LITTLE BIGHORN GUIDED TOUR (not on horseback)
The Battle of the Little Bighorn was the pivotal event in what became known as the Centennial Campaign. The United States was celebrating its 100th birthday, the nation was rapidly becoming an industrial power, and the idea of an Indian War was anachronistic to most. However, two years earlier, General Sheridan, had sanctioned a military expedition into the Black Hills commanded by George Armstrong Custer, which became famous for the discovery gold in the Black Hills. The find hit the headlines and soon individuals seeking their fortunes were stampeding to the Black Hills – the only problem was that when they arrived, they were trespassers – the Black Hills was and remains the Holy Land of the Lakota and Cheyenne, and the Black Hills were included in the 26 million acre Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, signed by some, but by no means all of the Lakotas.
It was this desire to have the Black Hills and the vast mineral wealth to be found there that led Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and the 7th US Cavalry to the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876
Do you want to know the truth of what happened at the Little Bighorn? Which Lakota and Cheyenne leaders inspired the critical movements on the field? Was it really ‘Custer’s Last Stand’? With your Cheyenne guide move in the participant’s footsteps, cut through myths, and touch both military and Indian perspectives to understand the most famous battle in Western history. Equally suitable for those with interest, or others who consider themselves scholars of the battle, you simply can't know if you don't go!
This tour – historical guiding at its best, with the Cheyenne/Lakota and the military moves explained - will leave you wondering if the authors of the legions of books that discuss the battle have themselves ever stood in the places you stood. Follow the story across the battlefield, learning not only of the fate of those who fought for their respective nations, but the lasting results of the battle into modern day times for the Lakota and Cheyenne peoples.
Cost: $550 for up to 4 people
LITTLE BIGHORN HORSEBACK RIDE
Follow Crazy Horse and Custer, White Bull and White-Man-Runs-Him, across the hallowed ground between the National Park Service boundaries at the Reno-Benteen Battlefield and Calhoun Hill. You will experience Weir Point on the ride from Cedar Coulee into Medicine Tail Coulee, before descending to the Little Bighorn River, which you will cross at the ford. Ride through the Oglala and Cheyenne village area, and then re-cross the Little Bighorn, tracing Crazy Horse’s movements as he led his men up Deep Coulee towards Calhoun Hill.
Don’t miss this historic opportunity; stare out across this sacred land and truly see the terrain as the warriors and troopers saw it on that legendary June day.
•Please remember that although your wranglers will point out the land features named above for you, the ride does not provide historical guiding. If you want to understand the story, please book the combined 'Ride & Guide'. •You don't need to be an experienced rider to head back to June 25, 1876 – but do bring water, a hat and sunglasses, and follow the advice of your guides/wranglers to the letter. The Real Bird wranglers are as skilled horsemen as you will ever find, so who better to ride with you across the Little Bighorn Battlefield. •Arrive at the ranch at 9am, or 4pm to meet your wrangler and horse (full directions emailed to you.) You don't need to be experienced on horseback to participate, but please be aware that although these horses are well trained and responsive, this is NOT nose-to-tail trail riding. •Children under 14 not recommended unless they are experienced riders.
Cost $120 per person
COMBINED 'RIDE AND GUIDE'
Do you want to know the truth of what happened at the Little Bighorn? Which Lakota and Cheyenne leaders inspired the critical movements on the field? Was it really ‘Custer’s Last Stand’? With your Cheyenne guide move in the participant’s footsteps, cut through myths, and touch both military and Indian perspectives to understand the most famous battle in Western history.
Then about 4pm, head to the Medicine Tail Coulee ranch where you will mount up and ride the battlefield for yourself. Everything you have learned in your guided tour becomes a reality as you traverse and experience this sacred land as the warriors and troopers saw it that legendary June day in 1876.
Cost $550 for up to four people, plus $120 per person/horse.
Please note that depending whihc guide you go with, you may need to do your ride the previous evening, or the next morning.
Please call the office to discuss options.
ADD RELATED TOURS...
YOU HAVE 4 OPTIONS AT THE LITTLE BIGHORN:
1 Spend the whole day at the Little Bighorn, learning the story from your Cheyenne guide and absorbing the atmosphere.
2 Enjoy the day at the Little Bighorn with your Cheyenne guide then take the 4pm Battlefield Ride where all you have learned will slip into place as the conflict comes alive in your mind, and your field of vision.
3 Start at the DEER MEDICINE ROCKS where during the Great Sundance, Sitting Bull had his vision of soldiers falling upside down into camp with no ears, signifying great victory for the Lakotas, then make your way to the Little Bighorn to learn how that vision, still visible in the rocks, came to pass.
4 Start at the ROSEBUD BATTLEFIELD then head along the ‘Spirit Road’ (the same route Custer took) to the Little Bighorn.
THE ROSEBUD or THE FIGHT WHERE THE GIRL SAVED HER BROTHER
As dusk fell on June 16, the forces that would converge on the Rosebud were only thirty miles apart, but in philosophy and origin were separated by an ocean. When they met next morning, Crook’s command would outnumber the Lakota and Cheyenne by almost two-to-one. Looking across the vast sweep of the field, and viewing the terrain as Crazy Horse and Crook saw it that June day, learn the military and tribal stories of the precursive battle to the Little Bighorn. As importantly, June 17 went down in Cheyenne history as one of outstanding bravery – hear the story of the Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother; an event of cultural magnitude and inspiration which still resonates in the present day culture of the Cheyenne people.
THE DEER MEDICINE ROCKS
Visit one of the most important cultural and historic sites on the Northern Plains where the Great Sundance was held at the Deer Medicine Rocks just days before the impending Little Bighorn Battle. Ignore Hollywood scenes – this is a chance to learn the truth about the Sun Dance, and how Sitting Bull offered of himself and sacrificed for his people. See how, high above any man’s reach, Sitting Bull’s vision of victory is carved in stone - the soldiers with no ears depicted in the rock, falling upside-down into the camp; signifying how they should have listened to the warnings of the Cheyenne. Then contemplate on how not long after that, not far from here, at a place history remembers as Little Bighorn, the men of General George Custer’s 7th Cavalry played their parts, as predicted.
THE NORTHERN CHEYENNE INDIAN RESERVATION
Following the so-called Indian Wars, the Northern Cheyenne were sent to Oklahoma to join their southern relatives, but the hot, humid climate of ‘Indian Territory’ did not suit them at all - the people got sick and were dying in terrible numbers. In desperation, a small band left and headed back up north to their traditional lands, an odyssey of sheer determination and incredible courage, now known as the Cheyenne Exodus, and the US government finally gave them their own reservation. The Cheyenne culture is complex, deeply spiritual and beautiful, the Tsistsistas language is still spoken, and traditional people have retained their ways. Formerly named the Tongue River Indian Reservation, the 707 square miles of what nearly 5000 residents call ‘God’s Country’ is the home of the Tsistsistas – the Morning Star People, or the Northern Cheyenne. Options for visits to the reservation include:
•A historical buffalo jump, where as part of the pact between the two and four-legged the buffalo sacrificed themselves that the People might live and be sustained. •Hearing the stories of the Exodus and paying your respects at burial sites of venerated chiefs Two Moons or Little Wolf. •See the historic old Indian Agency then the modern Tribal Government building and learning about the Cheyenne systems of traditional versus BIA Indian governance, visit St Labre – the mission school, and other tribal galleries/trading posts to view and buy locally made arts. •The Deer Medicine Rocks – the site of Sitting Bull’s vision prior to the Battle of the Little Bighorn where he saw the soldiers falling down into camp upside down, with no ears – signifying they had not listened to warnings and thus they would bring downfall upon themselves.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LITTLE BIGHORN TOURS
WHERE TO MEET: By arrangement; at your hotel, or at the starting point of the tour
TOUR TYPE: Step-on - your guide travels with you
AVAILABLE DATES: By arrangement. Please call to check availability; our guides are popular - book early!
THE COST: $550 per day for up to 4 people plus $120 per person/horse if you choose to ride
Where do we lunch?
We usually stop at the Trading Post on the hill for great fry bread, Indian Tacos, buffalo burgers or a host of American favorites.
If you prefer to bring a sack lunch, please let us know ahead of time so our guide can do the same.
If there is just me do you have a reduced rate, or do I still pay $550 for my guide?
The guide fees are set as daily rates and because it takes your guide the same amount of time to take one or four people out for the tour we cannot reduce our fair trade guide fees for solo visitors. Our guides at the Little Bighorn have incredible knowledge, and we believe they are the best on the planet; we do not claim that lightly! But look on the bright side - if you are by yourself you are going to gain a whole lot of knowlege in the course of the day... the day will be all geared to you!
I have read a book about Custer and the Little Bighorn already and it tells a different story to what various websites and bloggers say. Who should I believe?
Hah! Welcome to the contentious world of the Custer Buffs!
There are people lurking on the Internet who seem more concerned with what Custer ate for breakfast on June 25th, 1876 than looking at BOTH sides of the battle to try and understand what ACTUALLY happened that day. If you only know one side, you cannot really know anything of the truth.
As for the abundant plethora of books on the subject, few agree with each other, and you will even find that some of the more prolific authors on the subject don't even agree with themselves.
Our outlook is that it is better to hear the story, see the site and then consider reading - once you have been to the Little Bighorn, particularly on horseback you will be able to discern for yourself what is true, and what simply cannot be true.