Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Rosebud Indian Reservation

There’s nothing much south of I-90 and Murdo until you come across a picturesque dale while crossing the White River, sheltering the first grove of trees in too long a time. South of White River, US-83 rolls its way across the Rosebud Indian Reservation. After the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868, the Sicangu Lakota, under the guide of Spotted Tail, were moved five times before finally being settled on this reservation, one of the smallest on the Great Plains. The first town you’ll encounter is Mission, the reservation’s trading center, where US-83 zigzags through a strip of gas stations, a Subway sandwich store, and the Rosebud Sioux arts and crafts center.

The heart of the reservation is Rosebud, 5 miles west of Mission on US-18, then 10 miles southwest on BIA-1. Most of the reservation’s activities, including weekend rodeos and powwows, are centered on the tribal headquarters. Another eight miles southwest is tiny St. Francis, which has the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum (350 S. Oak St., 605/747-2745, daily summer only, free), a museum dedicated to the Teton Sioux culture and begun by Fr. Eugene Buechel, a German Jesuit, avid botanist, and dedicated student of Plains Indian culture.

Back on US-83, 23 miles south of Mission, is the tribe’s most recent economic endeavor, the Rosebud Casino, which sits right on the Nebraska state line, showing just where its prospective gamblers are coming from.

Rosebud Indian Reservation
Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum (350 S. Oak St.)
St. Francis
Rosebud Casino