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August 05 , 2009

Sam Steele and the Northwest Rebellion

The Trail of 1885


In the spring of 1885, it appeared that war was about to set the Canadian West aflame. Louis Riel had established a Metis provisional government at Batoche, and the Cree, led by war chief Wandering Spirit, had killed settlers, taken hostages and forced the capitulation of Fort Pitt. Among the forces marshalled to quell the unrest was an elite scouting unit of the Alberta Field Force, led by the charismatic Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police. Aggressive, tenacious and supremely confident, Steele was a seasoned policeman who had earned a reputation for getting the job done.

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Composed of North West Mounted Police, ex-militiamen and savvy cowboys from Calgary, Steele’s Scouts relentlessly pursued the Cree warriors and their prisoners through the western Saskatchewan wilderness, acting as shock troops and often fighting at close quarters. The story of Sam Steele and his contingent is an unforgettable account of the campaign that marked the end of the Wild West on the Canadian prairies.

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