|On a chilly
January morning in 1872, a special visitor arrived by train in North
Platte, Nebraska. Grand Duke Alexis of Russia had already seen the
cities and sights of the East—New York, Washington, and Niagara
Falls—and now the young nobleman was about to enjoy a western
adventure: a grand buffalo hunt. His host would be General Philip
Sheridan, and the excursion would include several of the West’s
most iconic characters: George Armstrong Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody, and
Spotted Tail of the Brulé Sioux.
The Royal Buffalo Hunt, as this event is now called, has become a
staple of western lore. Yet incorrect information and misconceptions
about the excursion have prevented a clear understanding of what really
|In this fascinating book,
Douglas D. Scott, Peter Bleed, and Stephen Damm combine archaeological
and historical research to offer an expansive and accurate portrayal of
this singular diplomatic event.
authors focus their
investigation on the Red Willow Creek encampment site, now named Camp
Alexis, the party’s only stopping place along the hunt trail that
be located with certainty. In addition to physical artifacts, the
authors examine a plethora of primary accounts—such as railroad
timetables, invitations to balls and dinners, even sheet music
commemorating the visit—to supplement the archaeological
also reference documents from the Russian State Archives previously
unavailable to researchers, as well as recently discovered photographs
that show the layout and organization of the camp. Weaving all these
elements together, their account constitutes a valuable product of the
interdisciplinary approach known as microhistory.
Custer, Cody, and Grand Duke Alexis
Historical Archaeology of the Royal Buffalo Hunt
by Douglas D. Scott, et al.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2013
Out of the Past