Pocatello truly deserves to be called a railroad town, since it is located at the junction of two railways; the Utah Northern and the Oregon Short Line. The townsite was purchased from the Indians of the Fort Hall reservation, and the town was incorporated in 1889.
Chief Pocatello, called “Buffalo Robe” by his people, was leader of a band of Shoshone Indians. The Shoshonis traveled throughout southeastern Idaho and into northern Utah and Nevada seeking big game, salmon, camas, and wild grain. They rode into the Great Plains every year to hunt buffalo.
Chief Pocatello’s group camped near the City of Rocks in the summers, where they had several run-ins with pioneers on the California Trail. Armed attacks by Indians against wagon trains were uncommon, though the Indians would often try to take horses and livestock from the travelers. In 1860, Buffalo Robe’s band raided an emigrant party and cleaned them out, leaving them with not much more than the clothes on their backs. The U.S. Army had to escort California-bound wagons though southeast Idaho for a time in the early 1860’s to protect against attacks by Indians.
Chief Pocatello and his warriors carried out several more raids,but finally the chief decided to take his people to the Fort Hall reservation. He knew that the Army was capable of inflicting great suffering if the Shoshonis persisted in their defiance. Always an advocate for his people, he encouraged the Shoshonis to learn farming from the Mormons. Buffalo Robe died in 1884, and received a funeral befitting a revered chief. And the townspeople of Pocatello named the city in his honor.

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