How often were wagon trains attacked by Indians?
It’s hard to give a precise number because records are sparse. Surprisingly, considering how many wagons went West, very few faced attacks by the Indians. A well-led and disciplined train was more likely to get through without problems. The opposite was often true for small trains where discipline was lacking. The goal was to reach California, Utah or Oregon, but many were forced to turn back because their animals played out or they just gave up. Some decided to stop in Colorado or other territories and make their homes.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at email@example.com.