The story of the Northwest Rebellion is synonymous with Métis leader Louis Riel, whose allies joined together in 1885 to face the military forces of the Canadian government, engaging in a civil war on the Canadian Prairies. A lesser-known element of the story is the gripping tale of river warfare along the banks of rivers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.
In Prairie Warships: River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion, historian Gordon E. Tolton tells of the follies and triumphs of a small prairie war that was fought using steamboats, ferries and other river craft. This was an adventure experienced at water level by warriors and soldiers on all sides—European settlers, First Nations and Métis.
Richly illustrated and thoroughly researched, Prairie Warships takes readers to an era when the frontier was under siege, when prairie towns were ports of call, when a region's lifeblood depended on transport and when the mood of the river determined the fate of a nation.
"This is an excellent book, well worth reading. The author not only tells the story of the rebellion, but provides a succinct account of river craft in the Canadian West."