The Tragic Path of the Pyramid Lake Indian War

Richard Moreno this week looks at the Pyramid Lake Indian War of 1860, and the geography of the area where the ambush of the army from Carson City took place.

It’s still possible to find the location of Nevada’s most famous war. The terrain, in fact, is the largely the same as described in historical records. The Truckee River winds through narrow, flat river bottomland?now largely used for ranching and recreation. Steep, eroded cliffs and hills rise above the river on both sides.

Standing on one of those hills, adjacent to State Route 446, it’s easy to look down on the site and imagine how it unfolded. One can imagine the fear and anticipation felt by members of the volunteer army as they marched down the center of this gulch, searching for any movement in the deep shadows of the uneven cliffs and hills.

In other words, an ideal place for an ambush.

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