Photographer Bill Groethe and the Last Survivors of the Little Big Horn

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
All Images (c) Bill Groethe / SDPB. All rights reserved.

bill groethe on Mount RushmoreBill Groethe (R) on Mount Rushmore, 1930s

Commercial photographer Bill Groethe started taking pictures as a teen growing up in Rapid City during the 1930s. He helped photograph and document the construction of Mount Rushmore.

bill groethe in world war 2Bill Groethe in WWII

During World War II, he worked as a photo reconnaissance technician.

After the war, Groethe returned to Rapid City and found plenty of work. He took pictures for many of the growing town's businesses and for the many, many weddings in the post-war years.

In 1948, Bill Groethe was present at a reunion of the last survivors of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, also known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass. In the video below, Groethe talks about his early career, the gathering of the old warriors, and changing times in the photography business.

Images of the Past Photographing the Last Little Big Horn Survivors How Rapid City photographer Bill Groethe got group shots and portraits of the old warriors

little big horn survivorsLast 9 survivors of the Battle of the Little Big Horn(c) Bill Groethe

black elkBlack Elk - 1948(c) Bill Groethe

iron hailIron Hail (Dewey Beard)(c) Bill Groethe

high eagleHigh Eagle(c) Bill Groethe