Badlands Bigfoot

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 9th, 2006

Many people visiting here and reading about the Pine Ridge reports of Bigfoot have asked for a better feel of the land. The following is a report by a Cryptomundo correspondent that it is worthy of sharing, as it gives some good insights into the terrain, the people, and the Sasquatch of the area under discussion, as well as the commonplace nature of the sightings being submitted.


I have lived in the Black Hills all my life and, unfortunately, have never seen a Bigfoot. I do know people that swear they have. My stepfather is one of them. I was skeptical because he is prone to story telling. However, he mentioned that his Grandpa Albert Pourier was with him during his sighting. I decided I would try to verify the story.

Without informing my stepdad of my plans, I cornered my greatgrampa Al and asked if he had ever seen a Bigfoot. His story was a verbatim retelling. Even down to the horses’ reactions. This is what they both told me:

Back in the late 60s my greatgrandfather hired on to run cattle with various ranchers who lived in or near the Badlands. He himself, and my stepfather at that time, lived on Cuny Table. Cuny Table is a large mesa/butte (near Stronghold Table of Thunderheart fame) in the far western Badlands of South Dakota. It lays about 20-30 miles north of Oglala and Pine Ridge as the crow flies.

One night he [greatgrandfather] got word from a neighbor that some cattle had wandered onto another’s land, and my greatgrandfather’s boss wanted him to go herd them to their home pasture. It was getting late in the day (about noon or a little after), but that never posed a problem to my greatgrandfather since he had lived in the area all his life, and horses were merely an extension of his own being. Besides, he had three able-bodied grandkids that could help him.

Only one of them, my stepdad, actually went on this round-up, since the others had to stay with their grandma who “felt that something was wrong with the air.” So, the two went off on their horses.

It would be hard to explain their ride to anyone who has not seen the Badlands. In many places, the Badlands are literally mazes. Anyway, they had to go down a trail into this maze and then snake their way through to the other side. Again, my greatgrandfather knew the area very well so he was not worried about the lateness of the hour. If worse came to worse, they could spend the night in a line cabin that was there at that time. My stepdad, however, felt as if they were being watched the entire time. Albert just kidded him and told him that he had let his grandma scare him with her “premonitions of bad air.”

Once they were out of the Badlands maze, they had to cross over a fairly long stretch of prairie. The line cabin was about two-thirds of the way across this plain and they stopped there to water and rest the horses. It was getting to be 5:00 PM or so, but it was summer so they had enough light to get to the cattle, head them to the right pasture, and then get back to the cabin a little after dark. They headed off after the rest.

At the end of the plain, there is a large slope that goes down into the flood plain of the Cheyenne River. All along this basin there is a small forest of cottonwoods, scrub oak, and other deciduous trees flanking the river on both sides. They had to cross through this, and the river, to get to where the cattle were. It was now getting to be late evening with shades of dusk setting in.

As they were coming down the slope to go into the basin, the horses started to shy and balk. This seemed unusual to both my stepdad and greatgrandpa since these were well conditioned animals use to coyotes, bobcats, and even mountain lions that live in the area. They coaxed the animals down the hill, though. When they were almost to the bottom, my stepdad noticed and mentioned an awful smell. My greatgrandpa caught it, too. Wayne, my stepdad, voiced his opinion that they should maybe go to the road (an old, hardly traveled dirt road that usually washed out at that time) four miles away and cross the river there. Of course, greatgrandpa Al was not going to hear anything of the sort. Horses, like young men it seemed, got scared by bad smells to easily. Again, they coaxed the animals to move ahead.

They had moved just a little into the trees when the horses started rearing and snorting in fear. The smell had suddenly become stronger, almost overpowering, according to Wayne. While there was a dusky light still shining, it was much darker in the trees.

A noise very close, something between a short scream and a yell they both said, sounded just a few feet to one side. The horses immediately went stock still and then Al’s turned around.

Here is where the stories really creep me out. Wayne, who is about six feet tall, sits closer to 8 ft on a good sized cattle horse, said Bigfoot kind of strolled out of the woods across their trail. He [the Bigfoot] looked Wayne directly in the eye on level. Wayne said the thing may have been a little taller, covered in black hair with a rough leathery looking patches in the facial region. He turned his horse and saw what Al saw.

Al’s horse turned around. Greatgrandpa thought the animal was going to bolt back the way it had come. Later, he thought it was so nothing would sneak up on it. He saw a female Bigfoot. He thought she was pushing 8-9 ft in height. This Bigfoot kind of crouched and slouched across the path, though, and bared its teeth at the riders and the horses. She also swung her arms in a “haymaker” fashion according to Al, like she wanted to attack the intruders. Al noticed that the female’s head sloped a little. Wayne said it was different on the male. He “looked like he was wearing a ‘poobah’ hat covered with black matted hair.”

The pair of creatures casually moved away from the riders, I guess, while constantly checking to make sure they were not being followed. Al, who was never known to be scared, told Wayne to hurry. They bolted out of the trees, up the giant slope and “flat out hauled until their horses were lathered up.”

They stopped at the cabin to quick-comb the horses and give them some water, but then mounted up to go home. Wayne asked Al why they did not hole up in the cabin with the rifles they had there. Al simply said, “When chiya-tanka roams, one it is best to be at home.”

The saying alone sounds like it is something that has been in the family forever, but I never got the opportunity to ask Al why that was so before he died.

Now that I have related the story, I am going to go and speak with my stepdad some more.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

19 Responses to “Badlands Bigfoot”

  1. Berkastler responds:

    Interesting and very detailed story. The many details make it sound authentic. What exactly is a “haymaker” arm movement? Is it like “windmilling”? If so, it sounds like the female was frightened and trying to show she could defend herself, but almost like a child would react.

    Mary Green tells a story in her book about a female sas (Sheba) who begs for a goat, but is refused, and throws a surprisingly violent temper tantrum, screaming and writhing on the ground like an enormous child.

  2. Sky King responds:

    “The line cabin was about two-thirds of the way across this plain and they stopped there to water and rest the horses. It was getting to be 5:00 PM or so, but it was summer so they had enough light to get to the cattle, head them to the right pasture, and then get back to the cabin a little after dark. They headed off after the rest.

    At the end of the plain, there is a large slope that goes down into the flood plain of the Cheyenne River. All along this basin there is a small forest of cottonwoods, scrub oak, and other deciduous trees flanking the river on both sides. They had to cross through this, and the river, to get to where the cattle were.”

    WAIT! They already HAD the cattle in the first paragraph above. Why would they have to cross the river to get them again?

  3. Sky King responds:

    “. The horses immediately went stock still and then Al’s turned around.

    Here is where the stories really creep me out. Wayne, who is about six feet tall, sits closer to 8 ft on a good sized cattle horse, said Bigfoot kind of strolled out of the woods across their trail. He [the Bigfoot] looked Wayne directly in the eye on level. Wayne said the thing may have been a little taller, covered in black hair with a rough leathery looking patches in the facial region. He turned his horse and saw what Al saw.

    Al’s horse turned around.”

    Was Al’s horse doing the Hokey-Pokey? It turned around in the first paragraph above, presumably to face the way it came. It could NOT turn around again and then be facing the way they came!

    This is bad storytelling. Too many inconsistencies.

  4. Karon Booth responds:

    Again there is the mention of the “stove top type hat” defining the male’s head. The victims of the house intruder creature was reported by the terrified family as wearing a “stove top hat.”

    One of the clues that a story is a hoax is the degree in which all the details dovetail together.

    People telling stories from memory or from actual first hand expereince, do not repeat the events in a straight chronological, nor in a static organized manner.

    Police officers and other officials have to take training to report the facts in a logical and consistant matter.

  5. ilexoak responds:

    Interesting that the horse turned to face the BF. Sounds like they were both posturing in a faceoff. Both similar sized animals and the hapless human just holdin on.


  6. sschaper responds:

    In the situation, the male is in front of the pair, as they aimed to cross the river, but behind them was the female. That oughta help explain some of the ‘inconsistancies’. Also, have you ever ridden horses? When they’re spooked? Or it could be simple oral story telling, and the individual is simply going back after a digression to where Al’s horse turns.

    They didn’t say it was as if the male had a stove top hat. They didn’t use those words. Didn’t mean the same kind of hat, even, I don’t think that we are looking at a hoax here. At least, not from those two issues.

    On the other hand, here is a folkloric saying about chiya-tanka, tall man, which we have in recent articles, read is not the same as bigfoot, but is some sort of spirit being, where as BF is an animal, both in Lakota folklore, and in police IR sights.

  7. sschaper responds:

    oh, and they didn’t have the cattle yet, that was a description of their plan, and the time of day. Read more closely.

  8. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Hi all, I’m new to this, but it seems to me that analysing the story in itself isn’t really going to tell us much here. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. My real problem here is the terrain. I don’t know this part of the world (OK, I’ll come clean, I’ve never even been to North America), but from the photo at the top it seems ecologically extremely unlikely that a large, principally vegetarian, mammal could subsist, and more than that support a viable population over time, in such an environment. It’s hard enough to explain how bigfoot might find enough to eat in more temperate forested areas, with a relatively high biomass, let alone in what looks a relatively arid landscape.

    It’s also interesting to note that palaeoanthropologists (see particularly, P. E. Wheeler) have noted that the need for thermoregulation among bipedal hominids, especially when they left the dense forests and moved into more savannah type environments, was probably invoved in the selection for hairlessness. Basically, it was just too hot to be walking around covered in hair. All I’m trying to say is that walking around covered in black hair probably isn’t the best adaptation to the environment.

    Anyway, that’s just my immediate thoughts. Now you can all tell me that, in fact, the environment down there is not anything like what I’ve assumed.


  9. twblack responds:

    Very curious story sounds legit. Too bad they did not have a video camera, could have had the next patty film. Or maybe the first film, does not say what year in the 60’s.

  10. MrInspector responds:

    A haymaker is a hard hitting power punch, depending on who you ask. In the old days it was punch that knocked you on your kiester. I think what he meant here was round-house.

    What I would like to know is, how these fellows’ boss handled the, “bigfoot crossed our path so we didn’t get the cattle story?” I’ve worked for some pretty understanding people, but most would still have expected me to get the job done and wouldn’t hear word one about chiya-tanka. However, if the boss man just nodded his head and said “Oh! Ok.” Then that might also lead to a little insight into just how accepted these stories are or aren’t.

    There’s also the point about these things “spooking” horses that I find interesting. Most of the things that “spook” horses in this manner are predatory in nature. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen horses “spooked” by a leaf or a road sign, or refuse to go between too narrowly spaced trees. But this confrontational standoff position is a purely defense against predator stance. And it’s quite possible that the horses turned several times. It would be typical for the horse to put its rear to the predator. Remember horses see from the sides not directly ahead and its primary defense is a rear kick. One might postulate that these horses narrowly missed becoming a meal. It’s quite likely that these animals were stalking the horses in tandem. I know it’s specultation but it seems it’s what the horses were thinking. It might be that the horses smell covered the human odor; I use horses to get right next to deer, geese, and even turkey all the time, day or night; and the sight of the humans sent them away. Many of the closest BF sightings seem to be from horseback. Patterson & Gimlin for instance. All the skeptics and laymen seem to make a big deal about how bigfoot just seems to casualy stroll away; and by laymen I mean scientists as well, you may know your field, but the wilderness is MY field. However in the wild when two predators of a different species meet the best course of action is typically to turn and walk casualy away. You never run and you only posture if you have to. If you run you are food and you initiate the chase instinct, if you posture you become a threat and initiate the defensive-aggresion response. This could lead to both predators being injured or even killed. This actually lends credence to the stories to me. Lends credence mind you, not verification.

  11. rayrich responds:

    Sounds like a pretty legit and true story to me. My aunt worked on a reservation in North Dakota as a counselor for many years and relayed many stories to me of Sasquatch encounters years ago in both Dakotas some very similar to this one.

  12. Sky King responds:

    I’m sorry, I did misread it. And sschaper, I HAVE ridden horses, and the spook factor – their startle reaction – is the reason I won’t ride them anymore.

    A neighbor has two and a pasture right out back of my house, and feeding treats to and watching is enough horsey for me.

  13. madman responds:

    The story sounds credible, in my opinion.

  14. kittenz responds:

    This story sounds credible, as do many others. But seeing Sasquatch is not like, say, seeing a thylacine in Tasmania or a Sumatran rhino or even a sabertooth cat. Those are animal species which are known, not only from tracks and sightings, but from hard physical evidence. I realize that an animal can remain undiscovered for years, but even those animals that have become extinct left bodies somewhere. There are skulls and other bones, coprolites, even natural mummies or preserved museum specimens. Even people are from time to time found dead in the forest or in a glacier or a cave. Granted that there is a great deal of the planet that remains unexplored by “civilized” people – where is the actual physical evidence of Sasquatch? If such an animal is part of a given environment, it didn’t just appear overnight; it had to have existed for many centuries. In all that time, there hasn’t been even ONE whose remains have come to light? Not one found dead of old age in a cave. Not one found dead in the woods. Not one. Surely someone, somewhere would have found irrefutable physical remains of at least a few individuals.

    I know that there are probably large animals that are still completely undiscovered by civilization, in very remote areas, but even those very rare “living fossils” are usually known to local tribal peoples, who have at least a skull or a skin or teeth of the rare critter. I try to keep an open mind about Sasquatch, but I wonder: why isn’t there some direct physical evidence somewhere?

  15. sasquatch responds:

    Gigantopithecus. Remains mostly found in China I believe. Some say these creatures made their way over from the Alaskan Land bridge. I don’t know for sure.

    Yo, “Things in the Woods”, There are tons of pine forests in the badlands area ajoining the places like in the above picture. If sasquatch eat meat, then I see no reason why they couldn’t live there. Also, did you know Black bears live in the Arizona desert? They are omnivorous AND are black hair (fur) covered!

    We shouldn’t be suprised by anything in nature. It is full of strange critters that defy our first impressions. Before proven real, They used to think Duck Billed Platypuses were a fantisized concoction of REAL animals, like Beavers and Ducks. Did you know they are poisonous? Weird huh?

    Just one example of things we accept and take for granted, but if you break down their different attributes it really starts to freak you out. God is amazing…

  16. Mnynames responds:

    Things-In-The-Woods- concerning whether a principally-vegetarian mammal can survive in the Badlands, keep in mind that the environment is much richer in biomass, both flora and fauna, than say, the Kalahari Desert of Africa. The principally-vegetarian, bipedal primates of that area, Humans, seem to get along just fine.

    Just food for thought…

  17. things-in-the-woods responds:

    hey Sasquatch and Mnynames- I take both your points. We should keep in mind though that the Kung San of the Kalahari, as well as all other human hunter-gathers, manange to survive in such harsh environments at least in part due to their very sophisticated tool kits (spears, bows and arrows, traps, containers, etc) and coordinated hunting strategies. Neither of these have been noted with regards to bigfoot as far as I’m aware.

    It’s interesting to hear about the black bears in Arizona, but bears do not have the increased encephalisation and attendant need for increased cooling of the brain that is present in primates.

    Anyway I don’t mean to be too negative- nature is a wonderful thing, and we often just dont what it has produced until we see it. Just waiting to see it myself.

  18. joe levit responds:


    Recall that Gigantopithecus is known from only a few jaw fragments and some teeth. Is is not entirely possible for small clues such as this to espape detection in North America, especially considering that most people who would find such evidence would not know it was anything out of the ordinary, and that a good number of the people who would know what was up would choose not to reveal that knowledge for fear of persecution on the job?

    I think it is more than probable that there is physical evidence in the way of bones from some of the different forms of hidden hominids/anthropoids in this area that have been ignored, misidentified and/or purposefully tucked away in a location never to see the light of day. Remember that there are many different agendas that many different people are working under.

  19. MrInspector responds:

    Just a thought on remains here, but has anyone considered just how difficult it is to find the remains of a specific person even when the general location is known? For instance, a criminal investigation. I can’t even begin to count the number of times searches have been carried out in an area with hundreds of people and turn up nothing, only to have someone else stumble upon partial remains in the very same area years later. Don’t underestimate the difficulty involved with such a feat. Scavenger mamals and carion eating birds are only one aspect that make the task difficult. It’s just a big country with a whole lot of nothing to look through. Now compound the dificulty by about a million fold and you get an idea of the difficulty. Think of the old saying, “a needle in a haystack,” now think of the needle as microscopic and moving through a haystack roughly the size Iowa trying to avoid you.
    Now let’s look at Giganto for just a sec. The entire fossil record for this animal comes from a few teeth and a partial jawbone found deep in the soil of caves. If anyone has ever seen the recreation of this animal you know this thing was HUGE, The remains of the ENTIRE SPECIES will fit in a shoe box now.
    Assuming this is a real animal,(I’m not convinced either way) it is obviously secretive and elusive. There is also the possiblity that it’s also OUR relative and could even be quite crafty not just instinctive. The hardest thing in the world to find is someone or something that doesn’t want to be found. And to make matters more difficult, anyone who’s looking only has the faintest of idea where to start.
    I think what it really boils down to is money though. Searches take money and there just isn’t any available. There aren’t any major reasearch labs or college studies to support these efforts. Everyone who is in the field now does so at his own expense. Most are very poorly funded and even more poorly equiped. Most larger groups who have the equipment can’t afford the time to truly use it. There is no way spending a weekend here and week or two there is going to be productive without the element of chance. Anyone who has ever been in combat, has ever been involved with field research, has ever engaged in extreme sports, or even gamblers, can attest, luck can save you or break you, but you can NEVER count on it.
    Anyone who wishes to help should donate their time and what money you can spare to your local research group.
    The only way these animals will be found is to LOOK for them. I’m pretty sure Bigfoot’s not gonna stop by UCLA, Champ isn’t going to lumber over to MIT, and none of those guys are going to get off their arses and go look.
    We should also tip our hats to those who do spend their time and money in the field, it’s expensive, exhausting, and thankless, and they don’t have to do it. SO, thanks guys, keep up the good works.

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