Lakota Sioux

Buffalo Calf Road

Buffalo Calf Road was a Northern Cheyenne warrior who lived in the late 19th century.

Buffalo Calf Road came to prominence among the Cheyenne at the Battle of the Rosebud in 1876, where she joined the male warriors of her village as part of the Cheyenne and Lakota army led by Crazy Horse. During the battle Calf saw her brother, Chief Comes in Sight, trapped in a gully as his fellow warriors retreated. Riding on horseback and avoiding enemy bullets, Calf was able to rescue her brother and get him to safety. Crazy Horse’s forces were victorious and Calf’s fellows were so impressed by her courage that named it ‘The Battle Where the Girl Saved Her Brother’ in her honour.

Buffalo Calf Road is also known to have fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn alongside her husband Black Coyote. During this battle she is credited with rescuing a young warrior who became stranded. Other accounts also say it was Calf who felled Lieutenant Colonel George Custer from his horse.

Despite these victories the Cheyenne continued to be pushed back and following an attack on their village, Buffalo Calf Road led a group of 30 survivors in the wilderness, despite being pregnant. Eventually the group surrendered and were relocated to a reservation in far off Oklahoma. In order to escape the horrific living conditions, Calf and her family were part of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus in 1878, an attempt to return to their homeland. However most of the migrating Cheyenne were rounded up and captured. Black Coyote was put on trial for murder and Buffalo Calf Road was imprisoned at Fort Keogh, where she died of diphtheria in 1879.