Song of Dewey Beard

Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn

Burnham, Philip
Philip Burnham

University of Nebraska (publisher)

The resistance of great Native American warriors to the U.S. government in the war against the Plains Indians is a well-known chapter in the story of the American West. In the aftermath of the great resistance, as the Indian nations recovered from war, many figures loomed heroic, yet their stories are mostly unknown. This long-overdue biography of Dewey Beard (ca. 1862–1955), a Lakota who witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn and survived the Wounded Knee Massacre, chronicles a remarkable life that can be traced through major historical events from the late nineteenth into the mid-twentieth century. Beard was not only a witness to two major events involving the Lakota; he also traveled with William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show, worked as a Hollywood Indian, and witnessed the grand transformation of the Black Hills into a tourism mecca. Beard spent most of his later life fighting to reclaim his homeland and acting as an advocate for his family and his people. With a keen eye for detail and a true storyteller’s talent, Philip Burnham presents the man behind the legend of Dewey Beard and shows how the life of the last survivor of Little Bighorn provides a glimpse into the survival of indigenous America.  

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