In May 1873, the Parliament of Canada established a central police force. One hundred and fifty recruits were sent west to Manitoba. The new police force gradually acquired the name North-West Mounted Police (NWMP). In July 1874, the 275 mounted police officers marched west, headed for southern Alberta, where American whisky traders were operating among the Aboriginal people.
The North West Mounted Police was formed in 1873-74 to rid the Prairies of whiskey traders and to establish good relations with the First Nations. The immediate cause for the new force was the Cypress Hills Massacre. On June 1, 1873, a group of drunken American wolf hunters opened fire on a group of Assiniboine people, killing at least 20. This justified the federal government's creation of the police force to prevent the Canadian West from emulating the disorder in the American Wild West.