The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Conquest of Apacheria. By Dan L. Thrapp. Norman (Univer-
sity of Oklahoma Press), 1967. Pp. xvi+4o5. Illustrations, bib-
liography, index. $6.95.
The Apache wars constitute one of the most exciting chapters
in the history of the Southwest. For over one hundred years, the
Spaniards wrestled unsuccessfully with the Apache (a Zufii word for
enemy), then passed on to the Mexicans the frustrations and hate
this struggle had generated. Early American contacts with the Apaches
were frequently amicable, but by the late 185o's the increase of pros-
pectors, soldiers, and settlers in the Southwest presaged trouble. In
the book under review here, Dan L. Thrapp, religion editor for the
Los Angeles Times and author of Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts (1964),
picks up the story during the 186o's and describes perceptively the
role played by the United States Army in conquering the Apache. The
book is drawn primarily from standard works, is traditional in ap-
proach, and despite its inclusive title focuses generally on Arizona
Territory. However, Thrapp has dredged up considerable detail on
personalities and events, and as a result his account is the freshest,
most convenient summary of the Army's twenty-year contest with the
Apache yet to appear.
The first part of the book surveys the American intrusion into
Apacheland, then focuses on military expeditions against hostile
Apaches (and Walapais) in the Prescott country during the late 186o's.
Nothing is said about the campaigns initiated at Camp Bowie. By the
early 187o's the scene shifts south of the Gila to the exploits of Lieu-
tenant Howard Gushing and the tragedy at Camp Grant (Whitman is
deservedly upgraded). The Howard-Cochise meeting receives only
honorable mention. With the arrival of George Crook in Arizona in
1871, the story settles to a measured pace. Pack trains were organized,
Apache scouts enlisted, and the grinding campaigns north of the Gila
begun. The author has a good eye for terrain, and his descriptions of
trail conditions and skirmishes are excellent. Crook emerges relent-
less, but humane and just.
The second part of the book centers on the outbreaks from the
sprawling San Carlos Reservation in eastern Arizona. Thrapp de-
scribes the empire building of agent John P. Clum, the heated chase
after Victorio, Nana's paralyzing raid, and the battle of Cibicu
Creek. With Crook's return to Arizona from the North Plains, the
drama revolves around the oft told Geronimo campaigns of the mid-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 31, 2014.