next 25 years.
Feb 28 Colorado is organized as a U.S. territory.
Mar 2 The Nevada Territory and Dakota Territory are organized.
Mar 16 Governor of Texas Sam Houston is evicted from office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederate States of America. Texas had voted to secede from the Union several weeks earlier.[52]
Mar 28 The southern half of the New Mexico Territory nominally joins the Confederacy as the newly defined Provisional Confederate Territory of Arizona.
Jul 25 250 Confederate troops with the 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles, led by Lt. Col. John R. Baylor, engage Union forces under Major Isaac Lynde at Mesilla, New Mexico, resulting in Lynde's troops retreating into the Organ Mountains, toward Fort Stanton. Lynde is relieved of duty after abandoning his post.
Oct 24 The first transcontinental telegraph line is completed near Fort Bridger in present-day Wyoming, the result of an effort by Hiram Sibley and Western Union to connect California to the telegraph networks of the east. The ability to instantaneously send messages from coast to coast immediately makes the Pony Express obsolete.[53]
1862 Winter Months of record precipitation in the far west culminate in the Great Flood of 1862, which turns California's Central Valley into an inland sea and causes millions of dollars in property damage.[54][55]
Feb–Apr Confederate forces under Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley and Colonel Thomas Green undertake what is widely regarded as one of the most ambitious military operations of the American Civil War when they begin the New Mexico Campaign. Their goals include seizing the Colorado gold fields and securing roads by which to invade California and Mexico.
Feb 20–21 The Battle of Valverde is fought at a ford of Valverde Creek in present-day New Mexico, resulting in a Confederate victory.
Mar 26–28 The Battle of Glorieta Pass is fought in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Confederate cavalry forces and Union volunteers from Colorado and New Mexico. It marks a turning point in the New Mexico Campaign in favor of the Union.
Mar 30 The Battle of Stanwix Station is fought at a Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach stop 80 miles east of Yuma, Arizona between Capt. William P. Calloway of the California Column and Confederate 2nd Lt. Jack Swilling.
Apr 15 The Battle of Picacho Pass is fought between the 1st California Cavalry under Union Lt. James Barrett and a detachment of Arizona Confederates led by Sgt. Henry Holmes. It is often cited as the westernmost battle of the American Civil War, occurring 50 miles northwest of Tucson.
May 5 Confederate Sgt. Sam Ford and his men are ambushed by Apache warriors led by Cochise in the Dragoon Mountains, southeast of the present-day town of Benson, Arizona, at the First Battle of Dragoon Springs.
May 9 The Second Battle of Dragoon Springs is fought in retaliation for the deaths of the four Confederates killed at the Apache ambush four days earlier. Rebels under Capt. Sherod Hunter take back the cattle stolen by Cochise and his warriors and kill five Apaches.
May 20 The Homestead Act of 1862 is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. It aims to encourage settlement in the West by simplifying the process of land acquisition: homesteaders need only claim, occupy for five years, and improve a minimum of 160 acres of unappropriated land to be granted full ownership. Alternatively, settlers have the option of purchasing the land outright after six months of residency.[56]
Jul 15–16 140 Union troops from the California Column are ambushed by about 500 Apaches under Mangas Coloradas and Cochise at the Battle of Apache Pass in Arizona. It is one of the first battles in which the United States Army is able to effectively use artillery against Indians.
Aug 17 The Dakota War of 1862 begins when a Sioux hunting party slaughters five white settlers, and the tribal council decides to attack white settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley.
Nov 5 More than 300 Santee Sioux in Minnesota are sentenced to hang for the rape and murder of white settlers.
1863 Jan 1 Daniel Freeman submits the first claim under the Homestead Act of 1862 for land near Beatrice, Nebraska.
Jan 18 Chiricahua Apache leader Mangas Coloradas is captured, tortured, and killed by U.S. Army sentries after meeting with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West to call for peace.
Jan 29 Colonel Patrick Edward Connor leads his troops to fight Shoshone Indians in present-day Idaho, resulting in the Bear River Massacre.
Feb 24 The Arizona Territory is organized from a portion of the New Mexico Territory.
Mar 4 Idaho is organized as a U.S. territory.
Aug 21 Confederate guerrillas led by William Quantrill set fire to the pro-Union town of Lawrence, Kansas and kill nearly 200 civilians in the Lawrence massacre. Quantrill claims his motive was revenge for the Sacking of Osceola several years earlier.
1864 John Bozeman leads a group of about 2,000 settlers along the Bozeman Trail, a new cutoff route connecting the Oregon Trail with the gold fields of southwestern Montana, which he and John Jacobs had blazed the previous year.
Jan Colonel Kit Carson accepts the surrender of most of the Navajo nation after the final two years of the bloody Navajo Wars.
May 26 Montana is organized as a U.S. territory.
Jul Outlaw Jim Reynolds and his gang plunder and rob settlements in the South Park Basin of the Colorado Territory in an attempt to loot the gold mines of the region to support the fledgling Confederacy.
Sep 27 Pro-Confederate bushwhackers led by William "Bloody Bill" Anderson capture and execute 24 unarmed Union soldiers at a rail depot in Centralia, Missouri.
Oct 25 In consecutive engagements only hours apart, Union cavalry under Alfred Pleasonton pursue and defeat Confederate forces under Sterling Price at Marais des Cygnes, Mine Creek, and Marmiton River as they retreat through Kansas and Missouri.
Oct 31 Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
Nov 29 Colonel John Chivington and his volunteer militia massacre a peaceful Cheyenne village near Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory, in what is later called the Sand Creek massacre.
1865 May 12–13 The Battle of Palmito Ranch is fought near Brownsville, Texas. It is the final armed engagement of the American Civil War.
Jul 21 "Wild Bill" Hickok kills gambler Davis Tutt in a shootout in Springfield, Missouri. The confrontation is sensationalized in Harper's Magazine, making Hickok a household name. It is often considered the archetypal one-on-one quick-draw duel, which later becomes a popular image of the Old West.[57]
1866 Feb 13 Notorious outlaws Frank and Jesse James rob their first bank in Liberty, Missouri.
Spring The period of the great cattle drives begins when Texas ranchers drive more than 260,000 head of cattle to assorted markets. Some travel east to Louisiana, where the animals are shipped to Cairo, Illinois and St. Louis; others travel west to Fort Sumner, New Mexico and Denver, inaugurating the Goodnight-Loving Trail. But the vast majority follow the Shawnee Trail north to Kansas City or Sedalia, Missouri.[58]
Dec 21 Captain William J. Fetterman and 80 soldiers of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry and 18th Infantry regiments are ambushed and wiped out by Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors near Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming. A fort built the next year, Fort Fetterman, is named in his honor.
1867 Mar 1 Nebraska is admitted as the 37th U.S. state.
Jun 25 Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio is issued the first patent for barbed wire fencing, an invention which revolutionizes cattle ranching on the open prairies of the West.[59]
1868 Apr 29 The Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) is signed between the United States and several bands of Lakota, Dakota, and Arapaho Indians. It results in the abandonment of U.S. military outposts along the Bozeman Trail, the indefinite closure of the Powder River Country and western South Dakota to white settlement, and the end of Red Cloud's War.[60]
Jul 25 Wyoming is organized as a U.S. territory.[61]
Nov 27 The Battle of Washita River is fought when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry Regiment attacks a winter encampment of Southern Cheyenne Indians on the Washita River in what is now western Oklahoma. Chief Black Kettle, leader of the Cheyenne, is killed.
1869 May 10 Leland Stanford drives the Golden Spike to join the rails of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at a special ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, completing the First Transcontinental Railroad.
May 24 John Wesley Powell and nine others embark on a scientific expedition that charts more than 930 miles of the Green River and Colorado River through the canyon country of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Powell and his crew become the first recorded white men to travel the length of the Grand Canyon. They reach the mouth of the Virgin River in present-day Nevada on August 30.
Dec 10 Wyoming becomes the first U.S. territory to grant women the right to vote.


Year Date Event
1870 Bret Harte's The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches, a collection of stories based on his years as a San Francisco journalist, is published.[62]
William "Hurricane Bill" Martin, a notorious Kansas outlaw, begins rustling cattle southeast of Abilene before he and his gang are driven off by a posse from Marion.[63]
Settling in the New Mexico Territory, gunfighter Robert Clay Allison purchases a ranch in Colfax County. According to local newspapers, Allison is reported to have killed as many as fifteen men in gunfights during this time.[64]
With the growing railroad industry and cattle boom, buffalo hunters begin moving onto the Great Plains. In less than ten years, the buffalo population is dramatically reduced, and the animal remains an endangered species for much of the next century.[62]
The Utah Territorial Assembly, supported by Brigham Young, grants women the right to vote. Over the next several decades, this provides Mormons with an added margin of political power.[62]
Jan Shortly after leaving the post of sheriff of Ellis County, Kansas, "Wild Bill" Hickok travels to Missouri and eventually resumes his duties as a U.S. Marshal.[65]
Jan 23 More than 200 men, women, and children belonging to a friendly band of Piegan Blackfeet Indians are mistakenly attacked and massacred by a U.S. Army command on the Marias River in the Montana Territory.[66]
Spring With the emergence of Abilene, Kansas as a major stopover for cattle ranchers, the town trustees attempt to curb the violence brought by the beginning of the cattle season by banning guns within the town limits. This proves extremely unpopular and unenforceable, as Texas cowboys make a habit of shooting up ordinance posters and also tear down the city's first jailhouse; violence continues in the city until the appointment of Tom "Bear River" Smith as City Marshal on June 4.[67]
Jul 17–18 "Wild Bill" Hickok is involved in a shootout with several members of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment in Hays City after killing one trooper and wounding another.[65]
Nov 2 Abilene City Marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith is killed while serving an arrest warrant near the town.[65]
1871 John K. "King" Fisher is hired by settlers of the Pendencia River country in Dimmit County, Texas to protect their livestock and other property. It is during this time that Fisher becomes known as a skilled gunfighter.[68]
Jan 1 After a long illness, U.S. Army Captain John Barry is forced into retirement. While stationed at Fort Ord, Barry attempts to improve relations between the United States and the Apaches, as well as encourages the enlistment of scouts to combat renegade Apaches.[68]
Feb 16 John Younger kills Captain S.W. Nichols in a gunfight in Dallas, Texas.[69]
Feb 23 While heading an Apache-hunting force near present-day Clifton, Arizona, John M. Bullard is shot and killed when he approaches a wounded Apache warrior.[68]
Feb 28 "Handsome Jack" John Ledford, an outlaw-turned-hotel-owner involved in counterfeiting and horse theft in Kansas and the Indian Territory, is killed in a shootout with a group of U.S. Army soldiers led by scout Lee Stewart and U.S. Marshal Jack Bridges, who claimed to have a warrant for his arrest. Although he had recently come under suspicion for his involvement in the robbery of a government wagon train in which several teamsters had been killed, later newspaper accounts claimed that Ledford had been murdered by Bridges due to a previous argument in which Bridges had threatened his life.[70]
Mar 16 Death of Navajo chieftain Barboncito (Hastin Daagii).[68]
Apr 15 "Wild Bill" Hickok succeeds Tom "Bear River" Smith as City Marshal for Abilene, Kansas and remains in the position until December 13.[71]
Apr 28 In what becomes known as the Camp Grant Massacre, over 100 Apache women and children are killed by a mob of Mexicans and Papago Indians led by several Tucson businessmen, including D.A. Bennett and Sam Hughes. Bennett and several others are indicted in December, though all are acquitted.[68]
Jun 14 Thomas Carson, reportedly a nephew of Kit Carson, is appointed to the Abilene police force under City Marshal "Wild Bill" Hickok. After an incident with gunfighter John Wesley Hardin over Hardin's insistence on wearing his gun in public, he is hired briefly as deputy in Newton, Kansas before returning to Abilene in November. Carson and Deputy John W. "Brocky Jack" Norton are fired from the police force on November 27 after assaulting a local bartender.
Jun 30 Shortly after robbing a nearby bank, Jesse James addresses a crowd at a political rally in Corydon, Iowa.[69]
Oct 5 Professional gambler Phil Coe is involved in a shootout with Abilene City Marshal "Wild Bill" Hickok after Hickok attempts to censor a painting of a bull with abnormally large genitals in Coe's saloon. Deputy Mike Williams is killed when Hickok accidentally shoots him, and Coe dies from his wounds four days later.[72]
1872 William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, a scout for the U.S. 5th Cavalry Regiment, is awarded the Medal of Honor. Later that year, he appears on stage for the first time, portraying himself in "Scouts of the Prairie".
Ellsworth, Kansas succeeds Abilene as the northern stopping point on the Old Texas cattle trail.
Following the completion of the Santa Fe Railroad across the border of the Colorado Territory, the use of the Santa Fe Trail begins to decline, although Dodge City remains a major cattle shipping town for the next decade. The Santa Fe Railroad also completes a rail line at Wichita, Kansas, causing a major population boom over the next several years.
Jan 31 Author Zane Grey is born in Zanesville, Ohio.
Mar 1 Yellowstone National Park is designated America's first national park by President Ulysses S. Grant.
Nov 29 The Battle of Lost River results when the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment tries to force a band of Modoc Indians under Captain Jack to return to the Klamath Reservation in southern Oregon. In the subsequent Modoc War, a party of 53 Modoc warriors entrenched in the Lava Beds of northern California manages to hold off hundreds of U.S. soldiers for more than five months.
Dec 28 U.S. Army cavalry under George Crook begin a campaign into Arizona's Tonto Basin by defeating the occupants of a Yavapai stronghold at the Battle of Salt River Canyon, part of the Yavapai War.[73]
1873 The Colt Single Action Army revolver is first manufactured. It later becomes known as "The Gun That Won the West".[74]
Mar 27 A combined force of U.S. Army soldiers and Apache Scouts wins another major victory over Yavapai and Tonto Apache warriors at the Battle of Turret Peak in central Arizona.[75]
Dec "My Western Home", a poem by Dr. Brewster M. Higley, is first published in an issue of the Smith County Pioneer. It is set to music by Daniel E. Kelley and evolves into the classic western folk song "Home on the Range", which is later adopted as the state song of Kansas.
1874 Outlaws Ceberiano and Reymundo Aguilar are killed during the Harrold War of Lincoln County, New Mexico.
Jun 27 While occupying an old trading post in the Texas panhandle, 28 bison hunters including 21-year-old Bat Masterson are besieged by 700 Comanche warriors at the Second Battle of Adobe Walls.
Sep 28 The 4th U.S. Cavalry under Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie routs a large camp of Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa Indians taking refuge in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle.[76]
Nov 24 Joseph Glidden patents a type of barbed wire he calls "The Winner", which becomes one of the most popular types in the country. His design is modified from a version patented by Henry B. Rose and displayed at a county fair in Glidden's hometown of DeKalb, Illinois.[77][78]
1875 Aug 8 Jermin Aguirre is killed near the San Augin Ranch in the New Mexico Territory.
1876 After being wounded in the hip during a gunfight in Sweetwater, Texas, Bat Masterson agrees to become assistant city marshal of Dodge City, Kansas.
Mar 17 After Sioux chieftains Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse refuse to comply with the United States government's order to leave the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory, General George Crook attacks and defeats their forces at the Battle of Powder River, thereby beginning the Great Sioux War.
Jun 17 General George Crook's forces are forced to withdraw following his defeat by Crazy Horse at the Battle of Rosebud.
Jun 25 While leading an attack into a Sioux village in the Montana Territory, the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment under Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer is ambushed and massacred by over 2,000 Sioux and Comanche warriors led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.[79]
Aug 1 Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.
Aug 2 James "Wild Bill" Hickok is shot and killed by Jack McCall during a poker game in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.
Sep 7 Several members of the James-Younger Gang, including Cole Younger, are captured after the failed robbery of the First National Bank leads to a gunfight with bank employees and local residents in Northfield, Minnesota.
Sep 9–10 In the first U.S. Army victory since the disaster at the Little Bighorn, a punitive expedition led by George Crook destroys an Oglala Lakota village led by Chief American Horse at the Battle of Slim Buttes in present-day South Dakota.[80]
1877 May 5 Oglala chief Crazy Horse surrenders to the U.S. Army at the Red Cloud Agency near Fort Robinson, Nebraska.[81]
Jun 17 Anticipating retaliation for recent crimes against white settlers and reluctant to move to a reservation, about 600 Nez Perce Indians led by Chief Joseph, Ollokot, and White Bird begin a long retreat from western Idaho with the U.S. Army in pursuit. They defeat their pursuers at the Battle of White Bird Canyon, and the Nez Perce War begins.[82]
Aug 17 At 17 years old, Henry McCarty, later known as "Billy the Kid", shoots his first man, Frank "Windy" Cahill, after Cahill wrestles him to the ground at a saloon in Fort Grant, Arizona. Cahill dies the following day.
Sep 21 Prospector Ed Schieffelin files his first mining claim after discovering silver ore on a high plateau between the San Pedro River and the Dragoon Mountains in southeastern Arizona Territory. He names his stake "Tombstone".[83]
1878 Feb 18 New Mexico rancher John Tunstall is killed by a posse whose members include gunman Charles Wolz, beginning the Lincoln County War.
Mar John Younger, a member of the Younger Gang, is killed by Pinkerton detectives Louis Lull and Jim Duckworth in St. Clair County, Missouri.
Jun 18 Nick Worthington, a well-known outlaw throughout New Mexico and Colorado, is killed by residents of Cimarron, New Mexico after killing several men and stealing horses.
Jul 15–19 The Battle of Lincoln takes place over five days in Lincoln, New Mexico. Alexander McSween, former partner of John Tunstall, is shot and killed on July 19, along with gunman Francisco Zamora.
1879 Ike and Billy Clanton enlist William "Curly Bill" Brocius and Johnny Ringo as they begin cattle rustling in the New Mexico and southern Arizona Territories.
Jan Captain Marcus Reno, the highest-ranking officer to have survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn, is brought before a general court-martial but is acquitted of cowardice.
Sep 29 In the White River War, Nathan Meeker and ten employees of the White River Indian Agency in western Colorado are massacred by Ute Indians when Meeker wires for military assistance in suppressing a perceived uprising. The Utes besiege a U.S. Army detachment in the Battle of Milk Creek until it is relieved by troops under Col. Wesley Merritt on October 5.[84]


Year Date Event
1880 George Alford is sentenced to five years imprisonment for murdering a sheriff in Fort Worth, Texas.
Mar 2 James Allen kills James Moorehead after ordering eggs in a tavern in Las Vegas, New Mexico and, after escaping from prison for Moorehead's murder, is killed by a posse.
May 1 The Tombstone Epitaph prints its first issue in Tombstone, Arizona. It remains the oldest continuously published newspaper in the state.[85]
May 11 A dispute over land titles between settlers of California's San Joaquin Valley and the Southern Pacific Railroad leaves seven people dead in what is later called the Mussel Slough Tragedy.
Dec 19 Tom O'Folliard, best friend of Billy the Kid, is shot and killed by members of Pat Garrett's posse in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
Dec 23 Charlie Bowdre, a member of Billy the Kid's gang, is shot and killed by members of Pat Garrett's posse at Stinking Springs, New Mexico.
Dec 24 Abran Baca kills A.M. Conklin in Socorro, New Mexico with several other outlaws, though he is acquitted the following year.
1881 Feb 5 The city of Phoenix is incorporated in the Arizona Territory.
Apr 14 A gunfight involving El Paso, Texas Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire results in what witnesses recall as "four dead in five seconds".
Jul 14 Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. He is buried the next day between his friends Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre in Fort Sumner's old military cemetery.
Aug 5 Crow Dog, a Lakota subchief on the Great Sioux Reservation, shoots and kills Chief Spotted Tail. Though the matter is settled by tribal custom, Crow Dog is sentenced to death under the laws of the Dakota Territory, only to be freed by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.[86]
Oct 26 The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral takes place in the street behind a saloon in Tombstone, Arizona, pitting the Earps and Doc Holliday against Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and Billy Claiborne. Billy Clanton and the McLaurys are killed, and Virgil and Morgan Earp, along with Holliday, are wounded.
1882 Mar 18 Morgan Earp is shot and killed while playing billiards in Tombstone, Arizona. His assassination is linked to his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Mar 24 Outlaw William "Curly Bill" Brocius is shot and killed by Wyatt Earp at Iron Springs in southeastern Arizona.
Apr 3 Jesse James is shot in the back of the head by Robert Ford, a new recruit to his gang, at his home in St. Joseph, Missouri.[87]
May 6 President Chester A. Arthur signs the Chinese Exclusion Act, which effects a near-complete ban on Chinese immigration and naturalization in the United States. The law is especially significant for the burgeoning railroad and mining industries in the West, which had previously relied largely on low-wage Chinese labor. Though the original act is set to expire in ten years, it is renewed in 1892 and again in 1902.[88]
Nov 14 "Buckskin" Frank Leslie shoots and kills outlaw Billy Claiborne while bartending at the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona.[89]
1883 Dec 8 In the Bisbee massacre, five outlaws rob a general store in Bisbee, Arizona and kill four people in the process.[90]
1884 Dec 1 A 36-hour standoff begins in the town of Reserve, New Mexico when a posse of Texan cowboys confronts lawman Elfego Baca for having arrested an intoxicated cowboy.
1885 Sep 2 Years of racial tension, aggravated by labor unrest over the preferential hiring of Chinese immigrants for very low wages, come to a head in the Rock Springs massacre, which leaves at least 28 Chinese coal miners dead at the hands of white miners in the town of Rock Springs, Wyoming. The riot touches off a wave of anti-Chinese violence across the country.[91]
1886 Jack Langrishe, a popular western entertainer, is elected justice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Feb 18 Dave Rudabaugh, a former member of Billy the Kid's Dodge City Gang, is reportedly captured and decapitated by townspeople after terrorizing the village of Parral, Mexico.
Mar 21 The "Big Fight" takes place in Tascosa, Texas, where three ranch hands, ex-members of Pat Garrett's "Home Rangers," are killed by rival ranch hands and assorted gunmen.[92]
Aug 7 Fort Fred Steele, used to protect railroads from local Native American tribes in the Wyoming Territory, is closed.
Aug 20 Fort Duchesne is officially opened by Major Frederick William Benteen in the Utah Territory.
Sep 4 Apache renegade Geronimo surrenders to forces under General Nelson Miles and is taken into custody at Fort Grant, Arizona. His surrender is often considered the end of the Apache Wars.[93]
Winter The extremely harsh winter of 1886–87 devastates the American cattle industry, leading to the end of the open range era. As a result, cattle ranching is completely reorganized and the period of the great cattle drives is over.
Dec 1 Brothers Jim and Rube Burrow rob their first train in Bellevue, Texas.
1887 Feb 8 Luke Short kills former Fort Worth, Texas Marshal Jim Courtright in a gunfight on the streets of Fort Worth. The shooting is ruled self-defense, since Courtright drew his pistol first.
1888 Dec 18 Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law discover the Cliff Palace of Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado.[94]
1889 Feb 3 Belle Starr is murdered in Oklahoma.[95]
Apr 22 An estimated 50,000 homesteaders rush to claim nearly two million acres of unoccupied land appropriated for public settlement from ceded Native American territory in what is now central Oklahoma. It is the first of several major land runs in the region.[96]
May 11 Major Joseph W. Wham, a U.S. Army paymaster, and his escort of eleven Buffalo Soldiers are ambushed and robbed of more than $28,000 in gold and silver coins by a posse of bandits on the road to Fort Thomas, Arizona Territory. The bandits are never captured.[97]
Jun 24 Outlaw Butch Cassidy robs his first bank in Telluride, Colorado before fleeing to the remote hideout of Robbers Roost.[98]
Nov 2 North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
Nov 8 Montana is admitted as the 41st U.S. state.
Nov 11 Washington is admitted as the 42nd U.S. state.


Members of the Dalton Gang after attempted bank robberies in Coffeyville, Kansas
Year Date Event
1890 Jun Data collected for the Eleventh United States Census indicate that the spread of the population into unsettled areas has resulted in the disappearance of the American frontier. The U.S. Census Bureau declares that it will no longer monitor westward migration in the country.[99]
Jul 3 Idaho is admitted as the 43rd U.S. state.
Jul 10 Wyoming is admitted as the 44th U.S. state.
Dec 29 More than 200 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux are killed at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota when the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment under Colonel James W. Forsyth attempts to confiscate their weapons.[100]
1892 Apr 8–13 In the most violent episode of the Johnson County War, wealthy cattle barons of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and hired mercenaries invade the Powder River Country to persecute local ranchers on allegations of cattle rustling. When the homesteaders retaliate with their own army, a series of deadly stand-offs ensues before President Benjamin Harrison orders the 6th Cavalry Regiment to intervene. The conflict forces a reorganization of the cattle industry in Wyoming and becomes one of the most well-known range wars in the history of the West.[101]
Aug 2 Tom Graham, the last male member of the Graham family, is killed by Edwin Tewksbury in Tempe, Arizona, concluding the Pleasant Valley War.
Oct 5 Four members of the Dalton Gang are killed in a shootout with townspeople while trying to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kansas.
1893 Jun 11–12 Following a ten-month manhunt, local train robbers John Sontag and Chris Evans are wounded during a shootout with a posse of lawmen on a ranch north of Visalia, California. Both outlaws are eventually captured, and Sontag dies of his wounds three weeks later.[102]
1896 Jan 4 Utah is admitted as the 45th U.S. state.
Aug 13 Butch Cassidy, Elzy Lay, Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan, and Bob Meeks rob a bank in Montpelier, Idaho.[103]
1899 Jun 2 Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch rob an Overland Flyer passenger train near Wilcox, Wyoming, resulting in a massive but ultimately futile manhunt.[104][105]


Year Date Event
1901 Feb 20 Butch Cassidy, Harry Longabaugh, and Longabaugh's girlfriend Etta Place depart the United States for Buenos Aires, Argentina aboard a British steamer.[106]
1903 Nov 20 Legendary gunman Tom Horn, who had previously served as a U.S. Cavalry scout, Pinkerton detective, lawman and outlaw is hung in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the disputed 1901 killing of 14-year-old sheepherder Willie Nickell. His trial and hanging mark the waning of the power of the cattle barons in Wyoming.[107][108]
1905 Dec 30 Former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg is wounded by a bomb in his home in Caldwell, Idaho and dies a short time later. An investigation suggests the assassination was motivated by prior labor unrest in Idaho's mining communities.[109]
1906 Apr 18 An earthquake and resulting fires devastate the city of San Francisco and neighboring communities, killing at least 3,000 people and leaving nearly three-fourths of the Bay Area's population homeless.[110]
1907 Nov 16 Oklahoma is admitted as the 46th U.S. state.


Year Date Event
1912 Jan 6 New Mexico is admitted as the 47th U.S. state.
Feb 14 Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state. It is the last state to be admitted in the contiguous United States, marking the complete political incorporation of U.S. territorial acquisitions west of the Mississippi River.[111]
1916 Dec 5 The last stagecoach robbery in American history occurs at Jarbidge Canyon, Nevada, when three robbers hold up a U.S. Postal Service stagecoach, shoot the driver, and steal $4,000 in cash. The criminals are captured without incident soon after.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hine, Robert V.; Faragher, John Mack (2000). The American West : a new interpretive history. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 10. ISBN 0300078358. 
  2. ^ a b Robert M. Utley, ed. (2003) The Story of The West DK Publishing, New York ISBN 0-7894-9660-7.
  3. ^ Winship, George Parker, translator and editor. The Journey of Coronado 1540–1542. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 1990. Introduction by Donald C. Cutter. ISBN 1-55591-066-1
  4. ^ Weber, David J. (1992). The Spanish frontier in North America. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0300059175. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Santa Fe – A Rich History". City of Santa Fe. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  6. ^ "New Mexico's Palace of the Governors". C-SPAN. January 7, 2013. Retrieved 18 Apr 2015. 
  7. ^ Weber, David J. (1994). "The Spanish–Mexican Rim". In Milner, Clyde A., II; O'Connor, Carol A.; Sandweiss, Martha A. The Oxford history of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 55–56. 
  8. ^ Hine, Robert V.; Faragher, John Mack (2000). The American West : a new interpretive history. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0300078358. 
  9. ^ Weber, David J. (1992). The Spanish frontier in North America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. pp. 137–141. ISBN 0300059175. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Adina Emilia De Zavala (December 8, 1917). "History and legends of The Alamo and others missions in and around San Antonio". History legends of de Zarichs Online. p. 8. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Vérendrye Museum". National Park Service. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Present State of the West-Indies: Containing an Accurate Description of What Parts Are Possessed by the Several Powers in Europe". World Digital Library. 1778. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  13. ^ Weber, David J. (1992). The Spanish frontier in North America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 246. ISBN 0300059175. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  14. ^ Nugent, Walter (1999). Into the West : the story of its people. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 33–35. ISBN 0679454799. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Martinez (2004). Anza and Cuerno Verde. pp. 23, 52. 
  16. ^ Rochester, Junius (4 March 2003). "Vancouver, George (1758–1798)". HistoryLink.org. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Schwantes, Carlos Arnaldo (1996). The Pacific Northwest : an interpretive history (Rev. and enl. ed.). Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press. pp. 49–50. ISBN 0803242255. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Lewis & Clark Expedition: A Western Adventure – A National Epic". 1998. Retrieved Sep 24, 2008. 
  19. ^ Uldrich, Jack (2004). Into the unknown: leadership lessons from Lewis & Clark's daring westward adventure. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 245. ISBN 0-8144-0816-8. 
  20. ^ Hubert Howe Bancroft; Alfred Bates; Ivan Petroff; William Nemos (1887). History of Alaska: 1730–1885. San Francisco, California: A. L. Bancroft & company. p. 482. Retrieved Jan 10, 2010. 
  21. ^ LexUM (2000). "Convention of Commerce between His Majesty and the United States of America.--Signed at London, 20th October, 1818". Canado-American Treaties. University of Montreal. Archived from the original on January 6, 2005. Retrieved 2006-03-27. 
  22. ^ Rhonda, James P. (2004). "Passion and Imagination in the Exploration of the American West". In Deverell, William. A Companion to the American West. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 65–68. ISBN 0-631-21357-0. 
  23. ^ "Scientific Expedition of Major Stephen H. Long". Kansas Genealogy. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  24. ^ Milner, Clyde A., II (1994). "National Initiatives". In Milner, Clyde A., II; O'Connor, Carol A.; Sandweiss, Martha A. The Oxford history of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-19-511212-1. 
  25. ^ "Notes on General Ashley, the Overland Trail, and South Pass" Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 54(2): 161–312. 1944
  26. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 177. 
  27. ^ Tami Canaday (September 15, 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form: Fort Laramie National Historic Site" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-04-06.  Two photos (1976) and 50 photos (1983)
  28. ^ Barr, Alwyn (1990). Texians in Revolt: the Battle for San Antonio, 1835. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-77042-1. OCLC 20354408. 
  29. ^ Harbert Davenport and Craig H. Roell, "GOLIAD MASSACRE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qeg02), accessed February 02, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  30. ^ Wilbarger, J.W. Indian Depredations in Texas. Op.cit. "Cherokee War & Battle of the Neches." Fort Tours website. Retrieved 18 Feb 2010.
  31. ^ Anderson, Gary Clayton. (2005), The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1820-1875, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0-8061-3698-1 
  32. ^ Dillion, Richard. Fool's Gold, the Decline and Fall of Captain John Sutter of California. New York City: Coward-McCann. 1967, p. 66.
  33. ^ Gvosdev, Nicholas C. (1995). "Russian Orthodox Christianity in America". The Russian American. N20. Retrieved 5 January 2017. 
  34. ^ Black bean episode -Handbook of Texas Online published by the Texas State Historical Association; Retrieved May 02, 2011
  35. ^ The Oregon Trail: Oregon City Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ Gammel, H.P.N. (1898). The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897. 2. pp. 1225–1227. 
  37. ^ Harlow, Neal (1982). California Conquered: The Annexation of a Mexican Province 1846–1850. ISBN 0-520-06605-7. 
  38. ^ "Treaty between Her Majesty and the United States of America, for the Settlement of the Oregon Boundary". Canado-American Treaties. Université de Montréal. 1999. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  39. ^ Bauer, K.J., 1974, The Mexican War, 1846-1848, New York:Macmillan, ISBN 0803261071
  40. ^ The Yarmouth Herald (Apr 8, 1847) From New Mexico Retrieved 4 May 2010
  41. ^ Drury, Clifford M. "Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon." Volume 1, Chapter 8. Seattle: Northwest Interpretive Association, 2005.
  42. ^ The Deseret News (Feb 11, 1898) First Found California Gold
  43. ^ Morn, Frank (1982). The Eye That Never Sleeps: A History of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32086-0. p. 18
  44. ^ The Whitman Massacre Trial: A Verdict is Reached. Oregon State Archives. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  45. ^ Bennett, Elmer (2008). Federal Indian Law. The Lawbook Exchange. pp. 201–203. ISBN 9781584777762. 
  46. ^ Downey, Lynn. "Levi Strauss: A Biography" (PDF). levistrauss.com. Levi Strauss & Co. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  47. ^ a b Paul Norman Beck, The First Sioux War: The Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek, 1854–1856, University Press of America, 2004, pp. 40–41, accessed 7 Dec 2010
  48. ^ Fournier, Richard. "Mexican War Vet Wages Deadliest Gunfight in American History", VFW Magazine (January 2012), p. 30.
  49. ^ Brown, Robert (1985). The Great Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Press. ISBN 0-87004-412-5. 
  50. ^ Smith, G.H., 1943, The History of the Comstock Lode, 1850–1997, Reno: University of Nevada Press, ISBN 1888035048
  51. ^ Elman, Robert (1974). Badmen of the West. Ridge Press. ISBN 0-600-31353-0. 
  52. ^ Houston, Samuel in the Handbook of Texas Online.
  53. ^ "Milestones:Transcontinental Telegraph, 1861". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  54. ^ William H. Brewer, Up and down California in 1860–1864, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1930, p. 243 Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  55. ^ Lansing Wells, Edward (1947). "Notes on the Winter of 1861–2 in the Pacific Northwest" (PDF). Northwest Science. 21: 76–83. 
  56. ^ "The Homestead Act of 1862". National Archives. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  57. ^ Connelley, William E. (1933). Wild Bill and His Era: The Life and Adventures of James Butler Hickok. pp. 84–5. 
  58. ^ "The History of Cattle Drives" on the Genealogy Trails website
  59. ^ "Lucien B. Smith". Ohio History Central. Ohio Historical Society. 31 July 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  60. ^ "Fort Laramie Treaty, 1868." Archives of the West. (retrieved 19 Dec 2010)
  61. ^ Fortieth United States Congress (July 25, 1868). "An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Wyoming" (cgi-bin). Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  62. ^ a b c Public Broadcasting Service (2001). "New Perspectives on the West: Events in the West, 1870 to 1880". PBS.org. 
  63. ^ Rosa, Joseph G. Gunfighter: Man Or Myth?. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969. (pg. 47)
  64. ^ Wexler, Bruce. The Wild, Wild West Of Louis L'amour: The Illustrated Guide to Cowboys, Indians, Gunslingers, Outlaws and Texas Rangers. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2005. (pg. 78) ISBN 0-7624-2357-9
  65. ^ a b c Rosa, Joseph G. Wild Bill Hickok, Gunfighter: An Account of Hickok's Gunfights. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003. (pg. 17) ISBN 0-8061-3535-2
  66. ^ Hutton, Paul Andrew (1985). "Forming Military Indian Policy: 'The Only Good Indian Is a Dead Indian'". Phil Sheridan and His Army. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 181–200. ISBN 0-8032-2329-3. 
  67. ^ Rosa, Joseph G. Gunfighter: Man Or Myth?. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969. (pg. 196)
  68. ^ a b c d e Thrapp, Dan L. Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography: In Three Volumes, Volume I (A-F). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. ISBN 0-8032-9418-2
  69. ^ a b Wellman, Paul Iselin. A Dynasty of Western Outlaws. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8032-9709-2
  70. ^ Wallis, Michael. Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007. ISBN 0-393-06068-3
  71. ^ Patterson, Richard M. Historical Atlas of the Outlaw West. Boulder: Johnson Publishing Company, 1985. ISBN 0-933472-89-7
  72. ^ Kohn, George C. Dictionary of Culprits and Criminals. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1986.
  73. ^ Michno, Gregory (2003). Encyclopedia of Indian Wars: Western Battles and Skirmishes, 1850–1890. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87842-468-7. 
  74. ^ "Colt Single Action Army (Colt 45 / Peacemaker) Six-Shot Percussion Revolver (1873)". MilitaryFactory.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  75. ^ "Battle of Turret Peak, 1873". Archived from the original on 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  76. ^ Carter, R.G., 1935, On the Border with Mackenzie, Washington D.C.: Eynon Printing Co.
  77. ^ "A Brief History of Barbed Wire" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 21, 2010), Devil's Rope Museum
  78. ^ "Barbed Wire: The Saga". The Glidden Homestead. Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  79. ^ The Deseret News (Jul 8, 1876) Headquarters, Departm't of Dakotah (General Terry's report) Retrieved 6 May 2010[dead link]
  80. ^ Jerome A. Greene, “Slim Buttes, 1876: An Episode of the Great Sioux War” (1982), pp. xiii–xiv. Vestal
  81. ^ "The William Garnett Interview", in The Surrender and Death of Crazy Horse: A Source Book, Ed. Richard G Hardoff, 1998. p. 43
  82. ^ Greene, Jerome A. (2000). "2". Nez Perce Summer 1877: The U.S. Army and the Nee-Me-Poo Crisis. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-917298-68-3. 
  83. ^ Hendricks, Janice. "Thirty Cents and a Hunch". Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  84. ^ Sprague, Marshall, Massacre: The Tragedy At White River, University of Nebraska Press, 1957, p. 176
  85. ^ Tombstoneepitaph.com. Accessed 22 December 2015.
  86. ^ Sidney L. Harring (1994). Crow Dog's Case: American Indian Sovereignty, Tribal Law, and United States Law in the Nineteenth Century, 3.
  87. ^ The Modesto Bee (Apr 4, 1982) The outlaw Jesse James: His legend lives on 100 years later Retrieved 3 May 2010
  88. ^ "Text of the Chinese Exclusion Act" (PDF). University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  89. ^ Tombstone Epitaph, Saturday, November 18, 1882.
  90. ^ Weiser, Kathy (2013). "John Heath and the Bisbee Massacre". Legends of America website. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  91. ^ Carroll, Murray L. "Governor Francis E. Warren, The United States Army and the Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs," Annals of Wyoming, 1987, Vol. 59 No. 2, pp. 16–27, (ISSN 0003-4991)
  92. ^ http://www.territorialnewspapers.com/archives/2010/2010-04-21/page-11.pdf
  93. ^ Capps, Benjamin (1975). The Great Chiefs. Time-Life Education. pp. 240. ISBN 978-0-316-84785-8
  94. ^ Wenger, Gilbert R. (1991) [1980]. The Story of Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde Museum Park, Colorado: Mesa Verde Museum Association. pp. 79–80. ISBN 0-937062-15-4.
  95. ^ Toledo Blade (Feb 19, 1954) Belle Starr, Sweetheart of Outlaws Retrieved 6 May 2010
  96. ^ "Rushes to Statehood, The Oklahoma Land Runs". Dickinson Research Center. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  97. ^ "An Interview — With Major Wham Giving Full Particulars of the Famous Hold-up on the Fort Thomas Road". Arizona Weekly Citizen. Tucson, Arizona Territory. May 25, 1889. p. 3. 
  98. ^ "Butch Cassidy". Biography.com. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  99. ^ Porter, Robert; Gannett, Henry; Hunt, William (1895). "Progress of the Nation", in "Report on Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890, Part 1". Bureau of the Census. pp. xviii–xxxiv. 
  100. ^ Liggett, Lorie (1998). "Wounded Knee Massacre – An Introduction". Bowling Green State University. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  101. ^ Davis, John W. (2010). Wyoming Range War: The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-4106-0. 
  102. ^ "Newspaper Coverage of the Evans & Sontag Story: The Examiner, San Francisco, Tuesday Morning, June 13, 1893, Vol. LVI, No. 164, p1:". June 24, 2004. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  103. ^ Idaho State Historical Society: Public Archives and Research Library, inmate files: Henry "Bob" Meeks, #574
  104. ^ "Alleged Train Robber Taken" (PDF). The New York Times. October 23, 1899. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  105. ^ "Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid: The Monpelier, Castle Gate, Wilcox and Winnemucca Robberies". Wyoming Tales and Trails. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  106. ^ Richard M. Patterson (1998). Butch Cassidy: A Biography. University of Nebraska Press, p. 316.
  107. ^ Carlson, Chip. "Tom Horn: Wyoming Enigma". WyoHistory.org. Wyoming State Historical Society. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  108. ^ Davis, John W. (2016). The Trial of Tom Horn. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. 
  109. ^ Horsley, Albert (1907). The Confessions and Autobiography of Harry Orchard. 
  110. ^ Timeline of the San Francisco Earthquake April 18 – 23, 1906, The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
  111. ^ Milner, Clyde A., II (1994). "National Initiatives". In Milner, Clyde A., II; O'Connor, Carol A.; Sandweiss, Martha A. The Oxford history of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 156–157. 

External links[edit]