Today, after leaving Custer State Park, we toured Devils Tower and Prairie Dog Town, in Wyoming and then onto Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, in Montana. President Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national American Monument in 1906. Scientists once felt Devils Tower was the core of an ancient volcano, but today the tower is believed to be an igneous intrusion. You might also remember Devils Tower was used as a filming location for the classic movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg. Luckily, we were able to park our RV just in front of Devils Tower. It truly was an incredibly massive sight to behold, peering through our window as we ate lunch. Black-tailed prairie dogs have made their home right next door to Devils Tower. These animals are intriguing, funny little creatures, it was enjoyable to observe their behavior.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the battle fought between Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians against the U.S. Army. This battle took place on June 25, 1876. The Indians wanted to preserve their ancestral way of life. Custer and the U.S. Army were following instruction to remove the Indians to the Sioux reservation. This was the spot where Custer’s famous last stand took place. Although the Indians won the battle, they lost their independent, nomadic way of life. We watched an interesting 25-minute movie depicting the battle. Walking through the Indian Memorial, Last Stand Hill and the National Cemetery proved to be quite moving. The soldier’s headstones are white, and the Indians are red. Our next major stop is Glacier National Park in Montana. It is a two-day drive from Custer State Park so tonight is just an overnight stop in Hardin, Montana; we plan to be in Glacier National Saturday afternoon.