INTRODUCTION: Towards the end of 1874, the Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police, Lieutenant Colonel G. A. French, began preparing an official report upon the operation of the Force which he had commanded for the past year. The Commissioner’s account of the activities of the N.W.M.P. for 1874 was subsequently printed as an official government publication in the Sessional Papers of Canada, or the Blue Books as they were familiarly known at the time. The 1874 report was to be the first of a valuable collection of annual records documenting the history of the unique police force which the Canadian government had started to organize in 1873 to bring law and order to the country’s western frontier. Each year these published reports provided a detailed description of the operations and organization of the N.W.M.P. A typical report consisted of a general statement by the Commissioner of the events of the past year, reports from his subordinate officers commanding the many posts, accounts by the Force’s surgeons and veterinary surgeons on the health of men and animals, as well as tables showing the distribution of the police throughout the West.