Bound to Have Blood


Bound to Have Blood

Frontier Newspapers and the Plains Indian Wars

Hugh J. Reilly

184 pages
5 illustrations


October 2011


$15.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Plains Indian Wars were always front-page news in frontier newspapers, and it was to such local newspapers that the public invariably turned for information about the fighting. The vivid, colorful accounts there captivated the nation—and in hindsight reveal much about the attitudes and prejudices of the public and the press.

Bound to Have Blood takes readers back to the late nineteenth century to show how newspaper reporting influenced attitudes about the conflict between the United States and Native Americans. Emphasizing primary sources and eyewitness accounts, Bound to Have Blood focuses on eight watershed events between 1862 and 1891: the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, the Sand Creek massacre, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the flight of the Nez Perce, the Cheyenne outbreak, the trial of Standing Bear, and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 and its aftermath. Each chapter examines an individual event, analyzing the balance and accuracy of the newspaper coverage and how the reporting of the time reinforced stereotypes about Native Americans.

Author Bio

Hugh J. Reilly is an associate professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is a member of the university’s Native American studies faculty. He is the coauthor of Historic Omaha: An Illustrated History of Omaha and Douglas County and Father Flanagan of Boys Town: A Man of Vision.


“[Bound to Have Blood] offers a lot of colorful history and some great old photographs.”—Omaha World-Herald

"Reilly fleshes out the broad strokes of interaction between natives and settlers in the middle of North America from the 1860s to the 1890s by drawing on the articles and opinions in the local newspapers where the wars were being fought."—Reference & Research Book News

"In Bound to Have Blood, Reilly provides a good overview of the press coverage of the Plains Indian Wars and thus helps readers understand how this coverage influenced American reactions to the Indians. . . . Reilly's study provides an excellent account of how the local newspapers covered these events and shows that reactions were not always the same because of differences in local opinions and circumstances."—Carol Sue Humphrey, Historian

"Bound to Have Blood should find a place in classrooms where instructors wish to offer their students access to the vitriolic rhetoric of Indian hating that appears in nineteenth- century frontier newspapers and the political jockeying that lay behind it."—Phillip H. Round, SAIL

"This is a welcome addition to Indian studies that documents an important feature of the history of the American West."—James W. Parins, American Indian Culture and Research Journal

Table of Contents

Introduction: Frontier Newspapers
1. Great Sioux Uprising: August-December 1862
2. Sand Creek Massacre: November 1864
3. Fort Laramie Treaty: 1868
4. The Little Big Horn Campaign: January-July 1876
5. The Flight of the Nez Perce: March-October 1877
6. The Cheyenne Outbreak: September 1878-January 1879
7. The Standing Bear Trial: April-May 1879
8. Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee: 1890-1891
9. Closing the Circle

Also of Interest