From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee


From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee

In the West That Was

Charles W. Allen
Edited by Richard E. Jensen

296 pages
Illus., maps


May 2001


$22.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The varied and colorful career of Charles Wesley Allen (1851-1942) took him throughout the northern Plains during an exceptionally turbulent era in its history. He was at the Red Cloud Agency when Red Cloud attempted to prevent the raising of the American flag and the Lakota nearly took over the agency. Allen also visited Deadwood at the height of the Black Hills gold rush, helped build the first government agency on the Pine Ridge reservation, and reported on the Lakota Ghost Dance. Allen happened to be walking through the Indian camp at Wounded Knee when shots rang out on December 29, 1890, and his is arguably the best of all the eyewitness accounts of that tragedy.
This is Allen's previously unpublished vivid account of the years he described as "the most exciting chapter of my life." As much the chronicle of the passing of an era as a personal narrative, its simple, direct, and often moving prose captures the injustices, gritty details, and relentless energy of a period of dramatic change in the West.

Author Bio

From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee is Charles W. Allen's (1851–1942) account of life on the northern Plains during an exceptionally turbulent era in its history.
Richard E. Jensen is senior research anthropologist at the Nebraska State Historical Society and the editor of Happy As a Big Sunflower: Adventures in the West, 1876-1880, by Rolf Johnson (Nebraska 2000).


"Allen's work is a lively account of his life and contemporary events from early years in Dakota Territory during the 1870s to the tragic day at Wounded Knee. . . . Those interested will find here an early and detailed description of the Lakota Ghost Dance and a first-hand account of the confusion and violence of 29 December 1890. Allen's personal connections to the Pine Ridge community through his mixed-blood wife, his skills as a journalist, and his evident effort to recount those events judiciously make his observations even more valuable."—Western Historical Quarterly

"[Allen's] first-hand accounts entice the interested scholar to consider how his experiences are woven into the larger fabric of western American history. . . . Jensen's editing is exceptional."—Great Plains Research

"From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee is an insightful, accurate, and fascinating account of the extreme frontier of the Middle West from the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868 to the Wounded Knee incident in 1890. Charles W. Allen's historical retrospective, written in 1938, is divided into twenty-seven diary-like vignettes that give readers a true taste (bitter and sweet) of life on a changing frontier."—South Dakota History

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