The valuable interviews conducted by Nebraska judge Eli S. Ricker with Indian eyewitnesses to the Wounded Knee massacre, the Little Big Horn battle, the Grattan incident, and other events and personages of the Old West are finally made widely ...
available in this long-awaited volume. In the first decade of the twentieth century, as the Old West became increasingly distant and romanticized in popular consciousness, Eli S. Ricker (1843-1926) began interviewing those who had experienced it firsthand, hoping to write a multi-volume series about its last days. Among the many individuals he interviewed were American Indians, mostly Sioux, who spoke extensively about a range of subjects, some with the help of an interpreter. For years Ricker traveled across the northern Plains, determinedly gathering information on and off reservations, in winter and in summer. Judge Ricker never wrote his book, but his interviews are priceless sources of information about the Old West that offer more balanced perspectives on events than were accepted at the time. Richard E. Jensen brings together all of Ricker's interviews with American Indians, annotating the conversations and offering an extensive introduction that sets forth important information about Ricker, his research, and the editorial methodology guiding the present volume. Richard E. Jensen retired as a senior research anthropologist at the Nebraska State Historical Society. He is the editor of Charles Allen's From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was and Rolf Johnson's Happy As a Big Sunflower: Adventures in the West, 1876-1880, both available in Bison Books editions. Also available from the University of Nebraska Press: Voices of the American West, Volume 2: The Settler and Soldier Interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903-1919.