Butte Country, Nebraska
On July 7, 2009 I drove through Butte Country in western Nebraska. The land is pretty darned flat with some rolling hills and then suddenly these huge protrusions of rock and soil pop up. Many of them are quite magnificent to look at along with the history associated with them. A Nebraska Historical Society Marker on US 20 near Crawford in Dawes County gives a rundown of the nearby buttes.
Crow Butte lies behind the Nebraska Historical Society Marker. It was a natural landmark well known to the Indians, Soldiers, and early settlers. A legendary battle between Sioux and Crow Indians began on October 15, 1849. The legend of Crow Butte says that the Crow were chased by the Sioux, dismounted their horses, and climbed Crow Butte. The Crow stayed for three days, singing and dancing at night around fires to mock their Sioux foes at the base. On the fourth morning the Sioux reportedly found rawhide ropes dangling from the tops and sides of the Butte signifying the Crow escape by walking through the Sioux camps. I have read that this was one of the largest Plains Indian battles ever between opposing tribes.
A little farther west are the Red Cloud Buttes which are larger and rockier. Fort Robinson and the Red Cloud Agency are visible from these buttes. There is a viewing area to pull off into to get a better view as you approach them. There's a golf course at the base. These buttes were also a prominent early landmark to settlers.
Also near the Nebraska Historical Society Marker is the site of the Treaty Tree. In September 1875 the Allison Commission made an attempt to buy the Black Hills from the Sioux under it. After the bloody conflicts in 1876 and later the Sioux Commission succeeded in purchasing the area from the defeated Sioux. The tree is no longer there.
Fort Robinson is just a few miles from this area, so if you are planning to visit there just drive a few minutes to the Butte Country. I was on my way to Fort Robinson to visit the site of Crazy Horse's murder when I saw the buttes and the Nebraska Historical Society Marker and stopped.