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World's 3rd Largest Bronze Sculpture

Field review by the editors.

Deadwood, South Dakota

In the early 1990s Kevin Costner, fresh from his film Dances With Wolves, commissioned artist Peggy Detmers to make what he claimed was the world's third largest bronze sculpture. "Lakota Bison Jump" consisted of three larger-than-life Indians, horses, and 14 buffalo about to be stampeded off a cliff. It took Detmers seven years to complete. She worked at a discount, because Costner told her that the sculpture would be featured at his planned $100 million Deadwood casino resort, The Dunbar (named for his Dances With Wolves character). Detmers figured that rich people visiting the resort would give her more commissions.

The local Lakota, however, fought hard against Costner's casino resort idea. It was never built. Instead, Costner took Detmers' sculpture and made it the centerpiece of a tourist attraction, Tatanka: Story of the Bison, which he opened in May 2005. It features a Lakota Encampment with Native American interpreters, and a walking path that circles Detmers' sculpture. She sued to get it back, lost, and wound up having to take a second job at a South Dakota multivitamin company. Tanaka draws tourists, but they can afford to look at a giant sculpture, not buy one.

Also see: Deadwood Round-Up

World's 3rd Largest Bronze Sculpture

Tatanka: Story of the Bison

100 Tatanka Drive, Deadwood, SD
Tatanka: Story of the Bison. Two miles north of Deadwood, on the east side of US-85.
M-Sa 9-4:30 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $12.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Preacher Smith MonumentPreacher Smith Monument, Deadwood, SD - < 1 mi.
Days of '76 MuseumDays of '76 Museum, Deadwood, SD - < 1 mi.
Sitting BillSitting Bill, Deadwood, SD - 1 mi.
In the region:
Center of the Nation Monument, Belle Fourche, SD - 20 mi.

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