Government Strategies in the West

“And so the issue was drawn: a series of permanent posts from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean or periodic campaigns along the trails to impress and, when necessary, chastise the Indians. . . .

Ultimately, governmental authorities resorted to a number of strategies, often simultaneously, in an attempt to neutralize the Indian threat to overland travel: treaties were negotiated, presents distributed, reservations established, awe-inspiring and/or punitive military expeditions dispatched, roving patrols instituted, military escorts provided. But initially, most persons concerned with this problem shared [the] outlook that a series of military forts was the best approach.”