• LOCATION 99 | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost

    Captain Jack's Stronghold

    You should be parked in a parking space facing a small hill, with walkways leading over the hill. This is the entrance to Captain Jack's Stronghold. It is both a significant and sacred place, and a place you should definitely take some time to explore. As you walk through the archeological site, there are a couple of things that might be interesting for you to look for.

    Once inside the Stronghold, look for the stacked rocks we've talked about that helped guide the Modoc, and are some of the telltale remains of the war. They range from just a rock or two placed on an outcrop, to full walls and enclosures. The most obvious are c-shaped structures called picket posts that the US Army built after the second attack on the Stronghold when the Modoc eventually retreated. Also look for the big wall built by the Modoc around Captain Jack's cave - though some of it was destroyed by the army to make the nearby picket posts. And my personal favorite spot, and one that I believe probably held spiritual significance for the Modoc, was a view of Mount Shasta in the far southern distance. It's also a little scary to think of just how delicate all this rock is, and how easily the legacy could be damaged.

    While you're down there, let it sink in what it must have been like to spend a winter in there, with temperatures dipping into the teens or below. One story that I like is that of Edward Fox, a reporter for the New York Herald during the Modoc War who actually made it into the Stronghold looking for interviews. He interviewed top warriors and ended up spending the night in Captain Jack's sister's cave, sharing matting with four Modoc men and three women! Even with all the human warmth, Fox said he was still cold and refused to stay another night.

    Please now go explore the Stronghold and I'll be waiting for you here. Press pause now and then hit play when you're ready to continue.

    Welcome back. Curious to know how how the Peace Commission and the entire Modoc War turned out? Then let's go - we've got one more stop to make on this tour. When it's clear, reverse out of the parking space. Keeping Captain Jack's stronghold on your left, continue to the main road. At the main road, turn left, so that you're traveling the same way we've been going.

The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost