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The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  13 reviews
At dawn on January 23, 1870, four hundred men of the Second U.S. Cavalry attacked and butchered a Piegan camp near the Marias River in Montana in one of the worst slaughters of Indians by American military forces in U.S. history. Coming to avenge the murder of their father—a former fur-trader named Malcolm Clarke who had been killed four months earlier by their Piegan moth ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 15th 2014 by Liveright (first published October 7th 2013)
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Along with slavery, the story of U.S.-Indian relations is the singular, defining event of American history. The conflict (martial, political, moral, and cultural) predated slavery and continued long after slavery’s demise. It is an incredibly complex topic – denying easy explanation – which makes it endlessly fascinating to study. Andrew Graybill’s The Red and the White approaches this subject through a case study of three generations of the Clarkes, a mixed-American family. It is an ambitious u ...more
Chaplain Walle
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great account by an historian. He studies a battle in Montana where a very large Indian masicre occured.
An interesting story that focused on the interaction of the early explorers and fur trappers with the native tribes. A surprising amount of intermarriage and polygyny on the frontier. The massacre takes up only one page but it is a sad story all around. A quick read. 3 Stars
Thomas Isern
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beginning this book, I expected a focus on the tragic events on the Marais River, 1870, commonly known as the Baker Massacre. That assault on a Piegan encampment is indeed central to the work, but in the chapters following it, something else interesting unfolds--the story of members of the Clarke family, who individually sought their place as mixed-bloods in a changing Western society. I was particularly taken with the story of John Clarke, the "Man Who Talks Not." Here is what I like most about ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
I cannot give this a positive review. I do not feel that Professor Graybill had enough information to put together this book. It would have worked better as a lengthy article, because even to this day there is still not a whole lot we know about the Clark family, the Piegans, or even the massacre. Much of the book felt like filler. He tends to speculate about what might have happened without sufficient evidence to back up those claims. Sometimes historians are able to make educated guesses but h ...more
Gary Detrick
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Another sad tale of our American expansion westward. Very well written and documented history of the Clark famiy saga. After setting the "stage" at the books beginning, it began to grip me and pull me in. Again, I find it sad that a country supposedly built on Christian principles can have so many people and leaders full of never-ending hate, greed, corruption, and full of "self".
The story surprised me with it's ending narative of John L. Clark which now ads a place on my "bucket list" that I'd
Carol D
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed this historical work. This book tells the life story of Malcolm Clarke, an engineer turned fur trapper for the Hudson Bay Company, who settled in what is now Montana.

It talks about the friendships and intermarriages made between the whites and the Piegan Indian tribe of the area, the battles fought over land, the establishment of forts and their role and unfortunately the ultimate betrayal of the Federal Government against the indigenous people.

The book also covers the children
Gaylord Dold
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graybill, Andrew R. The Red and The White: A Family Saga of The American
West, Liveright Corporation (W.W. Norton), New York, 2013 (338pp.$28.95)

Malcolm Clarke ranched on Prickly Pear Creek, south of Helena, where he ran cattle and lived with his wife, a Piegan Blackfoot Indian named Cutting Off Head Woman, whom Clarke had married while a factor for the American Fur Company working out of Fort Benton on the Missouri River. Also on the ranch in August, 1869, were Clarke’s son Horace and daughter H
Robert B.  B.

Andrew R. Graybill’s “The Red and the White” offers an intriguing account of how a Montana family negotiated the conflict between white settlers and Native Americans that has scarred the history of the American West. Graybill narrates the experiences of Malcolm Clarke and his descendants. In 1844, Clarke, then a trapper, married a Piegan Indian woman named Coth-co-co-na at a lonely fur-trading outpost along the Missouri River. The affectionate union produc
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a biased reader. I was born in Montana and I have been to most of the locales mentioned in this book. Some of my ancestors were in Montana in the 1860’s when Malcolm Clarke was murdered on his ranch. Despite my familiarity with Montana’s geography and history I found much I didn’t know in Andrew Graybill’s excellent family history: The Red and the White starting with the scale of Marias Massacre. I knew of the event but was unaware of the large number of casualties, over two hundred, and the ...more
Rena Jane
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful panoramic view of Montana of the 1850's and the Massacre of Malcolm Clarke. Also, well documented social, political and legal status of mixed Indian-American couples and their children who grew up in that era. ...more
Interesting information delivered in a didactic, professor's monotone. ...more
I can't really rate this as I did not finish it - library book was due. ...more
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