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Sitting Bull’s band of Hunkpapa continued to attack migrating parties and forts in the late 1860’s. When in 1871 the Northern Pacific Railway conducted a survey for a route across the northern plains directly through Hunkpapa lands, it encountered stiff Lakota resistance.

The same railway people returned the following year accompanied by federal troops.

Sitting Bull and the Hunkpapa attacked the survey party, which was forced to turn back. In 1873, the military accompaniment for the surveyors was increased again, but Sitting Bull’s forces resisted the survey “most vigorously.”

The financial Panic of 1873 forced the Northern Pacific Railway’s backers (such as Jay Cooke) into bankruptcy. This halted construction of the railroad through Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota territory.

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