From the cattleman in the north, to the little Duckwater Shoshone tribe in the center of the state, to the governor's office, the mood in Nevada, and in neighboring Utah, was jubilant today.
"A tremendous victory," Gov. Robert List was saying in local news bulletins, not one hour after President Reagan announced to the nation that he had scotched the Pentagon's plans to move 100 missiles among 1,000 shelters in Nevada and Utah. "A very long and very difficult chapter in Nevada history has been closed," he said.
"I found out just before I was heading to a funeral, and it made it kind of hard to be sad," said Paul Bottari, head of the Nevada Cattleman's Association, which had brought its own suit against the plan. "I feel very, very, very good."
And at the Duckwater Shoshone Reservation near Battle Mountain, where they have long opposed the plan, tribal chairman Jerry Millet reacted with actions, not words. Upon hearing the news, at 11 a.m., he gave the workers on the reservation the afternoon off.
The struggle against the MX missile plans, a struggle that began in 1979 when Jimmy Carter proposed shuttling 200 missiles among 4,600 sites in what bitter Nevadans referred to as a no-win "shell game," is over.
It is a fascinating victory, having brought together such disparate forces as cattlemen, environmentalists, conservatives, native Americans and the Mormon church.
It has been a grass-roots struggle, in which ranchers donated steers to raise funds, and a political struggle, in which a Reagan intimate, Sen. Paul Laxalt -- whose father, people in these parts note, was a sheep man, a lover of the land -- openly opposed the president's plans for installing the MX in Nevada.
It has been a religious struggle, in which the Mormon church, considered by many to be hawkish and pro-military, stunned the nation by proclaiming its feeling against the arms race and the MX.
And finally, though there are those in the business community who are disappointed today, it seems to have been a victory of the majority. In a referendum in the last election, 67 percent of those polled in eight counties in Nevada opposed the missile, compared with 32 percent who favored it. A more recent postcard survey by List put opposition as over 75 percent.
"It's a victory for the people," said anti-MX activist Bill Vincent, editor of the newsletter of the Great Basin MX Alliance, an umbrella groups of MX opponents. And though that is not a new statement in political circles, the figures, in this case, seem to back him up.
The Great Basin is the section between the Sierra Nevadas and the Rocky Mountains, an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania, in which the Pentagon had planned to put most of the silos.
Objections varied with the inhabitants.
Among the Indians--and there are 23 tribes in Nevada alone--there were cultural objections. The land, they maintained, was sacred. "You don't destroy the earth," says Janet Moose, coordinator of the Native Nevadans for Political Education and Action. Many of the tribes also insisted that land the government wanted to take for military installations was their land--in some cases, there were court cases pending.
They feared that their small communities would be disrupted by large bands of outsiders. The Moapa band of Piutes--whose reservation was 20 miles from the desolate Coyote Kane Spring Wash, where an Air Force base of 13,000 had once been proposed--were fearful of outsiders, although they admitted the influx could bring jobs to a failing local economy.
"The last murder we had here? Indian against Indian? Twenty years ago," said Piute spokesman Philbert Swain. "The most recent one was two years ago. One of the elders picked up two hitchhikers and brought them home. That one was never solved; the state didn't really pursue it."
The cattlemen objected on both environmental and cultural grounds.
The influx of population to a sparsely populated area, the roads to link the "shell-game" system, would "just destroy the industry," cattleman Bottari said.
Others objected for military or moral reasons. One of the first to speak out in Utah was a University of Utah law professor, Dr. Edwin B. Firmage. A member of the Carter steering committee in Utah, he removed himself from that committee in 1979 after he was "unable to dissuade" Carter from his plans for the MX. Firmage helped organized the Utahans United Against MX. A number of Utah and Nevada state legislators began to join the movement. One of the most important developments, Firmage says, was the support of the Mormon church, announced in May.
"Our fathers came to the western area to establish a base from which to carry the gospel of peace to the people of the earth," said the statement. "It is ironic, and a denial of the very essence of that gospel, that in this same general area there should be constructed a mammoth weapons system potentially capable of destroying much of civilization....We plead with our national leaders to marshal the genius of the nation to find viable alternatives..."
That statement, says Firmage, a Mormon who is a great-grandson of Brigham Young, was "profound."
"I don't think it would have the same effect if it were made, now, regarding the Minutemen situation in the Midwest," he said. "But here, it's the most powerful organ of the Great Basin...and the Great Basin, you know, was Brigham's Kingdom of God..."
The statement, Utah legislator Frances M. Farley later said, "was a real life-saver....a lot of politicians who have been sitting on the fence on this issue are now going to have to start getting off."
The governor of Utah, Democrat Scott Matheson, was already anti-MX before the Mormon statement. Nevada governor List says he had been anti-MX for several months also.
At the end of June, Republican Sens. Laxalt of Nevada and Jake Garn of Utah announced that they opposed deployment of the MX in their states. They also urged that the missiles be based in existing sites throughout the Midwest. That was part of the plan the president unveiled today.