News & Events

Paul Hedren to speak on the 1876 Battle of the Rosebud

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, May 30, 2019/Categories: Events, Community, Events, Staff, 2019

Black Hills State University’s Leland D. Case Library for Western Historical Studies and the High Plains Western Heritage Center are jointly sponsoring a talk by historian Paul L. Hedren where he will discuss his book, Rosebud, June 17, 1876: Prelude to the Little Big Horn,  Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. in the High Plains Western Heritage Center’s Bruce Miller Theater.

Southeastern Montana Territory, June 17, 1876: "The first significant fighting of the morning occurred in the Gap, below and west of the pronounced high knob from which Sitting Bull watched the action. The Cheyenne warrior Dog (Louis Dog in a later day) told how the cavalry horses and mules grazing the creek bottom were inviting lures as more and more of Crazy Horse's followers poured onto the field. Horses and mules were timeless attractions." So began what was to be a critical battle in the Great Sioux War, as told by historian Paul L. Hedren in his 2019 book, Rosebud, June 17, 1876: Prelude to the Little Big Horn. 
The Battle of the Rosebud was fought between U.S. troops, led by Brigadier General George Crook, and Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors, led by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Two Moon, and others.  Many, including Hedren, consider the near day-long battle to be the largest and perhaps even greatest Indian battle in the American West.  It preceded the Battle of the Little Big Horn by just eight days and occurred only twenty-five miles away. Hedren walks through the details of this critical battle, drawing from a wealth of historical sources such as government reports, newspaper accounts, and recollections from diaries and other personal accounts. He also explores the events leading up to it and the consequences of its outcomes.  Hedren’s aim is to provide multiple viewpoints into the events of that day, adding to our knowledge of the battle and its place in the Great Sioux War.
Hedren retired from the National Park Service in 2007 after serving nearly four decades as a park historian and superintendent variously in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, and Nebraska.  He now devotes his energy to researching and writing Indian wars history, an enthusiasm he discovered growing up in Minnesota in the midst of the battlefields and forts of the Dakota War of 1862.  His special interest is the Sioux War of 1876-77, sometimes called the Custer War, or as often the Black Hills War. He has authored several books and articles on the topic, including two award-winning books, Powder River: Disastrous Opening of the Great Sioux War and After Custer: Loss and Transformation in Sioux Country. He eventually plans to deposit his research papers with Case Library at Black Hills State University.
BHSU’s Case Library and the High Plains Western Heritage Center are pleased to co-sponsor this event. Case Library specializes in the history and culture of the Black Hills region, and of South Dakota and the West more generally.  Holdings relate to topics including Native American studies, frontier military history, pioneer history, the Black Hills National Forest, local area clubs and organizations, mining, late 19th century and early 20th century area photography, and the university’s history. The High Plains Western Heritage Center features a 5-state regional museum founded to honor the Old West pioneers and American Indians of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. The museum showcases artifacts and art relating to pioneering, cattle and sheep ranching, rodeo, transportation, American Indians, and mining. To learn more, visit their websites: and:
The High Plains Western Heritage Center is located at 825 Heritage Drive in Spearfish, South Dakota, near I-90 exit 14. A suggested donation of $5 includes admission to the presentation and museum, refreshments, and a book signing following the talk. Copies of Rosebud, June 17, 1876 will be for sale at the event. Information about Case Library will also be available.

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