Smith brings to life the story of Fort Lewis located in southwestern Colorado. And what a story it is. Originally located on the banks of the San Juan River, near the Pagosa hot springs, the fort proved too isolated when the Indian Wars were heating up in 1879.
Within a year, the U.S. Army moved the post west near present-day Durango, along the La Plata River. With the exception of the Milk River and Meeker Massacres, the army of Fort Lewis managed a fairly peaceful existence among the settlers and Indians. Smith also notes that Ute Chief Ouray played a significant role in keeping the peace as well. This is a great story of the day-to-day soldier’s existence, the officer’s role, the women and their duties, the hog ranches and the sometimes deadly duties these brave men encountered. —Linda Wommack