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The Itinerary

The Sad Trail of the Nez Perce Indians

Neil Mangum 16 – 24/25 August 2019

Price per person £3,295.00
Deposit per person £200.00

Of the many shameful episodes of Indian harassment and containment none is more telling than the 1877 flight of the Nez Perce.  Your trip chronologically follows the bands of the Nez Perce as they depart their naturally beautiful homelands in Idaho and are eventually cornered and defeated on the stark plains of northern Montana.


16 August
Depart London Heathrow one internal change in the USA before arriving at Spokane Airport and escorted to your overnight hotel.  You will receive your reading book and instructions for breakfast and departure the next morning.

17 August
Depart for Lewiston, Idaho stopping en route at the Steptoe Battlefield where in 1858 160 American soldiers engaged Indians from three tribes in a running fight until nightfall when the Americans escaped.  Following lunch in Lewiston you will go to the Nez Perce National Historic Park to learn about the Nez Perce and examine the mission site close by.
After visiting Ft. Lapwei you will return to your hotel in Lewiston.

18 August
We will get right to it today with our travels starting with the July 1877 battle at Cottonwood.  Here Chief Joseph fought a series of successful small battles using approximately 150 braves as they covered the retirement of the Nez Perce tribe after the battle of White Bird.  We then head to the remote White Bird battlefield stopping at the Tolo Lake camp en route.  Here we will walk the grounds of the unsuccessful American attack against the Indian camp and you will see the success of the double envelopment that the Indians displayed.  We will then head towards our overnight in Orofino, Idaho following the Southern group of Nez Perce and stopping at Clearwater site of the a successful American army attack, a week after the fight at Cottonwood, against Chief Joseph and Looking Glass in which 600 Americans attacked some 200 braves who defeated still managed to escape after the fight. 

19 August
Today we will follow in the trail of the Nez Perce as they cross Weippe Prairie and Lolo Pass.  The scenery along this ride is breathtaking and you will marvel at the tenacity of the of the Indians and their pursuers when we visit OO Howard's camp, Packers Meadow and Lolo Hot Springs.  We will visit Ft. Fizzle where the Nez Perce successfully evaded a trap set by the local militia and then continue on to our overnight near Lolo. We will enjoy a group lunch and dinner.

20 August
This morning we travel through the Bitterroot Valley en route to the Big Hole battlefield where here, another familiar Civil War name, Colonel John Gibbon assaulted the Nez Perce camp being commanded by Looking Glass.  We will bring our lunch and afterwards walk the battlefield. The fighting was severe with the Indians escaping destruction and retreating through Bannock Pass as Howard continually attempted to cut them off.  We will finish and overnight Rexburg.

21 August
We start our day travelling 10 miles of unpaved road to see the remote but important Camas Meadows battlefield.  Here in late August 1877, Federal cavalry were ambushed and a company was encircled, holding on until reinforcements arrived.  The Indians escaped without casualties.  After lunch we will cross Yellowstone National Park with the Indians capturing tourists from Radersburg, you will see plenty as we pass through but this is not a trip to the park merely an afternoon passing through where we will overnight in Cooke City, Montana.

22 August
General Howard, believing he was losing the scent, called for reinforcements to intercept the Indians' flight.  Civil War names Sam Sturgis and Frederick Benteen, survivor of the Little Big Horn fight came with remnants of the 7th Calvary where they tangled at the Battle of Canyon Creek.  Near present day Billings the Nez Perce turned to the north towards Canada.  The pace of the Nez Perce retreat was such that Howard could not catch them and so at Ryegate he ordered his column to slow in expectation the Indians would slow as well permitting yet another Civil War officer, Nelson Mile's troopers to get in front of the fleeing Indians.  We will close the day at the Reed and Bowles Trading post in Lewistown, Montana.

23 August
The scenery changes dramatically as we enter northern Montana near the Canadian border.  We will move deliberately to Cow Island where the Nez Perce crossed the Missouri River. as elements of the tribe made for Canada, a substantial force lagged behind under Chief Joseph and the US Cavalry finally got ahead of them and their encampment at Bear Paw.  Here after a siege and battle Chief Joseph surrendered.  Our understanding will be enhanced by a visit to the Blaine County Museum.  We will then move to visit Fort Benton and have dinner there before heading to our hotel in Great Falls.  Lunch and dinner is provided. The Nez Perce will have surrendered.

24 August
Depart for your return flight home. Depending on what time you leave Great Falls it might be possible to get you back to Heathrow that evening if not it will be the next day.

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