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Out and About: Chief Plenty Coups State Park

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Posted at 9:24 PM, Jul 21, 2022

It’s a place where you can find history, culture or just enjoy some quiet peacefulness.

“We are sort of a hidden gem, a perfect place for a day trip,” says Aaron Kind, the recreation manager at Chief Plenty Coups State Park.

The park is located just outside Pryor, about a 35-mile drive south of Billings. It’s where the last traditional chief of the Crow Nation made his home.

“He signed paperwork in 1928 that said that upon his death it would become a park where people can come and learn from each other and so that happened in 1932 when he passed away,” says Kind.

The museum chronicles the incredible life of Plenty Coups, who was known several by several U.S. presidents and foreign leaders and spoke at the unveiling of the tomb of the unknown soldier in 1921.

“We’ve got some real cool things here, especially the chief’s rifle that was given to him by the prince of Monaco and Buffalo Bill Cody was actually there when it was presented to him,” says Kind.

The museum also features a history of the tribe throughout the centuries all the way up to the present day, as well as a lot of other history of this area.

The park also offers an interpretive walking tour where you can go inside Plenty Coups' two-story log home which is a National Historic Landmark. Plenty Coups only spent the last couple years of his life in it—preferring instead to spend nights just outside in a teepee.

Next to it sits the chief’s general store. Plenty Coups did not read or write but kept records using drawings to remember the names of people he had given credit to.

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Also, on the grounds is a spring that many of the Crow consider sacred. It is where Plenty Coup saw a vision as a young boy that he would be the one to lead his people from the old ways to the new ways. As part of that vison, he saw the buffalo going away and cows rising up. He also saw himself as an old man by the spring.

“It is a very sacred place and we always try to be very respectful if anybody is doing a ceremony or just looks like they need some time down there. If we are running an education class, we will keep everyone away,” says Kind.

Chief Plenty Coups State Park is open seven days a week, year-round.

“it’s definitely a place where you can come to recharge and come to think and come to enjoy that quiet and that peacefulness,” says Kind.

For more information, click the link below:

https://fwp.mt.gov/chief-plenty-coups