More Violence in Whoop-Up Country:
Meanwhile, in the early 1870's, the Whoop-Up country lawlessness continued. A short and bitter war broke out between the American wolfers and whiskey traders. The wolfers built Spitzee post for protection. They organized the "Spitzee cavalry" and made plans to drive the traders out of the country. But their efforts failed. They compromised and then continued their usual activities. The whiskey trade continued to flourish, and large profits were made.
Reports of lawlessness, violence, and the damaging effects of whiskey on the Natives reached the Canadian government.
So in 1870 and 1872 official reports were prepared and made to the government. Among other things, the 1872 report said that 88 Blackfeet had died in drunken brawls in the past year. Both reports recommended a well equipped mounted force to police Whoop-Up country. In May of 1873, an Act was prepared by the government to begin putting together a police force.
The Cypress Hills Massacre:
In June of 1873, a group of Wolfers had their horses stolen by some Cree. The Wolfers followed the tracks to the Cyprus hills, but lost the trail. They went to a trading post and began drinking. A band of Assiniboine, who were camped nearby, had traded for whiskey and were also drinking heavily throughout the afternoon.
After one of the whiskey traders claimed he saw his stolen horse near the Native camp, a group went out of the trading post with plans to harass the Natives. They stood in a well protected breast-high coulee which gave a clear view of the Natives. Many of these men were hardened ex-soldiers who believed that killing Natives was justified. At some point shots were fired. Twenty-two Natives died.
Now there was an even greater need for the police force.
to Part 4: The Mounted Police Head West.