In March 1878, Nathan Meeker was appointed as Indian Agent of the White River Ute Reservation in Colorado. A follower of Charles Fourier, Meeker was a strong advocate of cooperative farming. In 1870 he helped form an agricultural colony in Colorado and it was hoped that Meeker would be able to pass on his knowledge on farming to the Utes.
Meeker upset the Utes by trying to force them to become farmers. In September, 1879, Meeker called in the army to deal with the troublemakers. On 29th September, 1879, Chief Douglas and a group of warriors killed Meeker and seven other members of the agency. This became known as the Meeker Massacre.
The Utes also attacked Major Thomas Thornburgh and his troops heading for the White River Agency. In the fighting Thornburgh and nine of his men were killed. After the arrival of reinforcements the Utes were evicted from Colorado and placed on a reservation in Utah.