On June 26, 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer led 263 soldiers against several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. The Battle would be known as The Battle of Little Bighorn. According to some historians, Captain Grant Marsh was making his way on the steamboat "Far West" to provide General Custer with reinforcements and supplies.

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"Grant Marsh is most often referenced by historians for his exploit in 1876 as the pilot of the Far West. From June 30 to July 3, 1876 he piloted the Far West down the Yellowstone and the Missouri Rivers to Bismarck, carrying fifty one wounded cavalry troopers from the site of the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. He brought the first news of the "Custer Massacre" to the nation, and he set a downriver steamboat record, traversing some 710 river miles in 54 hours." - Wikipedia

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However, when he heard of the bloodbath at Little Bighorn, and Custer's defeat, his mission then turned into a rescue one. He shuttled injured soldiers from the battlefield aboard his ship, but the weight of the excess men, and supplies was so much he had to drop off some of his cargo. You see, Marsh had acquired $375,000 worth of gold bars from miners who were fearful of being attacked by the Sioux. So, Marsh held it for them for safe keeping.

"In an epic feat of riverboat piloting Marsh brought the Far West from the mouth of the Little Bighorn River down the Bighorn to the Yellowstone River, then to the Missouri, and then down to Bismarck. He made the run from the mouth of the Bighorn to Bismarck over a period of 4 days, from June 30 to July 3, 1876. Rarely leaving the wheel, he traversed some 710 river miles in 54 hours setting a record for steamboat travel that still stands.with a few remaining faithful followers." - Wikipedia


Little Bighorn is located on the Crow Reservation in Montana. During the 1800's, a few lucky guys found gold in that fine state. We always hear about California's gold rush, but people were finding gold all over Middle America. Though, as the 19th century went on, less and less men struck it rich. Marsh was presumably one of those men. So, with his ship sinking, he had to stash his loot along the shores of the Bighorn River. 

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The story of the Far West becomes confusing at this point. Some researchers agree that gold was on board the supply boat, but they disagree on how it got there. What's more, they agree that the gold was buried onshore, but they disagree on its precise location. In fact, two stories have been told to account for the appearance - and disappearance - of the Far West gold. - James M. Deem


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