Relations Between Paiute and Whites in Nevada

Relations between Indians and whites had never been good in Nevada. The first recorded incident of the cruelty of whites venturing into Paiute country was in August 1832 on the Humboldt River when a mountain man named Joe Meek shot and killed a Shoshone Indian for no reason. When asked if the Indian had stolen anything, Meek supposedly replied, “No, but he looked as if he was going to.” Shoot first, ask questions later was the standard practice for whites dealing with Indians in Nevada. The year after Joe Meek shot an Indian for looking like he might steal something, members of another expedition shot dozens of Indians (some writers claim as many as seventy-five) without provocation, also along the Humboldt River. Three decades of wanton violence against Indians in Nevada preceded the= Pyramid Lake Indian War of 1860. In addition, white encroachment in Nevada was wiping out pinion nuts. Starvation was a real issue in the spring of 1860.