On a September day in 1877, hundreds of Sioux and soldiers at Camp Robinson crowded around a fatally injured Lakota leader. A young doctor forced his way through the crowd, only to see the victim fading before him. It was the famed Crazy Horse. From intense moments like this to encounters with such legendary western figures as Calamity Jane and Red Cloud, Valentine Trant O'Connell McGillycuddy's life (1849 1939) encapsulated key events in American history that changed the lives of Native people forever. In "Valentine T. McGillycuddy: Army Surgeon," "Agent to the Sioux, " the first biography of the man in seventy years, award-winning author Candy Moulton explores McGillycuddy's fascinating experiences on the northern plains as topographer, cartographer, physician, and Indian agent.
Drawing on family papers, interviews, government documents, and a host of other sources, Moulton presents a colorful character a thin, blue-eyed, cultured physician who could outdrink trail-hardened soldiers. In fresh, vivid prose, she traces McGillycuddy's work mapping out the U.S.-Canadian border; treating the wounded from the battles of the Rosebud, the Little Bighorn, and Slim Buttes; tending to Crazy Horse during his final hours; and serving as agent to the Sioux at Pine Ridge, where he clashed with Chief Red Cloud over the government's assimilation policies. Along the way, Moulton weaves in the perspective of McGillycuddy's devoted first wife, Fanny, who followed her husband west and wrote of the realities of camp life.
McGillycuddy's doctoring of Crazy Horse marked only one point of his interaction with American Indians. But those relationships were also just one aspect of his life in the West, which extended well into the twentieth century. Enhanced by more than 20 photographs, this long-overdue biography offers general readers and historians an engaging adventure story as well as insight into a period of tumultuous change."