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Billings, Montana

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

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Custer's Last Stand

Among the most mythologized events in American history took place in the shortgrass hills above the Little Bighorn River in late June of 1876. Here the 7th Calvary of the U.S. Army, led by hubristic General George Armstrong Custer, was roundly defeated by a coalition of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Lakota chief Sitting Bull foresaw the "Battle of the Greasy Grass" (the Little Bighorn's indigenous name) at a Sun Dance held nearby, and the tactical savvy of war chiefs Gall and Crazy Horse turned Custer's attack into a one-sided rout. The landscape hasn't changed much since that fateful showdown--a short-lived triumph for the Plains tribes in the waning days of the Indian Wars--and the national monument's interpretive paths bring the story to life. Don't miss a walk up Last Stand Hill.

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