January 29, 1863, is one of the darkest days in the history of the American West. That morning, United States Army troops slaughtered some 250 to 350 Shoshoni men, women, and children on the banks of the Bear River in what is now southeastern Idaho. No other encounter between the army and Indian tribes in the West approaches that massacre in terms of Indian blood spilled, brutal savagery, or body count.
Just released from Five Star Publishing is my latest book, And the River Ran Red—A Novel of the Massacre at Bear River.
Earlier, I wrote a nonfiction book about this tragic event, Massacre at Bear River: First, Worst, Forgotten. I have also written about it for magazines, short stories, in poems, and, with Western singer and songwriter Brenn Hill, song lyrics.
This short novel—as with the fictional stories, poetry, and song—allowed me to build upon the known facts and consider the thoughts, feelings, and words of those involved in all facets of the massacre. So, while the novel is fiction, it presents truths of a different kind as it both hews closely to the facts and expands upon the emotional color of the times.
I hope many will read And the River Ran Red for the sole reason that it may help spread knowledge of, and horror about, what may well be the greatest of all tragedies in the history of the American West, as well as an appreciation for the people of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation who press on with determination and triumph still today.