Crazy Horse & Custer Tour: War on the Great Plains

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I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

– Chief Joseph's October 5, 1877, surrender speech to General Howard

Exclusive New Tour! Saddle up and experience the Great Plains through the eyes of Crazy Horse and George Custer.

On our exclusive new tour through Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana, author, historian, television and motion picture consultant John P. Langellier, Ph.D. will share the stories of Crazy Horse and Custer and others based on more than a half century of passionate study of these legendary figures.

Relive their times and be immersed into the diverse cultures of these determined warriors. Walk the vast lands where buffalo and wild mustangs roamed, the iron horse roared across the tracks, and lonely frontier forts stood as bastions of westward expansion. Return to those exciting days of yesteryear set against the backdrop of history versus Hollywood with screenings and discussions of classic film and TV.

On your time travel to the past, outposts such as Fort Laramie, battlefields including the ill-fated Fetterman Fight and “Last Stand” at Little Big Horn, along with a world class museum visit at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will be among the highlights of this not to be forgotten adventure.

Follow the Exodus of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce

The Crazy Horse & Custer Tour also includes the story of the dramatic trek of the Nez Perce people from the Pacific North West to the Canadian border in their bid for freedom.

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Highlights

  • Fort Laramie
  • Fort Robinson
  • Black Hills
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Deadwood, South Dakota
  • Devils Tower
  • Fort Phil Kearny
  • Bozeman Trail
  • Canyon Creek Battlefield
  • BearTooth Path
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Day-By-Day Itinerary

DAY 1 Welcome

Flight to Denver International Airport (DEN). Guests travel independently to tour hotel. First activity is an evening Welcome Reception followed by dinner.

DAY 2 Fort Laramie, Wyoming

We begin our journey in Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne. The Cheyenne were one of the prominent indigenous peoples tribes of the Great Plains.

Our first visit will be at the Nelson Museum of the West that offers a broad spectrum of older western cultures, cowboy, Charro art, Native American and military aspects of the West are all on exhibit. Continuing on to Fort Laramie, we shadow the Overland Trail along our route. Immigrants, soldiers, miners and ranchers used these trails throughout the 19th century as they ventured westward. Amazingly, the remains of many trail ruts and traces remain in evidence to this day. 

Fort Laramie, at the junction of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers in southeast Wyoming, was a fur trade outpost that later emerged as a military garrison; it played a strategic role in transforming the United States. Indian tribes trading buffalo skins would stop here along with thousands of immigrants bound for Oregon, California, and the Salt Lake Valley until the U.S. Army purchased the post in 1849.

En route to Fort Robinson, we stop to study the location of the “Grattan Fight,” considered to be the opening engagement of the First Sioux War. The late afternoon brings us to Fort Robinson State Park. The former U.S. Army fort and now a major feature amidst more than 22,000 acres of exquisite Pine Ridge scenery and compelling Old West history. The tragedy at Fort Robinson involved a series of harsh relocations forced on the Southern and Northern bands of the Cheyenne.

We conclude the evening with a group dinner followed by a presentation on African American Soldiers on the Frontier in the restored Buffalo Soldier Barracks. Although rustic, guests will be staying in comfortable living accommodations on a frontier army post.

DAY 3 Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, South Dakota

Our first stop this morning will be the site of the “Cheyenne Breakout” and the Fort Robinson Museum.

Afterward, we will visit the Museum of the Fur Trade, which was built on the site of James Bordeaux’s trading post, established for the American Fur Company in 1837. The scale and spectrum of the collection in the museum ranges over 6,000 primary pieces that were collected individually.

Then it’s on to the storied Black Hills, land venerated by the Sioux Nation; later the place where Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry came to explore, spurred by rumors of gold. Its discovery ignited more warfare.

We proceed to Mount Rushmore for lunch and a tour of this sculptured masterpiece. From Mount Rushmore we will stop at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Upon completion, this memorial will depict the great warrior, Crazy Horse, riding and pointing into the distance. Construction began in 1948. Although open to visitors and complete with an 87-foot tall head, the memorial sculpture is far from finished with the scale of its promise to the great Lakota warrior.

Later in the afternoon, we will arrive at our final destination for the day. Deadwood is a city in South Dakota that is known for its rich gold rush and historical Wild West lawlessness. Guests can walk along the charming streets of this nostalgic city where characters such as Calamity Jane and “Wild Bill” Hickok once played a part in the colorful town’s story.

DAY 4 Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming

Our morning will begin at the Buffalo Jump site, known as the Vore. Native Americans used this sinkhole formed by eroded soil as a giant trap to stampede buffalo, their main source of subsistence, off the cliff to their deaths. The Vore has now become an archaeological site full of tons of animal bones, estimating around 20,000 buffalo. This kill site proved important from 1500 to 1800 AD, before the horse became available to the Plains Indians. Discovered in the 1970s, this intriguing window to a bygone way of life in prehistoric times.

Continuing on our way, the next stop will be at the majestic Devils Tower, also known as Mato Tipila, or “Bear Lodge.” We will gaze on the breathtaking volcanic curve that soars a spectacular 1,267 feet into the air. For the Northern Plains Indian Tribes, Devils Tower is more than just a stunning landmark, it is a sacred place. Today, it remains to be a ceremonial site for rituals, sun dances and offerings.

Afterwards, we will depart for Fort Phil Kearny, along the Bozeman Trail. The events that became known as the Fetterman Fight occurred nearly four miles north of this fort. In the summer of 1867, Sioux Chief Red Cloud along with a thousand warriors ambushed Captain William J. Fetterman and his command of soldiers and civilians six miles northwest of the same post, which had been under siege nearly from its establishment during what became known as Red Cloud’s War. Here we will also learn about another clash called the Wagon Box Fight named for soldiers staving off their attackers from behind the protective beds of wagons formed into a makeshift defense work. These battles, a reconstructed section of the ill-fated fort, and the visitor center will give us a glimpse of the dramatic episodes that once disturbed the now tranquil forests and meadows.

As we drive, we will watch a screening of a film on the Powder River War. In the evening, guests will enjoy dinner on their own.

DAY 5 Custer’s Last Stand, Montana

We will begin our travels at the Memorial for The Battle of Rosebud, which occurred on June 17, 1876, between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne Indians and the U.S. Army along with their Shoshone allies.

Next, we will visit the Monument for the momentous battle of Little Bighorn. Fought on June 25, 1876, between the 7th cavalry and Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors, this legendary clash, often referred to as “Custer’s Last Stand” should be a highlight of the day. Not only did Custer lose his life in this cataclysmic fight, but also the warriors annihilated five companies of his 7th cavalry in their greatest victory, but, marked the beginning of the end. In this setting, the battle remains poignant among the true magnificence of colorful fields and a view of a green patch where the Indian more than a century ago the Indian village nestled next to the river there.

En route to lunch we will watch a screening of the silent film, Custer’s Last Fight. We will enjoy our meal at the traditional Garryowen, a pub named after the famous Irish tune. This drinking song was also a limerick beloved by Custer and the song most associated with the regiment. We will stay the night in Billings.

DAY 6 Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce, Montana

We will begin the day with the “Western Trail of Tears,” the story of Chief Joseph and the Nez Pierce and their bid for freedom not long after Little Bighorn. First, we will make a short stop at Billings Riverside Park, where the Nez Pierce warriors stopped along their trails and engaged in a minor scrimmage. Continuing on from what is now a city park to a site much as it was in nearly 150 years ago, we will experience the Canyon Creek Battlefield, a victory for the Nez Perce Indians against the United States. Canyon Creek was the second-to-last battle of the Nez Perce Flight of 1877.

Following our stop at the battlefield, we will venture into more wild wonders of the West. Laurel Riverside Park is a private campground in Montana shaded with giant cottonwood trees on the banks of the Yellowstone river, another place where the Nez Perce passed as they sought sanctuary to the north in Canada.

We will relax for lunch at the Red Lodge. After, we will depart for our first vista point along BearTooth Path, one of the most scenic routes in the world, to view part of the 944,000 acres Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, within Custer, Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests. Driving along Chief Joseph Highway, we will be following the same route taken by Chief Joseph as he led the Nez Perce Indians out of Yellowstone National Park. Dead Indian Hill is another scenic byway on Chief Joseph that should inspire as we conclude the story of the Nez Perce’s flight from the Pacific Northwest home to the Canadian border. From there, it’s on to the town of Cody and the impressive Buffalo Bill Center of the West—five museums under one roof.

Our evening will conclude with a farewell group dinner at the hotel.

DAY 7 Home or Begin Post-Tour Extension

The tour officially ends with one morning dropoff at Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming (COD).

Post-Tour Extension DAY 1 (DAY 7) Your Journey Continues

Instead of ending your tour, choose to continue your study on our optional post-tour extension. Extension guests will depart Cody in the morning traveling to the banks of the Little Bighorn River at Garyowen, Montana, to attend the annual event commemorating the Battle of Little Big Horn Anniversary (June 25, 1876). Guests will observe as the U.S Army’s 7th Cavalry Regiment reenactors and Native Americans portraying Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow and Arikara warriors recreate the battle also called “Battle of the Greasy Grass” and “Custer’s Last Stand.” We will arrive early before the event so you may hear a brief talk by a local guide and mingle with reenactors.

This will be a long day of driving to and from the tour hotel in Cody to attend this unique event.

Extension DAY 2 (DAY 8) - Drop-Off at Cody Airport

The one night extension ends with a morning drop-off at Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming (COD).

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Tour Dates

  • June 21 - 27, 2020
  • Post-tour Extension: Battle of Little Big Horn Reenactment - June 27 - 28, 2020
  • June 2021
  • Post-tour Extension: Battle of Little Big Horn Reenactment - June 2021
Book This Tour

TRIP COST $2,990

Price is per person based on double occupancy. For a single room add $450.

POST-TOUR EXTENSION $490

Price is per person based on double occupancy. For a single room add $80.

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