In the summer of 1874, the U.S. Army launched a major campaign against the Southern Plains Indians in an attempt to permanently remove the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians from the region and move them onto the reservations established in western Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. This campaign, fought largely in the Texas Panhandle, is known today as the Red River War.

Cattle barons like Charles Goodnight established large ranches in the Texas Panhandle within a year after the battles ended. Roads and railroads soon crossed the region. With the influx of new settlers and the establishment of towns across the plains, the locations of many of the battle sites of the Red River War were quickly lost or forgotten.

Recognizing the historical significance of the battle sites, the Archeology Division of the Texas Historical Commission (THC) initiated the Red River War Battle Sites Project in 1998, aided by a grant from the National Park Service's American Battlefields Protection Program. The project had three purposes: to precisely locate and document the more significant sites; to nominate sites for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places; and to evaluate each of the sites for heritage-tourism potential.

Download the 2010 travel guide, Red River War of 1874-1875, Clash of Cultures in the Texas Panhandle (PDF) or travel through time with our Red River War mobile tour.

Read more about Texas military heritage.

Read more about the Red River War Battle Sites Project in the Handbook of Texas Online.

Texas Beyond History – Learn more about the Red River War from a collaboration between the THC and The University of Texas at Austin.

Archeological Spotlight Links