In a saga of bitter hardship and resolve, 350 Northern Cheyenne led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife escaped the Darlington Agency in present Oklahoma late in 1878. Struggling north, they were imprisoned in Nebraska, broke out and, crossing a corner of Wyoming Territory, finally returned to their Montana homelands.
After the Civil War, about one-fifth of the regular U.S. cavalry troops in the West were black. These buffalo soldiers were sent to keep order on a disorderly frontier—a difficult job with blurry ethical boundaries. Despite meager food, castoff equipment and chronic racial prejudice, they performed well.