These rolling hills and coulees are the site of the last battle of the 1877 Nez Perce War. For the Nez Perce this was the end of a 1,170-mile journey, after many successful skirmishes along the way. Canada was only 40 miles farther, its mountains visible on the horizon. Squeezed by treaties into an ever smaller territory, the Nez Perce hoped for a new home across the border.
This was not a typical war, soldier against warrior. The Nez Perce were trying to relocate an entire people. In the camp below were 500 women, children, and elderly, with fewer than 100 warriors. Here the U.S. Army, with 400 troops and 50 scouts, was finally able to halt the Nez Perce flight.
This battlefield was the end of the campaign but not the end of the story. The White Bird band escaped to Canada and lived with Sitting Bull's band of Lakota at Fort Walsh. The rest of the Nez Perce were exiled, first to Kansas and later to Oklahoma. Today many Nez Perce live in or near their original homeland. Their culture lives on.