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Bear River Massacre Site

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)


Located northwest of Preston, Idaho, the Bear River Massacre Site was the location of a major confrontation between California Volunteers and the Shoshone. The massacre took place on January 29, 1863. The death toll for the Shoshone is placed anywhere between 384 to as high as 490. The area of the site spans approximately 1,691 acres. In 1990, the site of the massacre became a National Historical Landmark. The Shoshone acquired part of the site in 2008 with plans to erect a monument in honor of the fallen Shoshone.

Monument constructed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers at the site
Sign at the entrance of the Bear River Massacre Site


The attack on the Shoshone at Bear River was led by Colonel P.E. Connor and is also known as the Massacre at Boa Ogoi. Connor was called into action as a result of Shoshone aggression against the white farmers who were taking up the resources of the area. The winter that year was very harsh on the Shoshone, and the sharing of food by the settlers had ceased as the Shoshone were blamed various misfortunes of the time. As he marched his troops towards the settlement at Bear River, Connor let it be known he intended to take no prisoners.

Connor led a charge against entrenched Shoshone forces, resulting in most of the twenty-three casualties for the California Volunteers. The battle began at 6:00 am, and by 8:00 am the Shoshone had run out of ammunition. After this point, the battle turned into the massacre it is remembered for today. The troops under Connor began to mow down the now largely unarmed population without regard for women or children. They then proceeded to burn down the entire village and make off with 175 horses belonging to the Shoshone. The massacre produced more casualties than any other against Native Americans, even more than Wounded Knee.


"Bear River Massacre", accessed on November 20, 2014. "In Remembrance of the Bear River Massacre", accessed on November 20, 2014.

  • Military History
  • Native American History
This location was created on 2014-11-20 by Walker Bennett .   It was last updated on 2015-03-09 by Noel Diem .

This entry has been viewed 705 times within the past year


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