A week before the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the summer of 1876, a much larger and longer battle raged in the hilly country on the Rosebud River 40 miles away.
Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 Sioux and Cheyenne challenged a U.S. Army column of 1,300 soldiers, scouts and civilians in a fight that lasted about six hours.
In contrast, Lt. Col. George Custer’s battalion had only about 700 troopers in the June 25, 1876, Little Bighorn battle that probably lasted less than two hours.
Mapping it out
But a clash that big had to leave its mark on the land. A University of Montana archaeology field school, now in its second summer, is scouring the landscape this week looking for clues to how that monumental clash on the Rosebud was fought.