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"Black Eagle Down", a novel by Mike Kuzara.  Click here for details and order options.
"Black Eagle Down", a novel by Mike Kuzara. Click here for details and order options.

Thunder Mountain Tours - Wyarno, Wyoming

Tours Information

Below are some of the sites that we visit on our tours.

Some sites are on private land and special permission must be obtained well in advance and much depends on weather and terrain conditions.

(1)  Fort Fetterman - 1867 - 1882. Most common embarkation point on the Bozeman Trail.

(2)  Teapot Rock - Prominent landmark feature located near the infamous Teapot Dome Naval oil reserve. Opened in 1917, a government scandal developed and in 1929 some officials were convicted and jailed.

(3)  Portuguese Houses - 1834 - 1839. A Fortified trading post was built by free trapper Antonio Montero when the area was still in the control of the friendly Crow Tribe.

(4)  Powder River Crossing - In use since prehistoric times, one of the few places where it was safe to cross this treacherous river.

(5)  Fort Reno - 1865 - 1868 Served as the first of 3 forts along the Bozeman Trail and a major supply depot for the area.

(6)  Townsend Wagon train fight site - 1864

(7)  KayCee Ranch -1892 Nick Ray and Nate Champion killed by hired Texas gunmen brought in by big ranchers

(8)  Hole-in-the-wall - A natural notch in the high red wall paralleling the Big Horn Mountains. It was an easily defensible access to the valley between the wall and the mountains

(9)  Outlaw cave - One of several in limestone canyon walls used for thousands of years by ancient people for shelter, then as defendable hideouts for those on the run in the 1890's.

(10)  Dull Knife Battle site - Nov. 5, 1876 - A fierce fight took place between US army troops and Chief Dull Knife's people here.

(11)  T.A. Ranch - April, 1892 Hired invading gunfighters were trapped and laid siege to by enraged towns people and homesteaders.

(12)  Fort McKinney. Est. 1878 was actually relocated from a spot on the Powder River called, at onetime, Cantonment Reno. (Near previously abandoned Fort Reno) The town of Buffalo soon grew up near the Fort and today hosts the Historic Occidental Hotel and the excellent Jim Gatchel Museum.

(13)  Fort Phil Kearney - July 1866 - 1868. Was under nearly constant siege by the Indians from the day it was laid out.

(14)  Fetterman fight site -Dec 22, 1866. Locally know as Massacre Hill, Fetterman and his command of 81 were wiped out in an elaborate ambush by combined forces of Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapahoe.

(15)  Wagon Box fight site, Aug 2, 1867, Soldiers and civilians equipped with a newer type of rifle than was available to Lt. Fetterman's men, held off and killed hundreds of encircling Indians. ( Many of the same Indians who massacred Fetterman's command)

(16)  Shurly battle site, Nov. 5, 1867. Attacked by Indians while an escorted wagon train was crossing Prairie Dog Creek, soldiers and civilians fought off attempts by the hostiles to steal a cannon they were transporting. Lt Shurly was wounded, then managed to shoot his attacker in the stomach and marshal his men to form defenses.  They were assisted eventually by another detachment traveling on the military cut off who heard the rescued cannon being fired.

(17)  Sheridan - Named for General Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame contains the area of General Crook's summer camp of 1876 after his standoff with the Sioux at the Battle of the Rosebud. Also hosts the Mansion of cattle king John B. Kendrick, the Historic Sheridan Inn, Kings Saddlery and cowboy museum, and the Sheridan County Historical Society Museum. Also in the area is the Bradford Brinton Ranch, Eatons Dude Ranch, Hutsons saddlery and museum near Story and the town of Big Horn and its rustic museum. The main Bozeman Trail crossed Big Goose creek at this point.

(18)  Conner Battlefield - Aug 29, 1865. At present day Ranchester, Conner's unit successfully attacked and destroyed a large village of Northern Arapahoe.

(19)  Sawyer fight - Aug 31, 1865. Colonel James A. Sawyer in charge of 100 men, in the process of improving the Bozeman Road, was attacked by Arapahoe Indians who laid siege to the wagon train for nearly 2 weeks. The Indians finally gave up most likely because Conner's earlier attack left them short of ammunition and horses.

(20)  Tie Hack Operations - "Tie Hacks" were timber men who chopped out hand hewn railroad cross-ties in the Big Horn Mountains from the 1890's until the mid 1920's.

(21)  Bald Mountain City- Short lived gold mining camp in the Big Horn Mountains.

(22)  Sibley fight - July, 1876. Sibley and his patrol were chased off the prairie and up into the Big Horns where they made a stand against an encircling band of Sioux. They escaped on foot in the night leaving horses and equipment behind.

(23)  Crook's Tongue River skirmish - June 9, 1876. In camp at the confluence of Tongue River and Prairie Dog Creek, the command came under harassing fire from Sioux warriors across the river on a high bluff. The Indians were driven off with no casualties.

(24)  Fort C.F. Smith - 1866 - 1868, the 3rd in the string of 3 forts along the Bozeman Trail.

(25)  Hayfield fight -Aug 1, 1867. One day before the Wagon box fight, hay cutters and their soldier guards were forced to fight off attacking Indians from behind hastily contrived breastworks.

(26)  Battle of the Big Horn -June 25, 1876. The infamous Custer massacre is probably the most widely known and researched battle site of all of the Indian wars.

(27)  Battle of the Rosebud - June 17, 1876. The same Indians who fought Custer 8 days later, fought a nearly day-long battle to a draw with General Crooks command and confederated Shoshone and Crow warriors. Crook retired to the present-day site of the City of Sheridan to lick his wounds and await reinforcements and supplies. It was estimated that some 60,000 bullets were fired during the battle!

(28)  Buffalo Bill's cabin. Originally built for his daughter and used as a hunting camp, the cabin was saved from ruin by rancher Ellen Cotton who moved it from Hanging woman Creek to her ranch on 4-mile Creek, where it was restored to original condition.

(29)  Battle of the Butte. Dec. 1877. General Nelson Miles pursued and fought Indians suspected of the Custer massacre during a winter campaign at this significant place. The escaping Indians left behind much of their winter supplies and soon met up with the survivors of the Dull Knife battle who were also starving by this time. The Sioux finally gave up and went back to their reservations and for the most part, the great Indian wars were over.

(30)  O.W. Ranch - Formerly one of the many ranch headquarters established by cattle king, John B. Kendrick, the ranch is presently a fully functioning cattle ranch, with many of the original buildings fully restored to circa 1880.

(31)  Quietus Post Office - Crumbling remnant of the community center during homestead days.

(32)  Battle of Powder River - Mar. 17, 1876. Col. J. J. Reynolds attacked an Indian camp he assumed were Sioux, but it is widely believed that they were Northern Cheyenne under Chief Two moons.  The Northern Cheyenne were allegedly inclined to be neutral until the attack and were then convinced to join forces with the Sioux much to the sorrow of Custer and his command.

(33)  L.X. Bar ranch. Once the supreme headquarters of the Kendrick cattle empire, the extensive complex of native stone structures were in constant peril of being washed away by the capriciousness of the muddy Powder River. Built in the 1890's, the main house was last occupied in the late 1940's. The buildings now stand vacant and are showing the signs of neglect.

(34)  Passiac Town site. Built in the 1890's to serve the homesteaders, the town boasted an apothecary (drug store), Post Office, Livery, and general merchandise store. Mail was still being delivered from and to the post office by members of the Edmonds family as late as 1946. The town is now in ruins.

(35)  Arvada - est. 1893 Once a rail shipping point, coal and water supply for the steam locomotives, the town now still boasts a Post Office, Saloon and Cafe, School, and scattered residences.

(36)  Buffalo Soldier camp - A troop of black cavalry was stationed here in 1892 to protect the railhead while a bridge over Powder River was being constructed.

(37)  Suggs Town site and Arvada cemetery - est. 1892. The town burned to the ground in 1893 during gunfight which pitted insulted Buffalo Soldiers against surly town-folk.

(38)  Fortification Creek - Derived it' name from very old rifle pits found along the Powder River by early homesteader. Artifacts found at the site suggest the besieged were armed with late 1700 or early 1800 muzzle loading weapons.

(39) Black Diamond historic mine trail. Mining town locations of Acme, Monarch, Kleenburn, Kooi, Dietz, Model, Star, and Hotchkiss.

(40) Bates Battle on No Wood Creek 1874 “Wyoming’s bloodiest 4th of July”

For Information or to schedule a tour Contact:

Mike Kuzara
Phone: (307) 620-5538
E-mail: m-mkuzara@thundermountaintours.com

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Thunder Mountain Tours
25 Indian Paintbrush Road

Sheridan, WY 82801

Telephone: (
307) 620-5538


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