Colorado War History
relations between the Sioux and the United States on the northern Great Plains had deteriorated substantially (see Dakota War of 1862). Prior to this time, white emigrants passed relatively harmoniously through the area (known scornfully as the Great American Desert) on their way along the California, Mormon, and the Oregon Trails. After 1860, the discovery of gold in the Rockies, as well as the growing westward encroachment of homesteaders across the 100th meridian west, led the Sioux and their related tribes to progressively resist further white use of the area. Especially troublesome from their vantage point was the slicing up of the bison herd by the increasingly heavily used trails, as well as the development of new ones that further sliced the herds. The Colorado War marked the spreading of the trend among the Plains Tribes southward along Rockies, to the area passed by the trails. As a result, the United States Army, by then charged with overseeing the emigration routes, shifted the trails southward along the South Platte across present-day northeastern Colorado, then crossing up to the Laramie Plains along the trail followed by the Overland Stage Line.