On February 26, 1860 a large group of white settlers attacked Wiyot Indian camps in Humboldt County, California. Hundreds of the Indians were killed—mostly old men, women and children since the younger men were away at the time. The reason: allegedly the Wiyot had been rustling cattle, although that claim was never proven. Nobody was ever arrested in connection with the incident.
Newspaperman Bret Harte, later known for his short stories, deplored the massacre in a series of editorials. He was forced to flee the area after receiving numerous death threats.