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“Better the second time”

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The soldiers who died in Custer's Last Stand, now known as the Battle of Little Bighorn, are memorialized at this monument, featuring a statue of the legendary Custer, whose men were outnumbered and slaughtered in a battle against the Plains Indians.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

The first we visited the battlefield, we didn't know what to expect, and we happened to be there just as the Sturgis rally was gearing up, so it was really, really crowded. This time we were ahead of Sturgis and actually got to see the movie in the visitor's center and spend some time in the displays there. That made the experience more meaningful. You could spend a lot of time here, but we did Last Stand Hill, the Spirit Warriors memorial (which is stunning—really beautiful), and then drove out to read about Reno/Benton at the opposite end of the battlefield. It's a very solemn place, well worth the visit.

1  Thank LSR00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 11, 2012

Battlefield bigger than expected; museum smaller. Nonetheless, one of our better baatlefield exhibits. Park rangers knowledgeable and helpful. Crow indian (Absarooka) tour good, informative, but our guide spoke faster than a tobacco auctioneer. A bit more leisurely, with longer stops at key points, would help. Still, very much worth doing, and reasonably priced. If visiting in sunny weather, bring suntan lotion. The sun and wind can burn quickly. Altogether a good visit for historically minded travellers. Just seeing the battlefield provides answers to questions books and movies raise. E.g., regardless of the level of bravery of custer's subordinates (Benteen good, Reno not so good), Custer really didn't have a chance once he'd split his command. Distances too great for mutual support in presence of overwhelming numbers of brave hostiles. Once his attempt to capture hostages failed, Custer was toast.

2  Thank docc_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2012

We beelined to LBNM and got there about 2 hours before it closed. This was barely enough time for us, so if you think you want to partake in all the activities -- and trust me, if you've made the effort, you'll want to -- be aware that there are 3 main components of the Park to consider:

1. Intro film and Ranger talk (check times). The film reminds you why the Battle of LB is both historical and controversial still. The Ranger talk was led by a middle school history teacher whose presentation was eloquent, detailed yet easy to follow/understand. To underscore his remarks, there was an outside exhibit with an authentic soldier tent and Indian teepee, laden with uniforms, guns, provisions, headdresses, Indian clothing, weaponry, etc. This was most interesting to our kids and gave them a baseline of knowledge for the rest of the park activities.

2. The walking path. Behind the Visitors Center, this walk is dotted with grave markers so you see how/where a key ambush occurred and how chaos reigned supreme. It also demonstrates how critical the actual terrain was in the Battle's ebb and flow.

3. 5-mile Driving Loop. After the film, talk and walk, this drive takes you uphill to where the "beginning of the end" begins. As you ascend/descend, there are several pull-outs with detailed maps of troop movements and decisions made at that juncture. After we completed the Loop, we ended at the actual memorial and grave markers, including Custer's (his is only black one). What struck us was how small it all looked compared to the wide open prairie surrounding it. Very moving.

TIP: After film/talk/Visitors Ctr, LBNM's "meat" is the walk/driving path and is thus more cerebral. To keep the 7 & 9 year olds engaged/less whiny, we equipped them with cold drinks/snacks for the walk, then had them complete the Jr Ranger info during drive.

6  Thank Air_willog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2011

This is one powerful place. First check into the visitors center for a film on the battle and when you can listen to a park ranger talk. The rangers here are outstanding and will give you a riveting account of what took place here. Be sure to take the drive out into the battlefield and read all the historical markers. They tell you what happened at each location and then you look out at the grassy plains and can visualize the action. Their are markers everywhere, telling you where somebody perished. Red markers for an Indian warrior and white for u.s. army. Their is a path you can walk from the visitors center out into part of the battlefield but beware of rattlesnakes! If you go in Summer it can get very hot so have sunglasses and sun blocker available. A great place to learn,visualize,and reflect!

2  Thank terrsall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2011

Though neither an American nor an Indian this is one of the most evocative places I have ever visited. It really brings the events of that sad day to life. The exhibits and the ranger talk are superb and so is the tour around the battlefield, which we did twice, once on the bus and once in the car. It's interesting that Last Stand Hill, where Custer's body was found, was probably not the site of the "last stand" at all - archeological evidence from the 1980's suggests the last troopers to die were some way down the coulee towards the river. You can see the markers from the visitor centre.

Our Crow guide on the bus was terrific. Custer had Crow guides too as they were too not friendly with the Lakota and Cheyenne camped in the valley. The whole site is on the Crow reservation, as it was in 1876.

It's only when you drive and walk the ground that you can begin to understand what happened there and - to some extent - why Custer did what he did.

I'll be back there again one day. Next time perhaps to learn more about our Crow hosts.

4  Thank yonze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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