Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, the Sioux, and the Panic of 1873

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2006 - History - 380 pages
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In 1869, Jay Cooke, the brilliant but idiosyncratic American banker, decided to finance the Northern Pacific, a transcontinental railroad planned from Duluth, Minnesota, to Seattle. M. John Lubetkin tells how Cooke’s gamble reignited war with the Sioux, rescued George Armstrong Custer from obscurity, created Yellowstone Park, pushed frontier settlement four hundred miles westward, and triggered the Panic of 1873.

Staking his reputation and wealth on the Northern Pacific, Cooke was soon whipsawed by the railroad’s mismanagement, questionable contracts, and construction problems. Financier J. P. Morgan undermined him, and the Crédit Mobilier scandal ended congressional support. When railroad surveyors and army escorts ignored Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s warning not to enter the Yellowstone Valley, Indian attacks—combined with alcoholic commanders—led to embarrassing setbacks on the field, in the nation’s press, and among investors.

Lubetkin’s suspenseful narrative describes events played out from Wall Street to the Yellowstone and vividly portrays the soldiers, engineers, businessmen, politicians, and Native Americans who tried to build or block the Northern Pacific.

  

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Contents

Gods Chosen Instrument
3
The Northern Pacific Must Be Built
15
Free from Fatigue
26
The Buffalo Will Dwindle Away
43
Knee Deep in Mud
52
No System Observed
65
Stop Firing at Me
80
The Army of the Glendive
93
Under the Whiskey Curse
187
All Down There Are Killed
241
Strike Up Garry Owen
253
We Do Not Anticipate Any Trouble
268
Get Out Gentlemen Get Out
283
Ho Hechetu It Is Well
294
Lt Edward J McClernands Account of the Rescue of the 1871 Western Yellowstone Survey
301
Notes
305

The Fear of Red Skins
114
The Battle of Poker Flat
131
Falstaffs Ragamuffins
148
20000 Hostile Indians
162
Looks Like War
175
Bibliography
341
Acknowledgments
365
Index
369
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

M. John Lubetkin is a retired cable television executive and the author of Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, the Sioux, and the Panic of 1873, winner of the Little Big Horn Associates' John M. Carroll Award (Book of the Year) and a Spur Award for Best Historical Non-fiction from the Western Writers of America.

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