Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment - Hardin

Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment celebrates the anniversary of the battle. Hold onto your hats! The Seventh Cavalry and Indian warriors will face off once again this summer in the annual Custer's Last Stand Reenactment, six miles west of Hardin, Montana. The Reenactment celebrates the anniversary of the infamous battle between the boy general, George Armstrong Custer, his Seventh Cavalry troops and warriors gathered from nearly a dozen Indian tribes. The anniversary celebration will be a pageant of Montana history, honoring the brave men and women on both sides of the conflict who lived and died during the early days of this state.

The grand entry starts the Reenactment off with a spine-tingling touch of drama, as Custer and his men carry the American flag in formation past the crowd while the warriors ride past in the background. The audience knows the cavalry is riding to its doom, and though they know it's just a show, some can't help but shed a tear as the flag goes slowly past. The Reenactment has begun!

Set among the rolling hills west of Hardin, the Reenactment involves more than 300 actors, production crew and horses who gather each year to recreate a pageant of Montana history. The script is taken from notes written by Crow tribal historian Joe Medicine Crow and tells the tale from the Indian perspective. Many of the reenactors are direct descendants of people who participated in the battle as warriors or Crow scouts who rode with Custer.

Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark make an appearance in the Reenactment as the narrators booming voice tells the tale of the first foray of white men into Montana. Mountain men and trappers meet and make peace with Indian chiefs, paving the way for the pioneers and settler families who would soon carve ruts across the prairie with heavy wagons filled with their life's possessions. As the pioneers make their dreary, dusty way across the plains, their journey is punctuated by the terror of Indian attacks. Visitors to the Reenactment will feel transported back in time as they watch the wagons circle and the warriors utter blood-curdling war cries. Hearts beat in rhythm with the pounding hoofs of galloping horses and the thundering wagons.

The white settlers are not diverted by the constant stream of attacks on their wagons, and the U.S. Cavalry is dispatched to protect them. The Indian tribes soon realize that if they don't make a stand, their way of life will be destroyed. After a long and painful ceremony, Sitting Bull, a powerful medicine man, has a vision in which he sees the horse soldiers (cavalrymen) falling upside down into the Indian village. It is the sign for which the warriors have been waiting; the tribes will gather together to fight against the white man.

Custer could not have imagined the swirling battle that followed at the Little Bighorn. In all his experience in the Indian wars, the biggest danger was that the village would escape before they could be forced to submit to the Cavalry's superior firepower. Never did Custer imagine that his mighty soldiers could be outnumbered and overpowered by warriors who were ready to fight for their lands and their freedom. It was, in the words of Crazy Horse, a good day to fight. A good day to die. Warriors and cavalry face each other in a whirling tornado of horses, dust and gunfire.

Soon the battle is over. The shouts die out and the dust clears, and all that left is a lone horse on the hillside, standing among the bodies. Custer has been defeated.

Before and after the show, Custer's Last Stand Reenactment features living history actors who show visitors day-to-day life as a cavalryman or in an Indian village. Food and souvenirs are available from vendors and settlers, who sell historical replicas of cavalry and Indian wares.

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Phone: 406-679-3825

Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment is set in Medicine Tail, MT - the actual site of the battle.

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Friday - Sunday: 2:00pm

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