An Ancient Trail
An ancient trail led from the mouth of Bighorn Canyon southward into the Bighorn Basin and eventually to the Wind River Mountains. This route served the inhabitants of the Bighorn canyon region.
The Annual Cycle Of Life
As the season advanced, the people moved ever higher into the mountains until by June or July they, and the animals they hunted, could be found among the cool mountaintops of the Pryors. Here they quarried stone for tools and weapons, tanned and sewed animal skin clothing, gathered any food available, and probably enjoyed life to the fullest.
Bison Hunts - A Matter Of Life And Death
The hunting methods used revolved around the stampeding of bison herds over cliffs or into canyons. There are a number of these killing sites, commonly known as buffalo jumps, throughout the Bighorn country. Through generations of use, stacks of bones from the slaughtered animals became many feet deep.
Following the hunt, the people returned once again to the canyon and it shelters to complete yet another cycle. What happened to these people and why they abandoned their way of life after untold generations is unknown. All that is sure is that long before the arrival of the white man, there were no permanent residents left and the Plains Indians generally scorned the rough canyon country between the Pryors and the Bighorns.
Did You Know?
Fort C.F. Smith, was the most isolated of the posts which guarded the Bozeman Trail. Active from August 1866 to July 1868, it was under constant threat from the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne tribes during Red Cloud’s War. The U.S. government was forced to abandon the fort and trail. Some historians have called this conflict, “the first war the United States ever lost.” More...