Many of the Indian scouts who accompanied Custer's 1874 Expedition were intimately familiar with the high plains between Fort Lincoln and the Black Hills, but the only available maps contained large gaps or inaccuracies. The Expedition would not only begin to change that, it would have far-reaching historical consequences as well. The Black Hills gold rush that followed was a contributing cause of the Little Big Horn battle, reverberating through the years to Wounded Knee and beyond.
The pivotal events of that summer were part of perhaps the best-documented military expedition of the Old West. Photographer William Illingworth captured images of great quality and clarity, while at least fifteen men were recording vivid accounts in their diaries, reports and newspaper dispatches. These elements are woven together here - much as they were in the companion volume Exploring with Custer - to form a narrative of day-to-day life on the trail.
Crossing the Plains with Custer also adds a new dimension, recognizing that the explorers of 1874 left yet another kind of record in the things they lost or discarded along the way - tools and weapons, cartridges and horseshoes, utensils and buttons, cans and knives. The represented artifacts in these pages further enrich our experience of the Black Hills Expedition.
Companion volume to "Exploring with Custer"