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Tough Trip Through Paradise: Bear Paw Battlefield

I told [In-who-lise] that I heap savvied Sap-tan, which is what the Nez Perce tongue was called, but I knew better than to tell her I was at the Bear Paws the day Chief Joseph had surrendered. I had been with them when they went as prisoners to Fort Keough and had helped to drive their large band of horses along with them; the horses the Nez Perce never got back. I had seen her people driven on flatboats in the cold like cattle to be floated down the Yellowstone to Fort Buford without any shelter from the storms. (127)

Garcia, Andrew. Tough Trip through Paradise. Eugene, Oregon: Comstock Publishing, 1976.

About the Book

Tough Trip Through Paradise

Tough Trip through Paradise, 1878-1879 narrates what happened when he established a trading company centered on the Musselshell River. As Garcia tells it, he spent the next nine years living the life of an Indian, primarily with the Pend d’Oreilles. The emotional highlight of his memoir is his return to the Big Hole Battlefield with In-who-lise, his Nez Perce wife, who was wounded during the battle and lost her sister and father.

Tough Trip remains controversial because the book was published posthumously after extensive editing by Bennett Stein. For a detailed overview of Garcia’s manuscripts and Stein’s handling of those materials, see this presentation by archivist Kathryn Kramer at the Montana Historical Society.

For further information, see Diane Smith’s “Tough Trip to Publication: Tough Trip through Paradise and the Beautiful Wives of Andrew Garcia,” pp. 3-21 in the Winter 2008 issue of Montana The Magazine of Western History.

While the settings in Tough Trip through Paradise, 1878-1879 clearly reference actual locales, it is understood that the book—including its places—is ultimately the product of the author’s imagination. The intent of this literary map is to enrich the reading experience by interpreting those places, not to render them literally or definitively.

About the Author

Andrew Garcia

Andrew Garcia was born in El Paso, Texas, on September 13, 1855. He first came to Montana at the age of 13 to help his uncle run a herd of pack mules. He returned to Montana Territory in 1876 to work as a civilian packer and herder for the Seventh Cavalry. And so it was that in 1877 he witnessed the Nez Perce surrender in the Bears Paw Mountains.

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