top of page

Join FPK/BTA President Dave McKee and Richard Hunt of the Oregon California Trail Association along the Bozeman Trail in this 3-part Series. 

EPISODE 1 May 1863… gold is discovered in Alder Gulch, MT irrevocably reshaping the fate of the Northern Plains Indian Tribes. The ramifications of this discovery served as a catalyst in the unfolding drama of Red Cloud's War, a poignant struggle aimed at expelling the military presence from the territories pledged to the tribes under the Ft Laramie Treaty of 1851. Join Dave McKee, our guide on this three-part journey of discovery as we unravel the tapestry of events that make up the Bozeman Trail story. The Oregon-California Trails Association is the pre-eminent guardian and promoter of the inspirational story of the 19th century westward migration, which is unique in world history. Our mission is to protect the Historic Emigrant Trails legacy by promoting research, education, preservation activities and public awareness of the trails, and to work with others to promote these causes.

EPISODE 2 In 1863, John Bozeman and his partner, John Jacobs, followed ancient Indian trails that could potentially lead emigrants on a 538-mile short cut from the Oregon Trail on the North Platte River in central Wyoming to the goldfields in southwestern Montana territory around Virginia City. Seeing an opportunity to guide emigrants along this newfound route, they set their plan into motion. In 1866 the government invited Red Cloud and other leaders representing the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho tribes to Fort Laramie to seek an agreement providing safe passage along the Bozeman Trail through Indian Territory. Episode 2 - Listen as Dave McKee relates the second episode of this three-part journey of discovery as we unravel the tapestry of events that make up the Bozeman Trail story.

EPISODE 3 The military conflicts along the Bozeman Trail beginning in 1866 and the eventual victories for the Northern Plains tribes played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the Fort Laramie Treaty. Forts Reno, Phil Kearny, and C.F Smith were abandoned. Use of the Bozeman Trail was discontinued until the U.S military campaign of 1876 and the Battles of the Rosebud and Little Big Horn.

The clashes between the U.S. Army and the Northern Plains tribes, known as the Indian Wars, endured for over a decade. These confrontations arose from the clash between the two societies over occupation of the Northern Plains. The Bozeman Trail conflicts served as a prelude to a larger culture clash, leading to aggressive resistance from the Native people and eventually culminating in their conquest and dispossession by the United States government. This transformation had profound and lasting effects on the Native way of life.

PORTUGEE PHILLIPS RIDE On Christmas night in 1866, an exhausted rider reached Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where the Officers Christmas Ball was in full swing. Draped in a Buffalo hide robe and chilled to the bone from a grueling 236-mile journey through a foot of snow and subzero temperatures, John "Portugee" Phillips bore a distressing message from Colonel Henry Carrington at Fort Phil Kearny. The message detailed the Plains Army's most devastating defeat at the Battle of the Hundred in the Hand, known among white soldiers as the Fetterman Massacre. This extraordinary feat, dubbed the "Greatest Ride in History," unfolds as a captivating tale shared by Dave McKee, the President of the Bozeman Trail/Fort Phil Kearny Association. The Oregon-California Trails Association is the pre-eminent guardian and promoter of the inspirational story of the 19th century westward migration, which is unique in world history. Our mission is to protect the Historic Emigrant Trails legacy by promoting research, education, preservation activities and public awareness of the trails, and to work with others to promote these causes. Copyright 2023 The Oregon-California Trails Association. All Rights Reserved

EPISODE  1

EPISODE  2

EPISODE  3 

PORTUGEE PHILLIPS RIDE

bottom of page