Virtual Guidebook to Lassen Volcanic Park and the Modoc Plateau
Captain Jacks Stronghold
Lava Beds National Monument California


In 1872, to avoid forcible removal from their traditional homelands on the Lost River, a portion of the Modoc Indian tribe fled here, to the inhospitable lava beds. Despite winter cold and minimal resources, they managed to survive. Even more remarkably they held out, utilizing the natural fortifications of the lava flow, against a much larger and better armed force of US Army cavalry and volunteers.

Captain Jack's Stronghold, named for Kintpuash, the Indian leader, is a fascinating place. A loop trail tells the amazing, sad story. You can trace the cracks, ridges, and caves where the drama played out in 1872-73.

This was the first, maybe the only, Indian war closely covered by the mass media, with reporters from eastern and European newspapers and magazines. Pioneering western photographer Edweard Muybridge was also on the scene.



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The lava beds form a natural fortification at Captain Jack's Stronghold

(September 23, 2006)


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Beginning of the self-guiding history trail into the lava beds

(July 20, 2011)


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Massive cracks in the lava provided pathways protected from enemy observatiion and fire

(July 20, 2011)


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A few high peaks of lava provided observation points

(July 20, 2011)


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It was in this shallow cave that Captain Jack and his family took shelter during the siege

(July 20, 2011)


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A Native American medicine pole

(July 20, 2011)


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This is the view that the besieging soldiers had of their hidden foe in the lava beds

(July 20, 2011)


Next Locality: Devils Homestead Lava Flow