Highlights of our Itinerary
OCTOBER 11: arrive Billings, Montana, check into the Boothill Inn & Suites (free airport shuttle). We’ll kick things off Monday night (7:00pm) with a pizza/beer/wine reception. Meet your host & tour guide, pick up your map packet and other registration info, and hear an orientation talk by Neil to set the stage for the rest of the week.
OCTOBER 12: breakfast at the hotel (included). 8:15 a.m. bus departure. First stop, Canyon Creek Battlefield (Flight of the Nez Perce). Lunch stop in Hardin, Montana (we'll picnic at the Big Horn County Museum, then tour the museum). First stop after lunch: a quick drive up the bluffs to see the site of Fort Custer, established in 1877). For the balance of the afternoon, we’ll explore the site of the Hayfield Fight, the Connor Battlefield (on the Tongue River near present-day Ranchester, Wyoming) and Sawyer’s fight (where the Bozeman Trail crossed the Tongue). Last, we’ll examine General George Crook’s campsite, before checking into our hotel in Sheridan. Dinner on your own. Lodging for the next three nights will be at the Holiday Inn, Sheridan Convention Center (included in registration).
OCTOBER 13: breakfast at the hotel (included). 8:15 a.m. bus departure. First stop, a rare visit to the Dull Knife Battlefield, where Col. Ranald Mackenzie with over 1,000 cavalry and Indian scouts attacked a Cheyenne village on the Red Fork of Powder River, on November 25, 1876. Box lunch provided. Other stops on this day: Fort Reno ruins on the Powder River, and a visit to the site of the Templeton fight, July 20, 1866, on the Bozeman Trail. Overnight in Sheridan (Holiday Inn, Sheridan Convention Center). Dinner on your own.
OCTOBER 14: breakfast at the hotel (included). 8:15 a.m. bus departure. On this day we’ll visit the incomparable Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, in Buffalo, Wyoming, followed by a stop at the historic Fort Phil Kearny Museum. After lunch in Sheridan (on your own), Neil will conduct the group on walking tours of the Fetterman Battlefield, and the Wagon Box Fight. From there, we’ll retire to our Sheridan hotel (Holiday Inn, Sheridan Convention Center). Dinner on your own.
OCTOBER 15: After breakfast in Sheridan (included with the hotel), we'll depart at 8:15am and go directly to the pristine Rosebud Battlefield, the critical prelude to the Little Bighorn. Due to time constraints, we'll walk to the Buffalo Jump area of the park (foregoing the much longer hike up Crook's Hill). Upon departing Rosebud, we'll follow the Tongue River Road to the Wolf Mountain Battlefield, where Crazy Horse attacked General Miles in the last major combat of the Great Sioux War. We'll eat box lunches (included with registration) at Wolf Mountain. From there, we'll travel to Lame Deer, the tribal and government agency headquarters of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. There, we'll visit the site of the Lame Deer Fight, and pay respects at the graves of Dull Knife and Little Wolf. At nearby Busby, we'll visit the grave of celebrated Cheyenne Chief Two Moon. Next, Neil will conduct us as close as the bus can get to the Crow's Nest, the vantage point in the Wolf Mountains from which Custer's scouts first spied the Indian pony herd in the Little Bighorn Valley. Our route then takes us down Reno Creek to the Little Bighorn, where we'll spend the balance of the afternoon covering Reno's Valley Fight. At the end of the afternoon, we'll return to the Boothill Inn in Billings to check into our rooms.
OCTOBER 16: LAST DAY NOTE: if you are not going to be staying over at the Boothill Inn at the close of the tour Saturday night, you'll need to check out of your room and either have the hotel keep your bags in secure storage, or place them in the storage area of our bus. If you ARE staying, you'll need to make arrangements with the hotel to keep your room one more night (Saturday night is not included in your registration).
After breakfast at the hotel (included), we'll depart early at 7:15am and drive straight to the Little Bighorn National Monument to get there when the gates open. After a quick stop at the restrooms, our first stop on the battlefield will be the Reno-Benteen Defense Site, at the far end of the National Monument. Over the next four hours, we'll progress from Reno-Benteen to Weir Point, Medicine Tail Coulee, Calhoun Hill and the Keogh Sector, to Last Stand Hill and the Indian Memorial. For lunch, we'll shoot down to the Custer Battlefield Trading Post for some of their delicious Indian Tacos (including in your registration).
After lunch, we'll return to the Visitor Center, and give everyone a couple hours of free time to visit the museum and bookstore, walk down Deep Ravine Trail (or to revisit Last Stand Hill). To close the day, Neil will conduct a walk through Custer National Cemetery to hear some brief talks at the graves of some of Custer's Indian scouts, and other notable figures like Marcus Reno, and William Fetterman. We'll board the bus again at 4:15, to exit the grounds before the gates are locked. On our way back to the hotel, we'll make one more quick stop at the Custer Battlefield Trading Post to peruse their outstanding bookstore (and gift shop). Return to Boothill Inn in Billings.
BONUS: Back at the Boothill Inn, as time permits, we’ll walk across the street to the Boothill Cemetery and hear the story of Muggins Taylor, a scout with Gibbon's column who carried news of the battle to Bozeman. Our stop at Taylor's grave marks the end of our tour. [While you're in the vicinity, make sure to visit the Yellowstone County Museum, not far from our hotel, near the entrance to the airport. It's a small affair, but they have a nice collection. Particularly noteworthy is their collection of Ghost Shirts. Also of interest along the rimrocks trail is the grave of Yellowstone Kelly, overlooking Billings.]
If you're headed to the airport, hotel shuttle or other transportation can be arranged—it is a short distance from the Boothill Inn.
Neil Mangum is one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on the American West, and a highly sought-after guide to the Indian Wars. His long career with the NPS included serving as historian, and later, superintendent at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana, and Chiricahua National Monument & Fort Bowie Historic Site in Arizona. He is the author of the first, in-depth study of the Battle of the Rosebud, and has been leading tours of Northern Plains sites for decades. He’ll be on hand throughout for personal engagement on these fascinating episodes. [Photo: Neil during our 2018 Little Bighorn Battlefield tour, discussing the fighting in the Keogh Sector]
Click HERE to see a slide show from our 2018 Rosebud and Little Bighorn tour with Neil Mangum.
Cheyenne chiefs Little Wolf (Little Coyote), left, and
Morning Star (Dull Knife)
Fetterman Battlefield monument, 20 miles
south of Sheridan, Wyoming
Last Stand Hill, Little Bighorn National Monument
Included in your registration: 5 nights comfortable lodging (if you wish to stay over a 6th night upon our return to Billings, please book that night yourself), breakfast each morning, three lunches (two are on your own), and our opening night pizza/beer/wine reception. Also included, a seat on our state-of-the-art, luxury motor coach, entrance fees to all museums or other pay sites, all tours, professional coordination and assistance by your on-board tour host, and the services of our indispensable, expert guide.
Lodging facilities (included in registration):
Billings: Boothill Inn and Suites (2 nights)
Sheridan: Holiday Inn, Sheridan Convention Center (3 nights)
$1271 per person for double-occupancy shared hotel room (if paying for both, please choose "Qty 2" in the next window)
$1598 for single-occupancy hotel rooms (change the drop-down menu below to select "single occupancy")
To register by personal check or money order, send to:
Woodbury Historical Tours
PO Box 60085
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Photo above: our group visiting the beautiful Rosebud Battlefield in October of 2018.
Neil Mangum, left, emphasizing a point atop Crook's Hill.
Image at top: Photograph of dedication of Fetterman Monument, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
NOTE: all itineraries are subject to change without notice, due to weather, mechanical problems, health concerns, traffic problems, or other unforeseen issues beyond our control.