29th Annual OIW Assembly
September 8-21, 2008
The Bozeman Trail:
Road to the Little Big Horn
A decade before the disaster at the Little Big Horn, on a lonely hill not that far away, occurred a previous disaster for the U.S. Army -- the Fetterman Massacre. This tragedy was played out right on the road that would lead to the 1876 confrontation -- the Bozeman Trail. That trail, and its impact on the future Indian Wars, was the subject of the 2008 OIW Assembly. Our chief guide was Sterling Finn who was assisted by Greg Michno.
The list of speakers included Mike Koury, "The Bozeman Trail - Road to Little Big Horn," Ron Nichols, "Mackenzie's Last Fight," John Monnett, "The Fight at Crazy Woman," and Michael Hughes, "The Reason Why." The keynote speaker at the Saturday banquet was Jack McDermott.
On Friday, September 19, we visited Crazy Woman Crossing (considered the most dangerous spot on the Bozeman Trail, Fort Reno and Cantonment Reno. After lunch on the road, we journeyed to Buffalo, Wyoming, to see Fort McKinney and the Gatchell Museum.
On Saturday, September 20, we had a continental breakfast at the New Sheridan County Historical Society Museum. Then we headed off to some of Wyoming's roughest country to the site of Mackenzie's Last Fight. This privately owned battlefield, miles from encroaching civilization, may be America's most pristine Indian Wars' site. Lunch was at the battlefield followed by a tour by the ranch owners, Ken and Cheri Graves. The closing banquet was held that evening in Sheridan.
On Sunday, September 21, there was a no-cost tour, by private cars, to Fort Phil Kearny, the Wagon Box Fight site and the Fetterman Fight site.