Elko Field Office
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DATE: July 6, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Brown (775) 753-0386
e-mail: Mike_Brown@nv.blm.gov


The Summer 2004 History in the Park - Stories from the West continues with a
presentation on law, order, and violence on the California Trail on Tuesday, July 13th, 7:00 p.m.
on the lawn in the City Park immediately behind the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko.
The talk, entitled “We had the Law in our Hands: Law and Disorder on the California
Trail,” will be given by noted Western American Historian Will Bagley.
Bagley described his talk, “Nineteenth-century America was a violent place, and the trails
to Oregon and California saw more than their share of murder, pillaging, and assaults. However,
citizens of the young Republic took a long legal tradition and profound commitment to justice
with them on the way west and imposed strict rules on their parties—and enforced them. The
research of historian Robert Munkres has revealed another remarkable fact about violence on the
Oregon and California Trails: most of it was committed by white criminals. This talk will
examine causes of violence on the trails west and how westering Americans dealt with it.”
Will Bagley is an independent writer and historian. His column, HISTORY MATTERS,
appears every Sunday in The Salt Lake Tribune. He is a prize-winning editor of eight books on
the American West and is series editor of the fifteen-volume Arthur H. Clark Company’s
documentary history KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. The
University of Oklahoma Press published his book The Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young
and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows in 2002. Mr. Bagley lives in Salt Lake and is working
on books about the Oregon-California Trail and Mormon-Indian relations.
There will be a book signing in the Museum following Bagley’s presentation.
The Summer 2004 History in the Park - Stories from the West program is a free lecture
series reflecting the wealth of history of Nevada and the American West. Several of the talks
focus on stories of the California National Historic Trail.
Sponsored by the Northeastern Nevada Museum, Nevada Humanities Council, and the
Bureau of Land Management Elko Field Office, all talks begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held
behind the Museum in the City Park. In the event of inclement weather, the talks will be moved
indoors to the Museum Theater. All talks are free and the public is encouraged to attend. Bring
a lawn chair or blanket for open seating on the grass.
For more information about the series, contact the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko,
(775) 738-3418.


Last updated: 03-26-2015