In June 1884, the noted buffalo hunter Gabriel Dumont led a delegation of Métis from the Batoche settlement, in what is now Saskatchewan, to Montana in the United States to search out Louis Riel. He hoped to persuade Riel to lead them as he had in 1869–70 in their demands for the Canadian government to recognize their land claims and other grievances. Riel reluctantly returned to Canada. The situation worsened until March 1885, when a skirmish between Métis and North West Mounted Police at Duck Lake, near Prince Albert, cost seventeen dead on both sides. The government feared a general Indian rising in the West (although only the Cree bands of Poundmaker and Big Bear eventually joined the Métis), and dispatched a force which eventually numbered over five thousand militia, including all four hundred troops of the infant permanent force, to the Northwest via the still-incomplete Canadian Pacific Railway.
Cooke, Owen "James Peters, Military Photography and the Northwest Campaign, 1885." Canadian Military History 9, 1 (2000)