During the Modoc War, Captain Jack's band settled here following the Battle of Lost River, and held off a United States Army force outnumbering them by as much as 10 to 1 for several months. The lava beds made an outstanding stronghold for the Modocs because of the rough terrain, rocks that could be used in fortification, and irregular pathways to evade pursuers.
In the First Battle of the Stronghold, January 17, 1873, the 50 or so Modoc warriors defeated an Army force of over 300 men, killing 35 and wounding several others, while suffering no casualties. During the Second Battle of the Stronghold, April 15 - 17, the reinforced Army of over six hundred men captured the Modoc spring and cut of their route to Tule Lake, forcing the Modoc to flee when their water supplies ran out. After fleeing the Stronhold, the band of Modoc splintered, and the last group, including Captain Jack, was captured on June 1, 1873.