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Indian Wars

Indian Wars

By 1877, the Nez Perce leader, Chief Joseph, had become disgusted by the broken treaty promises of the US Government. Rather than continue to fight a superior force, he decided to join Sitting Bull in Canada. In just over 3 months Joseph led his 700 Nez Perce, 500 of which were women, old men and children, approximately 1500 miles, from what is now Oregon to Montana, traversing some of the roughest terrain in North America on their little Appaloosas. The US Cavalry pursued but could not catch the Nez Perce ponies.

Thinking he was already in Canada, Chief Joseph stopped to rest his people. It was only then that the cavalry could close in and force Joseph to surrender - only 40 miles from the Canadian border.

Knowing it was their remarkable Appaloosas that nearly had nearly let the Nez Perce escape, the cavalry confiscated all they could catch and auctioned them off. A bounty was paid on the heads of any Appaloosas that had escaped and hundreds more were hunted and destroyed. The cavalry so feared the Appaloosa as a weapon that a federal law existed until 1935, prohibiting the breeding of Appaloosa to Appaloosa. Nearly all the Nez Perce surviving stock was outcrossed generation after generation until the original mountain horse became a lost breed.

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