The Bozeman Trail: A Rush to Montana’s Gold


(reverent music) – [Narrator] It was
a road less traveled, an offshoot of the more
heavily used Oregon Trial. A route that stretched from
near present-day Casper, Wyoming past the eastern flank
of the Big Horn Mountain, then westward to the
Yellowstone River and on to the gold fields
of Montana Territory. – The Bozeman trail started in the midst of the Civil War,
(muskets firing) and ended in 1868,
just one year before the completion of the
Transcontinental Railroad. – [Narrator] It was the
last great gold-rush trails, a shortcut to dreams
of fame and fortune. – The allure of the
most recent gold strike, and being there
at the beginning, hopefully being able
to find a good claim, was a strong incentive for
these people to move west, and to move relatively quickly. – [Katie] You always
will have entrepreneurs and people interested
in figuring out ways to get there faster. And, I think gold
rushes in themselves have a nature of speed. – [Narrator] It was a landscape traversed by a cast
of characters that
are Western legend. – Some of the most
diverse peoples of our Western
history were here, or came through or lived here. – [Narrator] It was a
terrain rich in grassland, and teeming with wildlife. Tribal land. – So this was prime, prime
habitat for game, for living, and it was worth fighting
for and dying for. – The buffalo was
our whole livelihood. I mean, that was our
home, our clothes, our shields. – [Narrator] These
competing aspirations, traditions, and expectations would lead to a
clash of cultures. – The perspective of the
Lakota is this is our home, and we want to protect it, and the perspective of the
people on the Bozeman Trail are we just want to get
to the gold fields, and then, the attitude of
the federal government, well, maybe we need to
protect these people. – [Narrator] As a result,
military forts were built, treaties were broken.
(dramatic music) – I have said
three or four times that the document that
you have before you is not the document
that I agreed to. I did not agree to this treaty. – [Narrator] And war erupted. – [Sonny] Here, at the
beginning of wars here, and the beginning of the
real heavy bloodshed. – [John] They had no idea
there were 1,500 Indians waiting in a well-staged ambush. – There’s multiple
yearlong investigations from the army and from Congress, and from the Office
of Indian Affairs trying to figure
out what happened. – [Narrator] It was the
beginning, for some, of a bright new future. And for others, the end of
a traditional way of life. This road less traveled, this rush to the gold
fields of Montana, and the Indian
wars that followed, is the story of
the Bozeman trail. Production of “The Bozeman
Trail: A Rush to Montana’s Gold” Was made possible in part by
The Big Sky Film Grant. A Grant from Humanities
Montana, an affiliate of The National Endowment
for the Humanities. And funding from the Wyoming
Humanities Council Helping Wyoming take a closer
look at life through the
humanities. This project was also made
possible with support of The Gilhousen Family Foundation. The Rocky Mountain Power
Foundation, a division of
PacifiCorp. And grants from the Wyoming
Cultural Trust Fund. A program of the department of
State Parks and Cultural
Resources. The Greater Montana Foundation, Encouraging communication on
issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans. And, the Wyoming Community
Foundation. Connecting people who care with
causes that matter, to build a better Wyoming. On a warm July day in 1862,
(gentle music) John White leads a ragtag
group of Colorado prospectors up a creek teeming
with grasshoppers in the vast Idaho territory. The Lewis and Clark expedition had named the
waterway Willard Creek more than 50 years earlier. Cursing the hoards of insects,
(insects buzzing) they rename it
Grasshopper Creek. The curses soon
turned to jubilation, washing the creek bed
gravels in their tin pans they immediately
see color, pay dirt. News of the strike and
outrageous rumors traveled fast. People said you could
pull up some sagebrush, shake out the roots, and collect a pan’s
worth of gold. By fall, more than
400 fortune seekers descend on the place
now called Bannack. Among them is a tall,
26 year-old Georgian named John Bozeman. John Marion Bozeman
had left his wife and three small children
in Pickens County, Georgia two years earlier. Unable to strike it rich at
the Pikes Peak gold rush, he journeyed further west. – It was not uncommon for the head of a family to leave the family and go west to seek opportunity with the goal of
ultimately relocating, either coming back with wealth
to the family back east, or having the whole family
eventually relocate. – [Narrator] But Bozeman would
never see his family again. Bannack quickly becomes
(ominous music) the epitome of a wild
west mining boomtown, a volatile mix of
rough, dirty work, free-flowing liquor, guns,
gambling, and lawlessness. – [Emily] I don’t
know how many deaths have occurred this winter, but that there have
not been twice as many is entirely owing to the fact that drunken men
do not shoot well. Emily Meredith. (guns firing) – [Narrator] By January 1863, bitter temperatures
and 30 inches of snow blanket the fledgling
gold fields, and all mining comes
to a standstill. As John Bozeman huddles
close to the fire, he lays out an idea for a
shortcut to the gold fields. A bulky mountain man
sitting across from him listens intently.
(mellow guitar music) Bozeman envisions a new route that will help
gold-seeking emigrants reach the mines faster than by taking the
longer Oregon trail, than northward past Fort Hall. Bozeman believes emigrants
will pay hard cash to be lead up this golden trail. Certainly, it has
to be more lucrative than their unproductive claims and the numbing drudgery
of placer mining. John Jacobs slowly nods
his head in agreement. They will start out as soon as the snows begin
to diminish in the spring. 1,500 miles away, at a Union Army prisoner-of-war
camp in Indiana, Henry Beebee Carrington stacks
the paperwork at this desk. As the Civil War rages on the army colonel
calculates his next move up the military hierarchy once this awful carnage is over. Opportunities look
ripe for advancement in the Western frontier. In a teepee on the
Western plains, a Lakota warrior bites
off a piece of pemmican and slowly chews,
deep in thought. Red Cloud worries about
more white skinned people rolling across the land again when the spring
grasses begin to grow. He remembers the damage that
they had done in previous years and prays the Great Spirit
will keep out the invaders, heal the land, and favor his people
with abundant buffalo. In time the plans,
thoughts and prayers of these three
men will intersect and the consequences
of their actions will have surprising outcomes. Over the next five years one of these men will
fall into disgrace, another will reign triumphant, the third will be dead. And this part of the American
West will change forever. (gentle music) In the spring of 1863, as John Bozeman and
John Jacobs set out east on their journey to discover a
new route to the gold fields, another trail worn
group of prospectors head west towards Bannack. Among them are Bill
Fairweather and Henry Edgar. They have been traveling
for nearly three months. And after many mishaps and no
luck in their search for gold just want to get back to
some form of civilization. Camping alongside a
small alder-choked stream about 60 miles east of Bannack, Bill Fairweather shovels
some dirt into Edgar’s pan and says, now go wash that pan and see if you can get enough to buy some tobacco
when we get to town. Edgar’s eyes widen as he looks
at the bottom of his pan. The contents shimmer back
at him as in a dream. Returning to Bannack
a few days later the group try their best to
keep their discovery secret, but their gold doesn’t look
like Grasshopper Creek gold. After filing their claims,
huge numbers of miners follow them back to their site. Soon a string of nine mining
camps erupt along Alder Gulch. It becomes known as 14-Mile City with Virginia City
being the largest. – We’re at Discovery Monument. This is the sport,
the exact spot where Fairweather discovered
gold May 26, 1863. This find of gold at Alder Gulch has been claimed by some to be the richest that was
ever found in the world. Regarding the size
and value of the gold found in such a small space. – [Narrator] As the find
at Alder Gulch unfolded Bozeman and Jacobs were
struggling to find a pathway. – [Susan] Indians
approached them, took most of their supplies, took their horses, left them with
nothing basically. Jacobs and Bozeman
kept going south and finally made it
to the Platte road. – [Narrator] They stumbled
into Deer Creek Station at the end of May,
half-starved and exhausted. Deer Creek Station, at
present day Glenrock, Wyoming, consisted of a trading post, a detachment of cavalry
and a telegraph station. Ironically, if Bozeman had
never left Bannack that spring, he could have been
among the first to strike it rich
at Alder Gulch. Luck seemed to elude
him time and time again. (wagons rattling) After recuperating, Bozeman and Jacobs
by mid-June of 1863 were recruiting wagons
along the Oregon Trail, persuading them to take this new shorter route
to the gold fields, claiming it would shave
hundreds of miles off the trip. – [Sam] Some of us are thinking of taking this new
cut-off to Bannack City. It is a new route, a part of which has never
been traveled over in wagons. But it is from 300 to 500 miles
nearer than any other route. It is, however, attended
with some disadvantages in the opening of
the road, etcetera. It is also more
or less dangerous being through the heart
of the Indian Country. At least a month or
six weeks of travel saved by going through. Sam Word. – [Narrator] In early
July Bozeman and Jacobs put together a wagon train consisting of about 46
wagons and 90 people. It left for the gold
fields on July 6th, 1863. By July 20th, the group had
traveled about 140 miles to Rock Creek, just north of
present day Buffalo, Wyoming. – This is Rock Creek. We believe it’s the Rock Creek
Crossing of the Bozeman Trail and it is marked that way. John Bozeman’s
first trip in 1863 stopped here and gathered
here with his wagon train. A large group of Native
American came to him and said you need to stop here. – [Sam] They come, they said, to warn us not to proceed
further through their country, that they were combined to prevent a road being
opened through here, that if we went on we
would be destroyed, that they would be our enemies, but if we turned back
they would not disturb us. Sam Word. – [Narrator] That evening
the train held a meeting to decide what to do. John Jacobs and the other
guides lobbied to turn back, believing the small train
would be vulnerable. Bozeman wanted to go forward. In the end most of
the emigrants voted to return to the safety
of the Oregon Trail. But before they broke camp the
next day, there was trouble. A grizzly bear
appeared in the brush and some of the men
took up their guns and went after it. – [Sam] In the forenoon a large grizzly bear
approached our camp, 15 to 20 went out
to give him a fight. They wounded him. He charged upon the nearest
of them from the bushes and hurt two men badly. Knocked them both down, gashed one’s head
to the skull badly, and tore off the underlip and
part of the jaw of one man. Sam Word. – [Narrator] But it
wasn’t just a bear that provided trouble
in Bozeman’s 1863 train, (dramatic music) two of the emigrants
were challenging the morality of a few of
the women in the group. – [James] There being a
couple in the train who, according to some
of the matrons, should long since have
been in wedlock’s bonds. Bozeman kindly consented
to mitigate the scandal by tying the nuptial
knot one bright evening at the head of the corral. James Kirkpatrick. – [Narrator] As the
emigrants headed back south, their camaraderie
began to evaporate. – [Sam] Our train is getting
more and more split up. I look forward to divide soon. It’s like they cannot
agree and work together. Wished I was back on the Platte. Sam Worth. – [Narrator] Adding to the
discord, Bozeman and nine others chose to continue
to the gold fields, riding by night to avoid
detection by the Indians. Instead of skirting the
flank of the mountains, they traveled through
the rugged Bighorns to further conceal themselves. Along the way, they
lost a pack horse and much of their provisions. After 21 arduous
days, half-starving, they finally reached
a mountain pass overlooking a fertile valley. The weary travelers were so
happy to have made it out alive they named it Bozeman Pass and rode triumphant into
the Gallatin Valley. The rest of the wagon train took a circuitous route southwest,
back to the Oregon Trail, emerging near Red
Buttes, Wyoming. Disgruntled and angry, the gold seekers
continued their journey, now even longer than if
they had avoided the cutoff. – [Sam] It makes me
sick to think of it. Lose a month and travel
300 miles for nothing. Sam Worth. – [Narrator] They finally
made it to Alder Gulch and newly-sprouted Virginia
City on September 27, some 50 days later. The Bozeman Trail, it
seemed, was a failure. The route over
which John Bozeman attempted to lead
that first wagon train followed ancient Indian pathways from thousands of
years of habitation. Rock cairns still exist today, marking this great
north/south passage. – The old north/south
Indian trail, it was a trail that
actually came around the head of the Rocky
Mountains up into Alaska, Canada, and then came around and got on the east side
of the Rocky Mountains. They went through Canada, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico. – Probably back as
far as 11,000 years, you’ll find evidence of
continuous inhabitation along, particularly the
Rocky Mountain regions and the Big Horn regions. – Pictograph Cave is right here. They have documented human occupation at that
cave 9000 years old. This is a transportation hub. This is the super
highway of ancient days. – [Narrator] Eastern
Eastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming’s
Powder River Basin was the home and hunting
grounds of the Crow Indians for many generations. They were driven
out to the northwest in a war with the
Lakota Sioux in 1857, who along with the
Cheyenne and Arapaho, established themselves as the
dominant powers in the region. (poignant music) The tribes traveled in
unison with vast bison herds. – The buffalo was
our whole livelihood. I mean, that was our home,
our clothes, our shields. The buffalo was
very much revered, but he was also hunted for food. – [Narrator] But by the
mid 1860’s these hunting and cultural traditions
of countless generations were about to collide with
a powerful industrial force representing a very different
vision and value system. – When the Lakota come
into Powder River, and the Northern
Cheyenne and the Arapaho, they feel like they have fought honorably for that land, and that is their land. They don’t want
any more intrusion because they’re very aware of what wagon trains
and the military do when they come into a country. – [Narrator] By the
1860’s, the Oregon Trail had been established
for more than 20 years. Hundreds of thousands of
emigrants had journeyed west, wagons, oxen, mules and
horses grinding down the land. (wagons rattling) The lush grasses
grazed down to stubble. Rivers and streams
fouled and trampled. Trees and shrubs cut
and stripped for fires. (poignant music) The once abundant
game hunted for food and sometimes left to
rot just for sport. – [Mary] On several occasions
our wagons had to stop in order for the
buffalo to pass. Their low, rumbling tramp
and peculiar bellowing could be heard at a distance as the advance of
a herd approached. This afforded sport
for the hunters who slew them in abundance, more than we actually needed. No wonder the Indian
opposed any encroachment of whites into this
great game country. His by right of discovery, the buffalo supplied
all his wants. Mary Foreman Kelly. – The Indians just saw the natural animal population
really deteriorating, the poisoning of water holes, the bringing of dysentery,
typhoid, diseases. – The perspective
of the Lakota is, this is our home, and
we want to protect it. And the perspective of the
people on the Bozeman Trail are, we just want to get
to the gold fields. And then the attitude of
the federal government, well, maybe we need to
protect these people. – [Narrator] This volatile
mix of competing motives would come to a head
during the next five years in the Powder River country. The Bozeman Trail became the
epicenter of a cultural clash that reverberated through
the entire region. A flashpoint that set the
stage for direct conflict, resulting in startling
victories and crushing defeats. Besides the Oregon Trail,
there were a number of routes and
transportation options already in place to get
to the new gold fields of what would become
Montana Territory. But none of them were
particularly fast or cheap. (cheerful music) – [Susan] There were
stage coaches that ran through Salt Lake and then
north to Virginia City, There were steamboats from
Missouri River up to Fort Benton and then stagecoach south
to Helena and Virginia City. There was the Mullan
Road from the northwest, from the Pacific. So there were several routes
and ways to get there. – [Narrator] But of all the
ways to get to the gold fields, the cheapest and most
popular by far was by wagon. Buying a wagon and outfitting
it for a family of four cost about $600 to $800. Wagons were loaded with food
and supplies for the trip. Nellie Fletcher,
an 1866 traveler, described her mobile pantry. – [Nellie] We have
plenty of everything good in our large wagon. We have dried apples,
peaches, prunes and currants, canned peaches,
canned green corn, oysters, steamed I believe. We have sixteen quarts
of tomato catsup. We have five hundred-pound
sacks of flour, bacon, ham, and codfish,
potatoes and butter, plenty of tea, coffee, sugar and molasses,
vinegar not left out. We have a little keg of golden
syrup, which is very nice. – [Narrator] Other
supplies included candles, cooking utensils,
dishes, pots and pans, even sheet iron cook stoves. Tools were also a necessity, axes, saws, spare wagon parts and of course, firearms. (exciting music) – [Mary] All the men were
well armed with revolvers, rifles in the front
seats of the wagons, easily got at in case of use. Plenty of provisions
in each wagon, sufficient to last
for six months. Water kegs and some extra jugs, some of which I was told
contained snake bite medicine. I made no further
inquiry or investigation. Mary Foreman Kelly. – [Narrator] In
the spring of 1864, undaunted by the
previous year’s failure, John Bozeman readied
for another attempt along his shortcut trail. He set out from Richard’s Bridge near present-day
Evansville, Wyoming, on June 18th, 1864. But his train of about 80
wagons wasn’t the first. Prospector Alan Hurlbut, claiming to have knowledge
of secret gold fields, left two days earlier with an even larger
train of 124 wagons. Abraham Voorhees, a
farmer from Michigan, was one of the travelers who believed in Hurlbut’s
golden promises. – [Abraham] Hurlbut is a man
of considerable experience as an explorer
and ex-prospector, having been several
times over the mountains, and being familiar
with the gold region. – [Narrator] Famed
guide, trapper and mountain man, Jim
Bridger was also in the wagon train to the
gold fields business. By the 1860s Bridger had been roaming the Rocky Mountain
region for more than four years. He was among the first white men to see the wonders
of Yellowstone and
the Great Salt Lake. And his tall tales
of their marvels were laughed at by
fellow trappers. Friendly with many tribes, he spoke several Native
American dialects and took Indian wives
who bore him children. He knew every inch of
the inter-mountain West and carried a mental
map of it in his head. Later he drew that
map on an animal skin that was copied onto
paper by an Army officer. – Jim Bridger had
mapped five states with about four degrees accuracy with no instruments,
no training, from what the professionals
later surveyed. – [Narrator] Bridger
departed for the gold fields on May 20th with
about 100 wagons from a point west of Red Buttes, blazing a trail to Virginia City on the other side of
the Bighorn Mountains. – [Franklin] Bridger’s
is much more popular, probably from the
fact that Bridger is an old and well-known
mountaineer, having spent his whole life among the mountains
and the Indians and having the reputation
of being a reliable man. Franklin Curcalde – [Narrator] While
not quite a race, these shortcuts to the
Montana gold fields were in full swing that
spring and summer of 1864. (mid-tempo music) On July 2nd, Bozeman caught
up with the Hurlbut train, which had stopped to
prospect for gold. He had been following the path blazed by
Hurlbut for some time, and now as he passed,
he was on his own to discover the
best way forward. – [Abraham] Bozeman’s train
was in six miles of us and passed by. Good many are wanting to go on and others want to
stay and prospect. – [Narrator] Meanwhile,
Bridger’s train was struggling through
difficult terrain. – [Howard] Feed and water
were most fearfully scarce that we crossed what was almost
a desert 70 miles in width on which we had a tight pinch
to get grass for our stock. Howard Stanfield. – [Narrator] On the
other side of the Bighorn Bozeman’s wagon train grew even
larger at the Bighorn river as some of Captain
Hurlbut’s train joined. And estimated 150 wagons
(wagons rattling) now comprised the train. – [Man] The captain
told a number of us that he knew where there
was plenty of gold, but now we begin to think
he has fooled us some. And there are number that will leave the train
tomorrow morning without doubt. – [Narrator] The
Bighorn River crossing could be difficult, especially early in the season. Sometimes the wagons were
caulked and floated across. Other times days were
spent building crude rafts. Later in the year
the flow was lower, making for an easier crossing. After the Bighorn Crossing Bozeman was unsure of the route. Mountain man John Jacobs
didn’t accompany him this time and he simply didn’t have
the knowledge or skills of a Jim Bridger or
even Alan Hurlbut. So he traced a route northwest over numerous creeks
and rough terrain. – We’re just about
halfway between the town of Pryor and
Fort Smith, Montana. Right in here is where
Bozeman got lost. And he lost track of it and he went off over
here towards Billings. He wandered around for two, three days over here. – [Narrator] Bozeman
finally made it to some bluffs above the
Yellowstone River, across from present
day Billings, Montana. But he couldn’t get his wagon
train down to the river. – Right now I’m standing
above the Yellowstone River, in what we call the sow fields. It’s really rough country. Bozeman was over on what
we now call Prior Creek and they took the 11 mile trip over the top of
this hilly country. The diarists were remarking
a lot about this country. They said this was
the roughest country we think a wagon
train can go through. It’s this country behind me. It’s tough, tough. – [Man] We have been
following Bozeman’s road and here he took a wrong course and went out of his way
for nearly 15 miles, over the worst kind of roads. – [Narrator] While
Bozeman was struggling on the east side
of the Bighorns, Bridger finally led his train out of the arid west
side environment and into lusher country. Now the emigrants
had plenty of water and grass for their stock, plus fish and game to
supplement their diet. – [William] The
boys fetch into camp from six to 10 antelope a day, caught a lot of trout, got
a half barrel salted down. It would surprise the nation to see the amount of trout
brought into camp every day. William Haskell (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Over
the next few weeks the Bridger train
crossed the Bighorn, Graybull, Shoshone
and Clarks Fork rivers before emerging close
to the Yellowstone near present-day
Joliet, Montana. At night Bridger regaled
his fellow travelers with tall tales of
his adventures in
the Rocky Mountains. One of his favorites
was about the time he was chased for miles
by 100 Cheyenne warriors. He made a wrong turn and found himself in a
box canyon with no escape. As the Indians bore down on him Bridger would pause his story, finally his listeners could
not contain themselves. What happened next,
they would ask. He’d look at them with
a sparkle in his eye and reply, well, they killed me. The situation was not so jovial
in the Hurlbut expedition. (people chattering) – [Man] There is not
much good feeling towards the captain
at this time. His conduct towards the company has been in the highest
degree censurable and he has few if any
friends among those who had first so
readily listened to and so imperfectly
believed his stories and golden promises. He will probably never lead another train through
the mountains. – [Narrator] Bozeman, meanwhile, was trying to figure
out where to go next to cross the Yellowstone. He finally encountered
Bridger’s trail from a few weeks earlier
at Rock Creek Crossing. (banjo music) Now all he had to do was
follow Bridger’s tracks onward to the Yellowstone. But there were still more
obstacles to overcome. One was Sandborn Hill. – He ended up on
the top of this hill with a whole wagon train. And that hill is as
steep as a cow’s face. You know what they did? They planted a
post in the ground and they got all
their ropes together and they hand-let those
wagons down one at a time, led the horses down
on this hill here. (river rushing) – [Narrator] Bozeman
finally descended to the south side of
the Yellowstone River and followed it west
towards Bridger’s Crossing, a diagonal ford
across the river, nearly half a mile long. While Bozeman crossed
the Yellowstone, the remaining members
of Hurlbut’s train elected Abraham Voorhees
as their new captain. They then continued
following Bozeman’s trail, leaving Hurlbut behind. But another problem
soon erupted. – [Man] Just as we were
eating our breakfast, the Indians, about
20 or 25 of them, (horses galloping,
people whooping) were seen among the horses that
were a mile away from camp. The riders were after the horses
running in every direction, trying to get to camp and some were lucky
enough to reach it. One mule came in with an
arrow sticking in its side while six horses and six
mules were driven off by them before our men could
get near to them. There were a good many
shots fired at them, (muskets firing) but none were killed. – [Narrator] On the north
side of the Yellowstone, first Bridger, then
Bozeman headed west until they reached
the Shield River, northeast of present-day
Livingston, Montana. Here Bridger turned North
and followed the Shield River before turning south again, alongside today’s
Bridger Mountains and into the Gallatin Valley. Bozeman left Bridger’s
route at the Shield and headed west to the pass that was named for
him the year before. From there he descended
into the Gallatin Valley and then took existing
roads to Virginia City, arriving at the end of July. (wagons rattling) The portion of Hurlbut’s train now commanded by
Abraham Voorhees, arrived in Virginia
City around August 10th. His view of the mining
enterprise there was simple. – [Abraham] Not one miner
of a thousand gets rich. The trader and speculator and those who have
money to work upon profit by the excitement. – [Narrator] As the people in the former Hurlbut
wagon train dispersed, Voorhees sold his oxen,
said his goodbyes, and within a week booked passage back
home with another wagon. His four month, 1,700 mile
journey to the gold fields seemed to be little more
than a sightseeing adventure. With his earlier start
and more westward route, Bridger beat everyone,
arriving in early July. He would lead yet
another train in the fall and again in subsequent years. Yet, since Bozeman’s train
was the first to arrive by traveling along the east
side of the Bighorn mountains, the shortcut to Virginia City
bears his name to this day. After guiding his wagon
train to Virginia City, Bozeman turned around
(cheerful music) and traveled 60 miles
northeast to settle. He arrived at a
fledging community at the east end of
the Gallatin Valley. It was inhabited
by Daniel Rouse, William Beall, and William
Alderson, among others. On August 9, 1864 these
men began the process of formally organizing a town. They named it
after their friend, Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman and the
others recognized it as an ideal spot for
wagons to layover upon entering the Gallatin
Valley via the Bozeman Trail. They hoped to make some
money in the process. One emigrant who camped
there later in 1864 was visited by Bozeman and Rouse who tried to persuade
him to settle there. – [Davies] They spoke eloquently
of its many advantages, its water privileges and its standing right in
the gate of the mountains ready to swallow up
all the tenderfeet that would reach the
territory from the east, with their golden fleeces
to be taken care of. W.J. Davies. – [Narrator] Bozeman was
elected recorder of the district and eventually
became probate judge. He would lead no more
wagon trains into Montana. 1864 was a big migration year.
(wagons rattling) About 40,000 emigrants
traveled the Oregon and California Trails
to western destinations, including to what had
become Montana Territory. By contrast, after the
initial forays of Bridger, Hurlbut and Bozeman,
only some 15,000 people attempted the Bozeman
Trail later that year. Fearing Indians, many people thought it
was just too dangerous. – [Mary] It was here
that our train divided, half of the wagons going on
by the way of South Pass, Green River, Soda
Springs to Montana, while the rest, going north by what was called
the Bozeman Cutoff. It was considered a
dangerous road to travel. It ran over, through, and across the hunting grounds
of the Sioux, who had no love
for the palefaces. Mary Foreman Kelly. (introspective music) – The attitude of the
emigrants toward the Indians varied from aggressive
hatred and fear to interested fascination
and even admiration. – [Richard] This day there
was a motion put forward and carried in the morning for the indiscriminate
slaughter of all Indians what was reconsidered and
acted upon in the evening and resulted in favor
of letting them alone so long as they did
not intrude on us. Richard Owens. – [Nellie] There are a
great many Indian lodges or teepees, as they
call them, all around. We saw a good many Indians, some of them herding their stock and some around their lodges. They have a great many ponies. We saw some of the
squaws riding horseback, sitting on the
horse man-fashion, with their blankets
all around them. You ought to see
their ornaments. Some wore large
bracelets of brass and some had beads of
tin around their arms. They were dressed in
style, I tell you. Nellie Fletcher. – [Theodore] About 300 Arapaho
Indians are camped near here and came to our camp tonight, loaded with furs and robes and some of the boys struck
up a lively trading post. The handsomest robes I ever saw were bought for a pair of
common soldier blankets. A cup of flour bought a
pair of beaded moccasins, and one man bought a gray
wolf robe for 12 matches. Theodore Bailey. – [Margaret] Among all the
tribes of the Northwest, the Crow stands
first in manliness and physical perfection. They also have pride
of race and nation. They can be trusted as
friends within its boundaries whenever they are treated with the consideration
they deserve. Margaret Carrington. – [Narrator] For some, fear of Native
Americans was justified. Even though outright assaults
on wagon trains were rare, there were exceptions. On July 7th, 1864
the Townsend train, consisting of 150 wagons, was attacked on the Powder
River in present day Wyoming. (horses galloping,
people shouting) The Indians even
lit a grass fire. (fire crackling) But the emigrants dug a trench
around the circled wagons and filled it with water. After a six-hour battle,
with superior weaponry, the emigrants were finally
able to fight off the Indians. (guns firing) – [Frank] The Indians
only had bows and arrows. The arrows had iron heads and were very effective
at short range. But after they had
made a few rushes our guns had thinned them out and they kept out of
range pretty much. We had some long-range guns and kept picking ’em off and got quite a number of them, never did know how many. Frank Wager. – [Narrator] The Townsend party lost four men in the encounter. Two were quickly buried and
the other two presumed dead. As the next wagon
train approached the site of the battle
a few weeks later a horrific scene awaited. (melancholy music) – [Richard] We moved out
at eight this morning and some of our advanced guard came on the body
of the man killed. He had been buried
by his friends, but the wolves had taken him out and devoured much of his body. We buried him again. Richard Owens. – [Narrator] Besides
hostile Indians, the Bozeman Trail emigrants experienced other
hardships along the way. – [John] Passed through among
barren, desolate region. Grass very scarce. Nothing but alkali
water with sandy road. Alkali 1/2 inch thick
all along the creek and our only chance for water is to dig through it for water so strongly
impregnated with soda to be fit for baking bread. John Hackney. – [Mary] I shall
never forget this camp as the breeding grounds
of the mosquito. (insects buzzing) Dense swarms of these
pests attacked us here, making life almost unbearable. The children the
greatest sufferers, swollen hands and faces
from the effects of bites. The cattle restless, difficult to keep together
at night, especially. Smudges has to be made to
keep off the mosquitoes. Mary Foreman Kelly. (birds singing)
(hopeful music) – [Narrator] Yet
all was not misery, misfortune and social discord. The land in its abundance, its unique vegetation, wildlife, captured the imagination and
curiosity of the emigrants. – [Mary] The country now changed from a dry, waterless plain to well watered steppes. Beautiful hills where there grew the buffalo and grama grasses. Along the banks of
the mountain brooks we gathered the wild
strawberry and raspberry, caught many a fine
mess of trout. Mary Foreman Kelly. – [John] Went fishing and
caught 30 pounds of fish, some weighed two pounds. Two men of our party
caught 25 pounds. John Hackney. – [Harry] Prairie dog villages are scattered thickly,
(prairie dog chirping) Lyman shot one a few days ago. They belong to
the marmot species and as near as I can describe, they are about halfway between the common gray ground squirrel and the American
groundhog or woodchuck. Harry Burgess. – [Narrator] By the time the
1864 travel season was over thousands of people had made
it to the Montana gold fields via the Bridger
and Bozeman trails, mostly without incident from
the Native American presence. These shortcuts to the mines
were beginning to pan out. Then in the fall of 1864 an even occurred that
would soon impact travel on the Bozeman Trail. (dramatic music) On November 29, 1864,
Colonel John Chivington leading a ruthless
volunteer Cavalry, (men shouting, guns firing) attacked Black Kettle’s
peaceful Cheyenne village in southeastern
Colorado Territory. They killed and
horribly mutilated nearly 200 Native Americans, most of them women and children. – [John] Damn any man who
sympathizes with Indians. Kill and scalp all,
big and little. Nits make lice. – [Narrator] As a
result of Sand Creek, various tribes began attacking
along the Platte River road the following spring and summer. Large numbers then moved north
to the Powder River country. Here they coalesced around the Lakota Sioux
warrior, Red Cloud. The seeds of a unified Indian
resistance were sprouting. Red Cloud was born in 1822, near the confluence of the
Blue and Platte rivers, east of today’s North
Platte, Nebraska. His father was killed
when Red Cloud was young and he was brought up by
his uncle, Chief Old Smoke. As a young man
(tense music) he demonstrated
his fearlessness, his ruthlessness and leadership during wars against the
Pawnee, Crow and other tribes. In one battle he saved a Ute
warrior from a river drowning only to drag him on shore, then kill and scalp him. When he was just 19 he killed one of his
uncle’s rivals, Bald Bear. By 1864 he’s been in
more than 80 battles. His growing reputation
as a military strategist, negotiator and orator elevated him even more
in Lakota society. – Red Cloud, he managed to unite quite a few of the
Lakota bands together, and also to bring in Cheyenne
and some of the Arapaho. Without his force of
personality and his vision, I don’t think the
Indian opposition would be near as
strong as it was. – [Narrator] By spring 1865, with the increase of
continued Indian attacks The Bozeman Trail was shut
down to emigrant traffic, but not to the military. Now that the Civil War had
ended, the U.S. government increased its forces
along western trails, including the Bozeman Trail. Major General Grenville Dodge had orders for Brigadier
General Patrick Connor. – [Greenville] Settle the
Indian troubles this season. Make vigorous war upon the
Indians and punish them so that they will be
forced to keep the peace. – [Narrator] In August of 1865, Connor did just that
with 2,400 troops of the Powder River Expedition. – Conner himself comes
up the Bozeman Trail. He was ordered to
establish a fort, so he establishes what’s
first Fort Conner, and then becomes Fort Reno
later that fall in 1865 down on Powder River. That’s the first of the
Bozeman Trail forts. And so that’s supposed
to be a permanent thing right here in the heart
of the Indian country to keep them under control. And then he goes off
hunting for Indians. He’s led by quite a
few famous scouts. Jim Bridger, again, being
the most famous of them. – [Narrator] Connor and
his soldiers marched north. As they approached
the Tongue River, Bridger saw smoke
rising in the distance and alerted Connor to Indians. They attacked a peaceful Northern Arapaho
village of about 500 early in the morning
of August 29th, (people shouting, guns firing) burning the lodges
and winter provisions. Many of the warriors
were absent, off on a raid against the Crow. At least 60 Arapaho were killed, many of them women and children. – I think, you know,
when you look at Connor attacking
that Arapaho camp that was led by medicine men, The Arapahos were not
necessarily ready to go to war until after that. That just galvanized
them and they said, We’ve got to join this movement. If we don’t join this, we’re going to continue
to see these atrocities. – [Sonny] It was the beginning
of the Indian wars here, and the beginning of the
really heavy bloodshed along the Bozeman Trail. – [Narrator] In 1866,
the Bozeman Trail was once again
opened to emigrant and other non-military travel. But now many of the wagons
were driven by freighters and teamsters moving
merchandise, equipment
and livestock. Fewer prospectors
were travelling, their places taken by merchants, professionals, craftsmen and others wanting to
provide goods and services to the now burgeoning
mining towns. Opportunity was knocking. They were off to
mine the miners. But by an official order
on February 28, 1866, all wagon trains were required
to get permission to travel. Indian trouble was still
on everyone’s mind. So much so, that in that spring of 1866,
(Native American flute music) Cheyenne, Sioux
and Arapaho bands were invited to a peace
conference at Fort Laramie. Nearly two thousand showed up. The peace commissioners
were certain a deal allowing safe passage on the
Bozeman Trail could be reached. Red Cloud was one
of many influential
leaders in attendance. He too was optimistic an
agreement could be attained. But the Peace Commissioners
and the U.S. military were not on the same page. – He’d made up his mind that he wasn’t going
to fight anymore, that he really did want
to try to secure peace and no sooner than
they sat down, and then the scouts come in and say there’s a column of
soldiers coming up the river. – [Narrator] It was
the U.S. 18th Infantry led by Colonel Henry Carrington. He had orders to
re-garrison Fort Reno and build two more forts
along the Bozeman Trail to help protect wagon trains and establish a military
presence in the region. – Red Cloud was furious. He picked up and he left and said he would
never sign a treaty with the United
States government. – [Narrator] Abruptly leaving the Fort Laramie
Treaty negotiations Sioux, Cheyenne
and Arapaho tribes later gathered at Red
Cloud’s encampment. At the annual sun
dance ceremony, they vowed to fight
against white incursion. Carrington headed north with
700 soldiers, 300 civilians and 226 wagons filled with
tons of supplies and equipment to stock and build forts
along the Bozeman Trail. Most of the troops
were raw recruits unskilled in Indian warfare. They were mostly
armed with outdated single shot
muzzle-loading muskets. Carrington himself
was an odd choice as a commander in
hostile Indian country. But he had connections
within the military and the government and was
a good engineer and manager. – Colonel Carrington was from
a very well-to-do family, an aristocratic family, Carrington, during
the Civil War, was pretty much a desk officer. So he had no combat experience, and that was one of
the big raps on him by some of the men who were
veterans of the Civil War, when he was ordered
to build forts up here in this country. – Carrington proceeded
to come north, and Fort Reno they rebuilt
on that and regarrisoned it. Then went up to
Fort Phil Kearny. They built that, and then
in that August of 1866, another two companies
of troops went up and built Fort C.F. Smith, which is 90 miles north
of Fort Phil Kearny. – When the military started
building forts in this area, it was kind of like the
last straw for them. The combination of Sand Creek
and the aftermath of that just heightened the need to try to keep these
people out of our land, keep them out of our territory. – Once the military committed to building three forts
on the Bozeman Trail, the Lakota and the Northern
Cheyenne and the Arapaho, they saw that as occupation.
(ominous music) They saw that as humiliation. – [Narrator] By midsummer, war parties of Sioux, Northern
Cheyenne and Northern Arapaho were camped in the valleys of
the Tongue and Rosebud rivers. Among the warriors were
a young Crazy Horse, American Horse, and Red Cloud, who spoke out
against the military. – [Red Cloud] Here ye, Dakotas. When the great
father at Washington asked for a path through
our hunting grounds we were told that they wished
merely to pass through. Our old chiefs thought
to show their goodwill, promising to protect
the wayfarers. Yet before the ashes of
the council fire are cold, the great father is
building his forts among us. His presence here is an insult to the sprits of our ancestors. Dakotas, I am for war. – Fort Phil Kearny
was the largest of the three
Bozeman Trail Forts. It was located near Piney Creek about half way between
present-day Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyoming.
(cheerful music) – They arrive in July of
1866 on Friday the 13th and decide that this
is the best place to set up the largest
stockaded fort in the West. It was a massive undertaking. Carrington does a really
good job selecting where the fort should be placed. – [William] This is the most
beautiful place for a fort that I’ve seen west
of Fort Levenworth. Its mountain scenery is
most striking and majestic with its beautiful
range of hills on either side north and south as it were throwing
their arms around and clasping on in their bosom. William Thomas. – So the location, while
you can see it’s beautiful and it gives you a great vista and a view of the
land around you, there’s no place
for, there’s no wood. And so they had
to send civilians, and ultimately soldiers
to protect the civilians, miles away to cut wood, to bring it to be able to build the entire perimeter of the fort and all of the structures
inside of the fort. So that was a real problem. – 45 wagon boxes
go out every day. 45 full past them. 540 mules, just to
service the wood train. Massive wood gathering
effort going through. – [Narrator] At its peak, Fort Phil Kearny
encompassed 17 acres and numerous structures, including officer, enlisted
man and civilian quarters, a hospital, mess hall, stables,
shops and two sawmills. 400 troops and 150 civilians
inhabited this fortress on the Little Piney Creek in
the heart of Indian country. By the end of July 1866,
(wagons rattling) all wagon trains arriving
at the slowly emerging fort were required to consolidate into larger trains
before proceeding. More military trains
were also on the Trail, often traveling with emigrant
trains to protect them. Everyone was much
more alert to danger, livestock were heavily guarded and men rarely wandered
off alone to hunt or fish. – The military moves in and the Indians knew
there was a war, so by 1866, the
Indians were attacking. There was one week in July when 24 civilians and
soldiers were killed in attacks all along the trail, from the North Platte
to the Big Horn River. (guns firing) – [Narrator] William Thomas, traveling with the 1866
Kirkendall wagon train, was pre-occupied with emigrant
graves along the route. By the time he reached the site of the new Fort Phil Kearny, he was filled with
ominous feelings about traveling through Indian
country on the Bozeman Trail. – [William] I am meditating
upon the advantage that I am about to take, counting the cost,
summing up the danger, cold chills run
through my blood. William Thomas. – [Narrator] Arriving at the
Bighorn river without incident, the word around camp was no
more danger from Indians, for they were now
in Crow country. So after crossing, Thomas
put his faith in God and left the small
Kirkendall train with his 8-year-old son
Charly and hired driver. Over the next six days, they journeyed to the
Yellowstone River alone. (sad fiddle music) – This site is kind of
a sad story to tell. William Thomas was a
farmer back in Illinois and he’d lost his two
daughters and his wife sometime before 1866. He and his son
decided to come West. Can you imagine though, going through this country
without even one firearm? He was a religious
man and he thought the Good Maker was going
to take care of him. They’d finally made
it to the Yellowstone. They felt safe. They built a campfire and
had a little celebration. Unfortunately Indians
caught him here, killed he and his son
and the hired man. Shortly after, the miners came
down with their wagon train, and they found the bodies. The Bozeman Trail
has many sad stories and this is just one of them. (uptempo music) – [Narrator] Perhaps
the most daring group to use the Bozeman Trail
in 1866 was its last. Nelson Story, a mule packer, had struck it rich
at Alder Gulch. Always the entrepreneur,
he saw a need for beef in the new Montana Territory and went to Texas with
$10,000 to buy cattle. Story bought 1,000 head
of cattle at bargain rates in the devastated post-Civil
War Texas economy. Then along with 25 hired hands
(cattle mooing) he drove them up
through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and over to Wyoming
and the Bozeman Trail. Along the way his outfit
was attacked by Indians on a dry fork of
the Powder River. (guns firing) Two of his men were injured. One died and about 30 head
of cattle were stolen. After leaving the
injured at Fort Reno, Story and his men tracked
down and killed the Indians (guns firing) and recovered the cattle. – They shot the
place up pretty good and that was something
that years later he felt a little upset about it, but it turns out that’s probably the best thing he
could have ever done, it probably saved the
life of his entire crew. – [Narrator] Story arrived
at Fort Phil Kearny in October 1866 without
further incident, but was ironically
delayed by military order because of anticipated
Indian trouble. After two weeks, he
finally had enough. In the dead of night,
he left the fort and continued his cattle
drive up the Bozeman Trail, fending off two more Indian
attacks along the way. Stopping near present-day
Livingston, Montana in December, 1866, Story eventually sold some
of his stock at a huge profit and establish cattle ranching
in Montana with the rest. – Sets up cow camp up between
Livingston and Bozeman and started running cows
into Paradise Valley ’cause it was actually a pretty
good weather down that way. But the main his main
operation was out of here, out of Bozeman and he also had an
operation, of course, in Virginia City
and Nevada City. – [Narrator] Variously described
as a fearless tough guy, a scoundrel and a robber baron, he was also said to be generous, intelligent, and compassionate. – If he got mad at you, he might he might
actually pistol whip you. But at the same time
if you needed help he’d buy you a house. – [Narrator] Nelson
Story eventually settled in Bozeman, Montana and became its
first millionaire with interest not
only in cattle, but flour mills, banks,
stores and real estate. He was a good friend
to John Bozeman, who by 1866 had solidly
established himself in the town that bore his name. – He was involved
in many businesses, he was an entrepreneur, he was involved in
civic activities and he had lots of contacts. – [Narrator] In April 1867, friend and flour
mill owner Tom Cover talked Bozeman into going
to Fort C.F. Smith with him to secure government contracts. Bozeman had serious
misgivings about the trip, but after much pressuring he finally agreed to go. – The Gallatin Valley
is already in a panic in spring 1867 when John Bozeman and Tom Cover set out to go to
Fort C.F. Smith. That spring there were
rumors of Indian threats that would come
over the mountains and attack into the
Gallatin Valley. So John Bozeman was very
apprehensive about this trip. – We’re standing in Cady Coulee. The Yellowstone River is
300 yards that direction. This is kind of an interesting
place in Montana history. It’s told that Bozeman
had a bad feeling about what was going to
happen in front of him. They stop here in this
coulee, right where we are, very close here, to have lunch. While they were eating lunch, five Piegan Indians showed up. They signaled that they were
hungry and they wanted to eat. They came into camp. They were offered food. At that time the
Indians drew their arms and killed Bozeman. (guns firing) His partner was still armed and fought his way
and hid in the brush and escaped. – [Narrator] Upon hearing
of Bozeman’s death, Nelson Story sent one of his
men to the scene of the crime to look around. He reported that there
were no signs of Indians or Indian pony tracks
around Cady Coolie. Cover’s wound was said
to have powder burns which could have
been self-inflicted. This led some to believe
Cover himself killed Bozeman. Others pointed to business
foes or jealous husbands. But Indian culprits remain the
most plausible explanation. (somber music) A burial party soon arrived and John Bozeman, age 32, was interred on the spot,
next to the Yellowstone River. Two years later Nelson Story
had Bozeman’s body dug up and reinterred at
the Story family plot at Sunset Hills Cemetery
in Bozeman, Montana. His marker stands to this day and the questions about
his death still swirl. – So he died the tragic
young hero of the story, which I think has added
a lot to the ambiance, if you will, the
romance of his persona. If he had lived on, it would have been
interesting to see what he would have
done with his life. – [Narrator] The news
of Bozeman’s death
on April 18, 1867 served to inflame
already smoldering fears that an Indian attack on the
Gallatin Valley was imminent, even though the dominant
tribe in the area was relatively friendly Crow. It raised a such a furor
among Bozeman’s new citizens that the Federal Government
established Fort Ellis just east of town
in August of 1867. Purchases of
provisions by the fort and patronage by
its soldiers in town pumped more than
$30,000 dollars per year into the fledging
Bozeman economy. That’s nearly a half million
dollars in today’s currency. Without Fort Ellis,
the town of Bozeman might not have survived
its formative years. As the travel
season of 1866 ended Red Cloud’s coalition of tribes increasingly attacked areas
around the forts that autumn. They occurred on an
almost daily basis. – It begins this slow
bleeding process. You would see Indians
around the hills every day. (wagons rattling) You’d send out wood cutting
parties to go cut the wood, the Indians and them
would clash in the woods. You would send out parties to
take out stock, to graze them, Indians would attack and
capture what stock they could. It was just continual
hit and run tactics. And those would continue,
really, throughout the fall. – Although they knew that
these forts had been built, some of them would
be impenetrable, but they knew that they could
attack the supply wagons and they could
continue to harass anybody who was coming
into the region. And that was basically the plan. – And that’s what led, basically
to the Fetterman Fight, it was also the result of
the Wagon Box Fight later on, the need for wood. (bugle call) – [Narrator] At Fort
Phil Kearny, during
the autumn of 1866, Carrington’s officers included
Lieutenant George Grummond, Captain Tenodor Ten
Eyck, Captain Fred Brown, and Captain James Powell. Captain Brown was obsessed
with chasing down Indians, which he did on a regular basis. Powell was a grizzled veteran who worked his way
up through the ranks. He suffered from lead poisoning with musket balls still in
his body from the Civil War. Grummond was a hot head who
would dash into any battle. And Ten Eyck was in poor health after time spent in a
Civil War prison camp. These officers were in
charge of an Infantry and Cavalry comprised of
fairly green recruits, poorly armed with mostly
single-shot muskets and untested in Indian warfare. Even the officers, good soldiers during the
Civil War, were unprepared for the guerilla tactics
of the Sioux alliance in the unfamiliar and
unforgiving landscape of the Powder River Country. But they were soon
joined by one more. Captain William J. Fetterman was a rising star in the military. A decorated Civil War officer, he was in-line for a promotion, possibly the new commander
of Fort Phil Kearny or Fort C.F. Smith. – They were thrilled when
Fetterman showed up at the fort because that was the
moment when they knew that they could start to
professionalize militarily. (shouting) He was such a high
ranking officer, had such great administration and leadership
skills from the war that they knew that he
would be able to come in and bring some discipline to what they felt
was the disorder of having to build
rather than protect, which is what they were
gonna have to be ready to do. – On December 21st, they
sent out a wood train. It was the last wood train they were going to send
out for the season. – [Narrator] On
this particular day Red Cloud’s coalition would
attempt to decoy the military over Lodge Trail Ridge and down into the draws
and gullies below. There, 1,500
warriors lay hidden, ready to spring the trap. – [Bob] The Indians knew
the terrain very well. And they knew where
they could hide and the soldiers
wouldn’t see them. – The signal came from
up in the signal hill that wood train
was under assault and so a relief column
was put together and they took so many
from various companies, mostly a lot of them from
Fetterman’s personal company. Then Fetterman, by
right of seniority, wanted the captainship. – [Narrator] Under cloudy skies and fairly mild temperatures, Fetterman and 49 infantry moved out on that
winter’s solstice day to support the wood train. They were overtaken shortly
by 27 cavalry riders led by Grummond and Brown. Two civilians,
Wheatley and Fisher, accompanied the cavalry,
eager to try out their new Henry 16-shot
repeating rifles. The Cavalry carried seven-shot
Spencer repeating carbines. Fetterman’s soldiers
were armed only with obsolete Springfield
muzzle loaders. Before Fetterman
left, Carrington
supposedly gave orders not to cross Lodge Trail Ridge because the rest of the company wouldn’t be able to
support such a move. (ominous music) – So Fetterman comes
out with his 80 men. Fetterman, and
Grummond, and Brown. All of a sudden, once they
got out of the fort here, and came around to the front, they could see the signal
down on Pilot Hill saying, wood train’s not
under attack anymore. It’s safe. Fetterman was a
Civil War veteran. And whenever there were
changing battle scenarios, that changed the orders. And you didn’t have time
to go get permission. He’s too good an officer
to just disobey orders because he didn’t like
his commanding officer. Or because he was arrogant and a fire eater like
he’s been portrayed. He was not like that. – [Narrator] Crazy
Horse, American Horse and a handful of others attempted to lure the other
soldiers over the ridge. Red Cloud may have been watching the plan unfold from a
high vantage point nearby. – Fetterman does
go over the ridge. Grummond and the
cavalry went over first. So, he hears what’s
happening over the ridge, likely knew that
there was activity, great activity happening
over the ridge. And, in my opinion,
he went over the ridge to relieve Grummond and the
cavalrymen who were ahead. – They had no idea
there were 1,500 Indians waiting in a well-staged ambush. (guns firing, men shouting) And they didn’t understand
the Indians’ abilities to stage an ambush like that, to create a strategic
and tactical scenario. – [Narrator] Hearing
gunfire back at the fort, a relief column of infantry
led by Tenodor Ten Eyck was quickly organized. They marched to a ridge
south of the battle to get a view of the conflict. – It started to die
down by the time Ten Eyck reached the
ridge above the look down and all he saw was Indians and what they said
looked like white logs, which were the bodies,
stripped bodies. It was over very quick, and in a very complete victory. – [Narrator] All 81
men were wiped out and their bodies mutilated in a perfectly executed attack. Brown had a bullet
through his temple, possibly self-inflicted or perhaps a mercy
killing by Fetterman. American Horse claimed to have
personally killed Fetterman. The bodies were mutilated because of spiritual
beliefs that a maimed enemy would be weaker when met
again in the afterlife. Only Adolph Metzger, the bugler, was left intact and covered
reverently with a buffalo robe. The Indians later claimed
that he was honored for his extreme bravery
during the battle, in the end, even using his bugle as a weapon to defend himself. – This was the most
successful strategic plan that any of the Plains
Indians had ever pulled off. – [Narrator] As troops went
out to retrieve the bodies after the Fetterman Massacre,
(melancholy music) the temperature plunged, the winds spiked and
snow began to swirl. A blizzard was on the way. Back at the fort, it was
feared that the stockade itself might be assailed
by the Indians. So a plan was made
should an attack occur. The remaining soldiers
would defend the fort, while women and
children would be sent to the ammunition
magazine for safety. If a breach of
the fort occurred, the magazine would be blown up, rather than subjecting them to the mutilation seen
on the battlefield. (hammering on wood) – Listening to the carpenters making coffins for the
soldiers while it’s subzero and just the abject
misery and not hearing, because they don’t
have telegraph, not knowing whether anybody even knows what
their situation is. I can’t imagine the
tension and stress of the people who
remained in the fort. – [Narrator] Under these
dire circumstances, Carrington asked for
civilian volunteers to ride with news
of the massacre and plea for reinforcements. John “Portugee”
Phillips stepped forward and later that evening
of December 21st, began a journey to the
Horseshoe Station telegraph, near present day
Glendo, Wyoming, about 190 miles away. Persevering bitterly
cold temperatures and driving wind-blown snow, he arrived on Christmas morning and sent a message of the
disaster to Ft. Laramie. Phillips then continued another
40 miles to Ft. Laramie, arriving late that night
during a festive military ball. Due to the continuing
foul weather, full reinforcements didn’t
depart until January 6th. But an attack on Fort Phil
Kearny never happened. Phillips, near total collapse, recuperated in the post
hospital for two weeks. His legendary ride
lives on to this day. In January of 1867,
(wind blowing) there was another ride
through difficult conditions. Because of army reorganization, Colonel Carrington had new
orders to report to Fort Caspar. He was accompanied
by his wife Margaret and a contingent of soldiers as they braved their
way through snow, wind and temperatures
near 40 below. – Colonel Carrington
(somber music) and all of his remaining
men from his battalion have to march
through this blizzard with their wives and
spouses and families to get out of the
Bozeman Trail area. Men lost their feet, the wives described the agony
of riding in these ambulances, freezing, trying to burn wood. – [Narrator] In the
aftermath of the Massacre, Henry Carrington faced
Courts of Inquiries, Congressional Hearings
and Special Commissions all looking into what happened. There was false evidence and
subterfuge from all quarters. – There’s multiple
year-long investigations from the Army and from Congress and from the Office
of Indian Affairs, trying to figure
out what happened. All of these studies started
initially to point at Colonel Carrington and
his weak leadership. – [Narrator] Carrington
defended himself by blaming Fetterman
for disobeying orders not to cross
Lodge Trail Ridge and portrayed him as
generally reckless. Over the years historians
would amplify the story of an ambitious and
reckless Fetterman. They would attribute an
infamous quote to him, “With 80 men I could
ride through the
entire Sioux Nation.” But whether he ever
uttered that phrase, or whether that famous order not to cross Lodge Trail Ridge ever reached Fetterman’s ears, is still disputed to this day. General Ulysses S. Grant moved to court-martial
Carrington, but at the suggestion
of his friend, General William T. Sherman, a court of inquiry
exonerated Carrington, and later an investigation by the Department
of the Interior found no culpability. In 1908 Henry Carrington and
his second wife, Frances, were honored in
Sheridan, Wyoming. Carrington spoke
at the Fetterman
Massacre site memorial, still blaming Fetterman
for the disaster. He died at the
age of 88 in 1912. – All along he felt like
he was wrongfully blamed. He spent his entire adult life trying to clear his reputation. – [Narrator] The result
of the Fetterman Massacre, what the Indians called, The Battle of the
Hundred in the Hand, made emigrant travel
impossible after 1866. The threat of attack
was simply too great. For the next two years, the Bozeman Trail became a
military road between the forts. In July 1867, after
their annual sun dance, Sioux, Cheyenne and
Arapaho warriors decided to attack soldiers
around Fort C.F. Smith and Fort Phil Kearny. Red Cloud was again
instrumental in the planning. The ensuing Hayfield
and Wagon Box fights took place just one day apart,
August 1st and 2nd, 1867. In these fights,
about 30 armed men fighting from behind barricades defended themselves against
hundreds of Indians. Both engagements had
the same outcome. In the Wagon Box fight,
near Fort Phil Kearny, Captain James Powell
commanded just 30 soldiers against nearly 400 Sioux
and Cheyenne warriors, led by Red Cloud. (guns firing) The battle lasted over eight
hours until help arrived. – The Indians made
their initial charge. And their idea normally
would have been to charge the corral and
at about 100, 150 yards the Indians would duck
behind their horse. That’s when they expected
the soldiers to shoot. The Indians would jump up and then put the gas
on and jump the wagons and kill the soldiers
inside the corral. (shouting) – [Narrator] The
short, stout Indian bow was primarily used from
horseback during buffalo hunts. Deadly at short range, these weapons were not very
effective at a distance. – The soldiers, instead
of having muzzle loaders, now had breech-loading
Allin conversions. All they had to do was
pop up breech open, insert a new round in and
close the breech and shoot. So, unlike the muzzle loader, which could fire about
two rounds a minute, these could fire closer
to ten rounds a minute. That was a real shock to the warriors that
were charging the corral because they were expecting
the soldiers to be delayed, muzzle loading their rifles. Instead they fired again and
they fired again and again. The Indians broke
off their assault. – The Battle at the Hayfield,
the Wagon Box Fight, and I think in
those engagements, the Lakota people went
away in bewilderment. – [Narrator] The Wagon
Box and Hayfield Fights were the last major
engagements of Red Cloud’s war. The outcome of the battles
discouraged native warriors from attempting additional
large-scale attacks against government forces. And so, for the
remainder of 1867, the Lakota and their
allies concentrated on small-scale, hit-and-run
attacks along the Bozeman Trail. (fiddle music) – By 1868, with the
completion of the railroad across southern Wyoming, the trail was no longer needed. It was built for a shortcut and a cheap way to get people from the Oregon Trail
to Virginia City, but now they had a railroad that went clear across
the United States and they could go straight
north from Brigham City, Utah. It was a shorter route
and an easier route to get into those gold fields, so they abandoned
the Bozeman Trail. – [Narrator] In
the Spring of 1868, a peace conference was
convened at Fort Laramie by the U.S. Government. Slowly Cheyenne, Arapaho and
Sioux leaders filtered in. But there were problems. – They really couldn’t find
any Indians to sign the treaty. Red Cloud said, I’ll sign
it once the forts are gone. I’ll come in and sign it. That was his ultimatum, close the Bozeman Trail,
get rid of the forts, and then I’ll sign your treaty – [Narrator] Finally, the
United States Government agreed. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 called for the abandonment of
all three Bozeman Trail Forts and the Bozeman
Trail itself closed. The Indians quickly destroyed
the abandoned forts, those symbols of
U.S. military power. Their victory, they
thought, was complete. But in reality, it was
the beginning of the end. – The way the treaty read
was that all the land between Yellowstone River
and North Platte River, the Big Horn Mountains
and the Black Hills would become unceded
Indian territory where the Indians could live and hunt and continue their
culture as it always had been, as long as the buffalo existed to support that style of living. That was a pretty good treaty, from the sounds of
it for the Indians, especially for the Lakota
and Cheyenne and Arapaho. The problem and the
negative part of the treaty was that up until this point the Lakota had not had Indian
agencies or reservations, and the treaty created those. – I think the Indians
successfully made their point, that we do not want any
permanence in our country. And from their perspective,
you bet they won. You bet they did. So in 1868, they think that they’ve closed
the Bozeman Trail, they’re rid of the forts. They thought they
defended that land and had proved their point, and it was now theirs. – This land along the
Bozeman Trail area would become what they
call unceded Indian land. That means that it’s
kind of hunting land, they can use it, but it’s
not part of a reservation. It hasn’t been given
to the Indians, the Indians are being
allowed to use it. For 8 years, from 1868 to 1876, there was this land was
pretty much unceded. The legal thing was that
they put in a clause that said that this was land that the Indians
could move unopposed and use as land for
hunting and living for so long as the game
shall justify the chase. Well, by the mid 1870s, the buffalo were getting
pretty well decimated. And so they basically declared that the game no longer
justified the chase and it’s time to
go to reservation. – Red Cloud was
still adamant about the changes in the treaty
he didn’t agree to. I have said three or four times that the document that
you have before you is not the document
that I agreed to. I did not agree to this treaty. – [Narrator] After his success in closing down
the Bozeman Trail, Red Cloud became a spokesperson and advocate for his people, traveling to Washington
DC on numerous occasions. He would fight no more. Towards the end of his life he saw the desperation
of his people and spoke to President Grant. – [Red Cloud] Now we are melting
like snow on the hillside while you are growing
like spring grass. – [Narrator] Red Cloud died
on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1909. He was 87 years old. He is revered to this
day as a bold warrior, a superb military
tactician, a gifted orator, and an esteemed
statesman for his people. With the discovery of gold
(somber music) in the Black Hills of
South Dakota in 1874, a new influx of gold seekers
broke provisions of the treaty which led to the Great
Sioux War of 1876. The defeat of Custer at the
Battle of the Little Big Horn was the final Indian victory. Soon afterwards, a reorganized and
re-energized U.S. military with superior resources
spread out over the land. They forced the Native
Americans to surrender, primarily by attacking and
destroying their encampments and property. – I think for a while the
Indians thought they could win, but they didn’t understand
the industrial force behind, the institutions of the army was endless, limitless. – [Narrator] In just 15 years since the beginning
of the Bozeman Trail, the traditional nomadic hunting culture
of the Plains Indians was coming to an end. A culture that had
thrived for 10,000 years was now about to change forever. (majestic music) What began with gold,
ended with gold, a heavy substance
the nomadic tribes did not consider
useful or valuable. But this glittering prize
that eluded most miners motivated John Bozeman to find a different way to
cash in on the fever. And in doing so, led not
only to his own demise, but a stunning Indian victory, the disgrace of a
military colonel and the ascendance
of a Lakota warrior. In the end this ancient
travel corridor, rediscovered by John
Bozeman and others, led to a diminished
Indian presence, a surge in
Euro-American population and the emergence
of two new states. Eventually this
road less traveled gave rise to towns and cities, roads and highways, reservations and public lands that have shaped this
part of the American West to this day. Production of “The Bozeman
Trail: A Rush to Montana’s Gold” Was made possible in part by
The Big Sky Film Grant. A Grant from Humanities
Montana, an affiliate of The National Endowment
for the Humanities. And funding from the Wyoming
Humanities Council Helping Wyoming take a closer
look at life through the
humanities. This project was also made
possible with support of The Gilhousen Family Foundation. The Rocky Mountain Power
Foundation, a division of
PacifiCorp. And grants from the Wyoming
Cultural Trust Fund. A program of the department of
State Parks and Cultural
Resources. The Greater Montana Foundation, Encouraging communication on
issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans. And, the Wyoming Community
Foundation. Connecting people who care with
causes that matter, to build a better Wyoming.

Comments 100

  • Hard times to stay alive in back then, very hard winters, buffalo numbers dropping, Indian attacks. Hard on the Indians also, I grew up around Billings and Whitefish, Montana. I was just a kid 3-4 years old but still remember alot, in spring it felt so good to feel the sun, I would just lay back in the snow and enjoy it

  • 19:20 what greed and idleness of man produces: distruction

  • The American Indians have never stopped beating their collective chests over Custer's death and the "Battle of the Greasy Grass". Ok by me. I'll drink to that. 1876 By the way, in Montana it is called a crek. Sounds like trek.

  • An Immigrant Caravan.

  • This needs to be ; unfiltered; permanently in America ‘s history books. No matter what the ‘Christians’ say. Including all future and previous details .

  • The story of the extermination, subjugation and imprisonment of the Native American.

  • They came to this land, settled, and when other Indians pushed them back they fought. Indian on Indian. Now we are bad , because we came and won ? That’s the way it works. Always has !

  • REAL HISTORY: The Bozeman Trail did not go through Lakota (Sioux) land at all. The Lakota were invaders on Crow (who sided with the US Government) and Shoshone land and fought those tribes as well. The Bozeman Trail went through mostly Crow land and Shoshone land. Read some books, learn some real history. The Sioux were invaders of other tribe's lands and when they complain about being taken over, they prove to be hypocrites.

  • This is so slanted. Treaties were broken by BOTH sides. Not real history. Give us a break.

  • Liberal production. So one sided. Not the entire truth.

  • 19:27 – the buffalo ate the lush grass as well and it is a documented fact that Indians set fires to the plains….

  • 19:56 – and the Indians killed buffalo without purpose as well. Read the book "Son of the Morning Star".

  • If I was a Crow Indian, I would voice my disagreement with this propaganda. This was Crow land, not Sioux land. Sioux were invaders. The Sioux homeland was further to the east, in the Dakotas.

  • The City of Bozeman, Montana is being ruined bout out of staters. It is no longer considered Montana by Montanans but 'BozAngelas'.

  • 43:15 – I will agree about Chivington's disregard and hatred in this documentary. He was a fool and a scoundrel. I detest him.

  • 44:38 – and that is honorable? Wow….

  • 46:58 – he may be part Indian, but he is mostly a wannabe Indian.

  • 49:10 – these photos are not of the Bozeman Trail but of the expedition into the black hills. This documentary has been using photos that are not accurate for what it is claiming. Just thought I would mention that.

  • 49:28 – that is not even Sioux land. Maybe Cheyenne and Arapaho were even further to the South. This was not their land to begin with as they stole it from other tribes so they should not be so angry.

  • 56:05 – have faith in God, but carry firearms….

  • 101:25 – I do know that Bozeman was killed not by Indians but fellow whitemen because John Bozeman liked to screw around with other men's wives. But it was blamed on Indians.

  • Much of the destruction of the buffalo and the land was deliberate, designed to force the Native people to move away to find game and undisturbed land. While the Native people had a strong claim to these lands, it must be remembered that constant infighting among the People caused a shifting 'ownership', often bloody and vicious fighting decided who had a right to the land. The 'Whites' were more numerous and better armed, while it doesn't excuse the slaughter and displacement of the locals, it was just a continuation of the traditional way land was 'claimed'. When Native peoples drove off competitors they were satisfied to just take possession, and rarely engaged in genocide…

  • i would like to watch this but it is by pbs and i have no faith in them so maybe in the future their will be a more truthful history source

  • Even though I disagree with certain parts of this documentary, I will say that this documentary is the best documentary I have seen about the Bozeman trail. And I am willing to admit that the Natives got screwed in the end. Even thought this was not Lakota land, but Crow.

  • Sadly it doesn't take the federal government any more to steal away a man's land. Local politicians find any reason they can to increase their tax revenue. They tell private individuals you can't do this or you can't do that but then allow rich developers to any thing they want.

  • John Bozeman abandoned his wife and children, murdered native men, women, and children, and stole from white settlers. A great American hero.

  • Did a wagon cost $600-$800 in today's money? because in 1860 money that would be $18,000 today.

  • What a true history lesson from folks that I believe thanks

  • Oh gee let Me tell my side of the astory.. The Military handed out Prayer and Blessings to the Native Americans and the Native American used Their Guns to Murder Them all. Too bad this Biased Video Report is for the Military and does Not contain very much Truth. Just like a white man to lie because they have forked tongues !!!

  • Outstanding doc. I had no idea of the history in that area. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wagon train at 48:57 is not the Carrington Train, as implied, but is the well-known William Illingworth photo of the 1874 Custer Expedition to the Black Hills with the wagon train in the Castle Creek Valley in the Black Hills. If you search on "Custer Expedition Castle Creek," the photo can be found on many sites, including the Wikipedia page on the Black Hills Expedition. It is also the cover of the excellent "Exploring with Custer" then-and-now book by Ernest Graffe and Paul Horsted.

  • 👨‍💻Coming up NEXT Route 66 😳👨‍🔬 Underneath the bitchumen 😳🤷‍♂️ 😆🤠

  • Keep them coming friend

  • One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. The US government's attitude regarding expansion was part of "eminent domain" (the god given right to own the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean)

  • Such a crock making up a fake biography for Red Cloud. There WAS NO leader of the native people and tribes that brought them together. Not even Sitting Bull could do that. Among the Lakota and Cheyenne, Red Cloud was known to be a malingerer and a loaf about the fort sell out to the white eyes. The leader in each tribe was the tribal holy man. For the Lakota that would be Crazy Horse. PBS always gets their history wrong.

  • The military CAUSED the "Indian Wars". They were a bunch of blood thirsty bored soldiers with no purpose after the civil war so they went west to drum up some excitement by inciting violence. Just like the 21st Century endless wars.

  • You are good for public work

  • These events are so critical in the formulation of the USA, it's root values and methods. Tragically the lack of respect for the indigenous peoples has lead the USA to the brink of destruction, as a world power today.
    Today the USA is a parasitic nation, dependent upon other nations, external resources. The forests are long gone, as too the mineral wealth, the soils stripped, buried, poisoned. The air rank with fallout, chemicals and particulates. Industry is truly at fault, becoming a ravenous beast consuming the land, water and air. GDP is not the best measure of civilisation, but is a good measure of decline. The more you chase those figures, the faster you run down that slope. Time to level out and find new ways to meet human needs.

  • I wonder if there are any Boltzmann brains on the Bozeman Trail.

  • Great information.

  • I was born and raised in Western Montana. Since then, I have lived in eleven countries and have worked in at least eighty. I have viewed every major mountain range on earth, and I have breathed the air virtually everywhere north of Antarctica. With that as a basis, I must say that God may get his mail in Heaven, but he lives in Montana.

  • A good well informed documentary film, thank you.As usual in your aggressive history your a more then a bit one sided "Whiteman sided " that is! Just hope the remaining brave Indian nation people take you all to court for breaking over 20-30 agreements made with you intruders, immigrants and the Indian nations and tribes..with your present nasty government.

  • 'The tall men', 'Lonesome Dove', 'Caribou trail'. All about the Bozeman trail cattle drives. The story never gets old. btw, spell checker wants you to replace Bozeman with Boogieman, how appropriate.

  • Kinda shaped like part of a bear head

  • 1492 Homeland Security

  • I have been to the site a couple of times now and once journeyed on to Fort Fetterman historical site. It was managed by a couple named the Fettermans. (no direct decendancy from him, since he had no children. My last name is Ten Eyck. For the first time since 1868 (I'm pretty sure) a Ten Eyck and a Fetterman met in Wyoming.

  • I'd love to be able to get on a horse and reride the whole trail just like the settlers did back then and see and experience the country back then that would be so cool to do that here

  • 21:02 . So the Lakota take over of the crow was ok it is natural for the larger tribe to take the others land ! just not the largest tribe ( the settlers ) ! Then it a culture clash !!! Socialist propaganda !

  • It's called GRRED

  • America Gold Rushers Cheated And Lied
    To The Indians 99% Of The Times!! The Government
    Had Many Liers and Broke Treatys Yearly!!!!!

  • PBS =PUBLIC BULLSHIT SPREADERS.

  • Sure sounds like another anti white American documentary in far too many spots. The Indians warred and genocided themselves. So lay off the bias perspective and give the audience a break

  • Weird how a few does wrong and the whole race gets blamed for it. There was devil worshiping on every side.

  • EXCELLENT PRESENTATION OF HISTORY

  • It'd be nice to know why they keep calling settlers "immigrants". But it's PBS, so I think we all understand.

  • Tremendous documentary. Bravo

  • This would have been a lot better documentary if it wasn't for all the Native American crybaby s***

  • This was a great video but has almost nothing to do with the title "…Montana Gold". I can't believe the speaker doesen't know the difference between Cavalry and Calvary. Thumbs up on a well made video.

  • i live i hour from the golden triangle victoria ballarat au largest gold nuggets in world found there

  • I love that all these herds of Hereford cattle not commonly found in America until the 20th century. My date was wrong Hereford cattle would be perfectly plausible there

  • 60 million bison slaughtered and we still have global fart warming

  • Ah the trail didn’t begin in Casper. It began at Fort Fetterman, 45 miles east of Casper, next to Douglas.

  • My precious baby boy was born in this place.. He will know wagon trains and immigrants, greedy murderous white men, were not the important history of this beautiful land.. He will know that the Natives wanted peace.. He will grow up knowing that for the "trailblazers", for the greedy, murderous white men, peace was not to be had.. How different would our lives be had they respected and followed the way of the ones that were slaughtered, their homes stolen.. This is much like Museum of the Rockies.. A tiny section on the true history of the Valley of Flowers.. Anyone associated with this film should be ashamed.. Abject misery? Unfortunately they never felt abject misery the way the keepers of this land felt it.. Shameful.. A disgrace..

  • It sure was a lot easier to move here by car and truck 26 years ago. It's hard to imagine coming to Montana in a covered wagon… Alistair Cooke (a British man) did a TV series in 1976 that detailed it all. A MUST watch for history buffs.

  • gold+man=greedx(curse)

  • The Indians were on our land when we got here.

  • I walked a bit of the Bozeman Trail once, I miss the Big Sky.

  • What an excellent documentary.

  • LIE ,LIE, LIE THERE WAS NEVER A FIGHT MUCH LESS A TERRIBLE MASSACUE AT FORT LARAMIE, IT IS MY HOME AND I WILL TELL YOU AS I DID MY HISTORY TEACHER IN 1970 THIS IS A LIE. LOOK @ WHAT IS STATED @3:05 LIES, LIES, LIES! OUR HISTORY BOOKS WERE SAYING THIS BACK THEN EVEN! THIS WORLD IS DUE FOR DISTRUCTION AS IT IS FULL OF THE SAME LIES!!!

  • THIS IS PROPAGANDA LOOK AT 48:25  THE FORT LARMIE WAS NEVER LIKE THIS IT WAS NEVER A FORTIFICATION AT ALL! THE ONE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HONERED IN THE JOHN PORTUGEE PHILLIPS RIDE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE HORSE HE ROAD MORE THAN J(P) PHILLIPS!!!

  • for those of you who live in a hectic place,house,town or life is just to much, to you i offer a few days sitting on my patio to find yourself again. looking west that is all there is west, and big sky. i am Cherokee and i am veteran and i am your friend. yahusha

  • this is where my uncle retired to…he said it is the most beautiful country in the country…love him and love his opinion..would love to see it

  • Just wish you called this what it is: a documentary. Different expectations…

  • HOW OUTRAGEOUS THE AMERICAN NATIVES OWN THE LAND AND THESE WAGONS WERE OF FOREIGNERS HERE TO STEAL THEIR LAND….WERE GOVERNMENT LIES BACK THEN AND TODAY ITS MSM AND GOVERNMENT FOREIGN AGENTS WANTING ILLEGALS HERE TO DO THE SAME THING "HISTORY TELLS THE FUTURE"…..

  • Liberal perspective had to be ignored to enjoy the scenery and central story.

  • there's certainly something mystical about Montana traveling through that part of the country a few times I found the people of Montana to be proud of their state almost like Texans

  • The Absa (Crow) were outcasted Hidatsa from the North. The Powder River Country was Lakota.

  • calvary?

  • forgot to add, millions of indians killed! poor account on history. totally one sided.

  • new comers that feel they're entitled to what belongs to someone else , a tragedy

  • Chivingon, Connor… such characters are just the 19th century version of no good wife beater/rapists, small time drug dealers, violent offenders of today. The kind of bullshit people nobody needs, who are just a pest and end up with some power entirely by mistake.

  • "A culture that had existed for 10,000 years" The northern plains tribes had horses for less than a hundred years at that point in history!

  • The Narator repetadly says ‘ calvary ‘ instead of cavalry.

  • Indians loved to burn up fields, and some forests. Let's not forget that. Of course, in many ways that is a good thing for the health of nature.

  • Typically American,steal someone else"s land and wealth,then blame them for their own demise.

  • This program is a testament to the brutal murder of the native american's and it continues today in the name of greed. A legacy my ancestor's where not part of and a history to be ashamed of

  • I love Montana. Been to Bozeman many times. Beautiful.

  • Did John Bozeman never send for his family? How many years did he spend in Bozeman without his wife and children?

  • What sort of fool leaves his horses a half mile from camp without putting them under guard? A horse was worth far more than a man under those circumstances and their carelessness is inexplicable. They should have captured and hanged the horse thieves. Stealing a horse in the age before the combustion engine was tantamount to murder and needed to be punished without mercy. " There are men who just need killin', but no horse ever needed stealing." Texas proverb on why horse thieves are hanged.

  • The land that the Lakota claimed they themselves seized from more sedentary plains tribes. So their claim to the land is a war claim and they can and did lose those lands in the same way they took them. To the victor go the spoils of war. The sioux can have whatever land we choose to allow them…period. When the natives can destroy The United States and The Great White Father in Washington, then they will get their land back as spoils of war…just as they lost them as spoils of war. "Vae Victus"…woe to the vanquished. Until that time they will conform to our laws if the wish to have any part of those lands. Antagonizing a superior culture and military force is either an act of desperation of follhardyness. Remember also that these lands were purchased or won in war with both France and Spain and Mexico….so all the tribes were squatting on new American territory.

  • "End of traditional way of life". It was end of possibility to live Life for thousands. These programs never say what history books bring up, that the U.S. wanted to over run the plains with shear volume of whites to help solve the "Indian Question".

  • The Fetterman Massacre was on my birthday, that I share with Jane Fonda, Chris Everett Lloyd, and Paul Winchell.

  • In the book, The Long Death, Fetterman was quoted as saying :Give me 80 men aad I'll ride through the whole Sioux nation." As the author notes, "While the entire Sioux nation wasn't behind the ridge, there was enough to test his theory."

  • Great job! Enjoyed the video!

  • I am with the Indians

  • 1.15 – 1.20 – "Gold rushes in themselves have a nature of speed" – no shit Miss Marple

  • If China or Middle Eastern people had settled the land here in USA would they have cared about the Indians?

  • fake ass crows.. crows are what color again?

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