The events here at Fort Fizzle brought citizen volunteers shoulder to shoulder with Army regulars. It was, however, an uncomfortable alliance. The Army regulars viewed volunteers as a disorganized, undependable mob looking for thrills and booty. The volunteers thought soldiers were illiterate immigrants, drunks and shiftless Easterners unable to hold a job.
Upon hearing of the imminent arrival of the Nez Perce, the Governor issued an emergency call for citizen volunteers. Missoula's newspaper ran the plea, " HELP! HELP! COME RUNNING! " Scores responded, coming from nearby communities. Leading the volunteers were their " officers", elected in democratic fashion based on prior military experience and local reputation.