The Old Print Shop

Nez Perces War. The,

  • ARTIST: Frenzeny Tavernier

  • PUBLISHER: Published in Harper's Weekly, October 27, 1877.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving with modern handcolor,

    DATE: Oct. 27, 1877.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 13 7/16 x 9 1/8” (341 x 233 mm).

  • DESCRIPTION: 3 scenes: The Nez Perces' State Carriage, Battle of Cannon Creek and The Nez Perces Driving Ponies, plus portraits of 3 Generals: O.O. Howard, N.A. Miles and S.D. Sturgis. <br><br> In 1877 the U.S. government demanded the Nez Perce be put on a reservation, and the tribe refused. The ensuing war reduced their tribal numbers down to one-tenth of its original size and is regarded as one of the most tragic events of the Indian Wars. The Nez Perce were regarded as a peaceful people and had befriended and assisted white people in their region.<br><br> During the war, a small band of the Nez Perce fled eastward, in attempt to ditch the U.S. military and, ultimately, find freedom elsewhere. Chief Joseph was among this group. One of the major battles they faced with the U.S. military occurred in the Big Hole Basin in western Montana. The battle claimed the lives of eighty-nine Nez Perce, mostly women and children fleeing with the warriors, before they retreated. Their course led them through the newly established Yellowstone National Park, where managed to elude the military long enough to change their course northward. Sadly, the tribe was captured after yet another battle near the Bear Paw Mountain in northern Montana, just forty miles from the Canadian border. It was after this battle that Chief Joseph delivered his famous speech, which included the line, “from where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” <br><br> The Nez Perce are one of the 27 Native American tribes affiliated with Yellowstone National Park. <br><br> This engraving depicts the events around the the Battle at Canyon Creek, the second to last battle in the Nez Perce War. It occurred shortly after they left Yellowstone, but before the Battle of Bear Paw. The events surrounding this battle are ultimately what convinced the Nez Perce to flee to Canada; they had been fleeing towards the Crow nation, whom they viewed as allies, only to find they had been betrayed. The Crow had aligned themselves with the U.S. military. <br><br> At the top of the engraving, a group of Nez Perce ride a stagecoach, which they had stolen from a stage station after being seen by white settlers. They had also stole several horses from Joseph M.V. Cochran when they crossed paths in a similar manner. Cochran himself was set free. <br><br> The central image depicts the attack. The Battle of Canyon Creek occurred around noon on September 13, when Crow scouts led the U.S. Cavalry, under Samuel Sturgis, to their location. The Nez Perce had been caught off guard, but their travel camp was largely packed by this point. They fled as quickly as they could. The Nez Perce noted they lost one individual in this battle - Tookleiks - while Sturgis claimed they killed sixteen members of the tribe. The greatest loss in this battle for the Nez Perce were their horses. Forced to leave many of them behind, the battle led to a significant decrease in travel speed, which in turn led to the Battle of Bear Paw and their ultimate defeat on September 30, 1877.


  • CONDITION: Good condition with modern color.

  • REFERENCE: October 27, 1877. p. 842.