Thunder Rolling in The Mountains

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Track Listing

  1. Chief Joseph’s theme (fanfare and prelude)
  2. The Beautiful Wallowa Valley
  3. Journey through the Bitterroot Mountains and Targhee Pass
  4. The Council of Chiefs decision to journey northward to Canada
  5. Nightfall at Yellowstone River, Wyoming Territory
  6. The Clarks Fork route to Canyon Creek
  7. The final journey from Canyon Creek to the last confrontation at Bear Paw Encampment, Montana Territory- Chief Joseph’s surrender speech

Liner Notes

The biography: “War Chief Joseph” by Helen Addison Howard, assisted by Dan L. McGrath/Claxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho. Idaho State Historical Library, Boise, Idaho. Mr. Joseph Black Eagle, Nez Perce Reservation, Lapwai, Idaho. University of California at Los Angles and the Cincinnati Public Library. Special Thanks to the editorial staff for the “Great Chiefs”, Time Life Books, Inc.

October 5, 1877
Bear Paw Encampment
Montana Territory

This is the story of Hin-mut-too-yah-lat-kekht (Thunder Rolling in The Mountains), known to the whites as young Joseph, Nez Perce Chief, diplomat and warrior. His story is the tragic and epic struggle of the American Indians who were relentlessly, fraudulently, and treacherously dispossessed of their hunting, fishing, and grazing grounds to satisfy the white man’s greed for more land. The conflict, in which Joseph was forced to engage against the whites, know as the Nez War of 1877, was the last important contest between the Indians and the United States Army. Dr. Cyrus T. Brady has called Joseph’s struggle “the story of the bitterest injustice toward a weak but independent people to which the United States ever set its hand.”

Few men in world’s history have fought for the cause of liberty as long as this Nez Perce chief. For 33 years from 1871 until 1904 Chief Joseph carried the burdens of his people and used every resource to win what he believed to be justice for his tribe. He tried every kind of peaceful means to gain his ends. Like Ghandi, he pursued a policy of non-co-operation, and when this failed he unwillingly sought recourse to arms.

Throughout the summer of 1877, Americans from coast to coast read with increasing awe and pity, the newspaper coverage of one of history’s greatest epics of group courage and endurance. Five bands of Nez Perce Indian, totaling about 700 men, women and children had fled from their homeland in the Pacific Northwest and were trying to find a refuge form the US Army-perhaps among friendly tribes on the plains, perhaps in Canada. Anywhere would do. During their zigzagging 1,700 mile flight, The Nez Perce were constantly pursued and attacked by vastly superior government forces, which they repeatedly defeated, fought off or somehow outwitted. They finally surrendered; exhausted on the morning of October 5, 1877- 40 miles form the border. At this time, before a translator and recording officer, Joseph spoke words that would soon touch the heart of Americans everywhere but they failed to win acceptance for the basic principle that Joseph voiced; “All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. We are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people and all people should have equal rights upon it.”

- An unknown US Army official, October, 1888, Montana Territory

Production Credits

United Media Productions, Ltd.
A Northwestern Wilderness Production
Thunder Rolling in The Mountains

Originally recorded at UMP Studios, Cincinnati, September, 1993.

Re-orchestrated and re-mastered at UMP Studios, April, 2006, Austin, TX.

©1993 United Media Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.