Historian and Cavalry Reenactor, Butch Kelley, To Show Cavalry Equipment and Compare to Bowens’ Sand Creek Artifacts

Historian and Cavalry Reenactor, Butch Kelley, To Show Cavalry Equipment and Compare to Bowens’ Sand Creek Artifacts

By Mike Bowen

Co-author of We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site

Join us at the High Plains Snow Goose Festival to get your copy of our book signed. We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site details the incredible discovery made by Chuck and Sheri Bowen that reveals the true location of Sand Creek. We will also have paperback and hardcover copies of the book available. 

Thousands of Sand Creek battle artifacts were discovered, including bullets, arrowheads, kettle fragments, spurs, and cannonball shell fragments. 

Local historian and Cavalry reenactor, Butch Kelley, will be with us at the Snow Goose Festival to show cavalry equipment and to compare it to artifacts Chuck found on Sand Creek. Kelley and Bowen will both be available to answer questions and discuss a variety of artifacts. 

Chuck has spent nearly 30 years researching Sand Creek and discovering artifacts on his family ranch in Kiowa and Cheyenne counties. 

Butch has been in movies and TV shows, including Back to the Future 3, Son of the Morning Star, Conagher, and Ride With the Devil.  

There’s a scene in Back to the Future 3 where Michael J. Fox is taking cover in a cave after being chased by Indians and a bunch of Cavalry soldiers ride right over it and Butch was in the group. In fact, Butch can be seen on the left as the soldiers jump over the cave. 

See video below at the 1:30 minute mark.

“This was in Monument Valley, Utah—I was there for 10 days filming one charge scene,” Kelley said. They began their charge about 100 yards from a cave. “When we were charging, my saddle broke, I slid off, and I was hanging upside down underneath this horse’s neck. I didn’t see it cause I was hanging upside down, but they said Michael J. Fox saw me coming right at him and he dove for the cave. My horse stopped after that and the camera crew was just clapping and cheering! I almost killed him.

Kelley used three different horses for the charge scene, two horses he owned and a loaner. It’s possible he’s in that scene in all three horses since multiple takes would be edited into one scene. 

In the TV mini-series Son of the Morning Star, Kelley played a soldier. 

“We did a hand to hand combat fight scene on Last Stand Hill and I had a fight with an Indian. They were shooting real arrows at us. Real arrows! I called the AD and I showed him this arrow and told him they were shooting real arrows. Can we shoot back with live ammo? No, that didn’t go over,” Kelley said. “This Indian came at me and as soon as he came close to me, I hit him with my carbine.” 

In another scene from Son of the Morning Star, Kelley portrayed a dead soldier. “They sprayed us with fake blood, and the ants crawled all over us with that.” Kelley was in various scenes throughout the series. 

 Kelley also provided his talents for the movie, Conagher, with Sam Elliott. Filming for the movie was at Buckskin Joe in Cañon City, CO. “I was in a bar room scene with Sam Elliott; I was having drinks with him and Barry Corbin, sitting around a table telling jokes, and Sam Elliott was just laughing his butt off.” 

Other films include Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Ride With the Devil, starring Toby Maguire and Jewel. Kelley took his sons, Justin and Shane, with him for some of the filming of Far and Away. “Shane got to ride around all morning with Tom Cruise.” 

In the movie Ride With the Devil, he played two different parts. 

“I was one of the Confederate bushwhackers—we had to go both ways. We had to be a bushwhacker and then we also had to change clothes, put our uniforms back on, and then we were Union Cavalry chasing them.”

“We chased themselves,” Kelley commented. 

Martin Kove, Butch Kelley, Bruce Boxleitner. Movie: Through the Gap.

He also provided horses and equipment for a private film, Through the Gap, starring Martin Kove and Bruce Boxleitner. Kove is best known for his role as John Kreese, the main antagonist who ran the dojo in Karate Kid. 

Butch identified the most important artifact Chuck found. Read about it in chapter 7 of our book. See the Buy the Book tab at the top of this page.

Be sure to stop by the Snow Goose Festival, get a book signed, and learn about these historic artifacts! 

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