Sioux Move to the Laramie Plain

This was momentous: the Sioux were moving into Laramie Plain. It is said, on evidence not quite conclusive, that they were moved to do so by an invitation of Sublette & Campbell’s to migrate here, the preceding summer. The idea was to entice as many Company customers as possible from the established, very profitable Sioux post on the Missouri, Fort Pierre, and attach them to the Opposition’s Fort Laramie. But Fort Laramie had passed to the Company a month or so before Parker and Whitman got there, so if the Opposition really were responsible for the Oglala migration they had merely redistributed some of the trust’s trade. But there were Sioux on the Platte now and they would never abandon it. And this destroyed the structure of international relationships, producing a turbulence which was to last till the tribes were no longer capable of making war. Their inveterate enemies, the Pawnees, were now straight east of them, their inveterate enemies, the Crows, straight north. The reaches where Fontenelle met them were traditionally Cheyenne and Arapaho country. But the country just to the west – Laramie Plain, with its vast buffalo herds and its crossroads, the Laramie Mountains, the Medicine Bow mountains – had always been a kind oJ Kentucky or Rhineland. No tribe quite claimed it, no tribe dominated it, many tribes came there to hunt. Snakes and Bannocks from the west, Utes from the southwest, Cheyennes and Arapahos, Crows, Pawnees hunted buffalo here, raided one an• other, and made prairie truces so that they could trade. Now the Sioux, a populous, arrogant, and bellicose people, were going to try to establish a protectorate over it. In the service of orderly government and a peaceful condominium they warred here with nearly everyone for a generation. The Reverend Mr. Parker found