Nevada deserts frightened outsiders, whether Spanish, Mexican, or Euro-American. All tried to avoid the area of hurry through it. The Southern Paiute people felt the impact of the arrival of these newcomers, but since routes of travel generally followed streams and rivers, the Valley of Fire remained completely unknown.
For about 150 years, beginning about 1700 AD, Southern Paiute camps were raided by Spanish soldiers, Mexicans and New Mexicans, Americans, and even other Indians, armed with guns and mounted on horses. By the time American explorers arrived in the 1840s, the Nuwuvi had learned not to greet outsiders, but hide from them. The land looked empty. Settlers began to move in and take over the land.