Near Fort Phil Kearny in December 1866 in what’s now northern Wyoming, Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors ambushed and killed Capt. William Fetterman and his entire command of 80 men. Fetterman’s arrogance has long been blamed for the disaster, but new evidence shows a more complex and nuanced story.
Author of “Give Me Eighty Men:” Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), Shannon D. Smith is the executive director for the Wyoming Humanities Council and an author focusing on women in the West. She taught at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for seven years.