From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was

From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was

From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was

From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was


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 This is Allen's previously unpublished vivid account of the years he described as "the most exciting chapter of my life."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.


Charles W. Allen, writer of this story of the Great Plains frontier, has been my personal friend since 1888. He has had rare opportunities to know the western frontier: soldier, freighter, rancher, clerk, blacksmith, contractor, editor, war correspondent, Pine Ridge postmaster, philosopher, and poet. Married into the Oglala Sioux tribe, faithful husband, father of a fine family who represent the best blood of both white and Indian races.

Mr. Allen has a faculty for making friends. He is a keen observer--and a lover of truth and justice. He is one of the very few survivors of the Battle of Wounded Knee, last conflict between the Indians and the white men, fought December 29, 1890. He wrote the first account of that battle to reach the world public through the daily press.

I am glad to commend Mr. Allen's book to the great public eager to read first-hand truth of the frontier life on the Great Plains.

Addison E. Sheldon [1938]

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