Stories of small, mysterious creatures residing in the Pryor Mountains have been passed down for centuries

Chase Anderson

More stories from Chase Anderson

December 15, 2022

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The Pryor Mountains, located in southern Montana, are believed to be inhabited by the Little People of the Crow Tribe.

Deer, elk, bears and even wild horses are some of the creatures found in the wild mountain ranges of Wyoming and Montana. Occasionally however, supernatural entities are spotted in these very same regions.

Stories of dwarf-like creatures known as Little People have been passed down from generation to generation by members of the Crow Tribe. These beings are said to be small but fierce and serve as spiritual guides for the Crow Tribe.

“There’s legends about what [the Little People] looked like and what they were,” senior Payten Feller said. “Apparently, they have razor sharp teeth and they stand about three feet or 18 inches tall or even shorter..they weren’t very big at all.”

In Crow legend, it is said that these small creatures reside in the nearby Pryor Mountains of southern Montana. According to oral retellings of the encounter, the native people were first introduced to the Little People in an area known as Arrow Shot in Rock within the Pryor Mountain range.

There are conflicting views in native folklore as to whether these creatures have purely positive intentions or whether they are dangerous entities to avoid. According to, members of the Shoshone Indian Tribe, who refer to the creatures as Nimerigar, say they are “aggressive little people one should definitely avoid due to their hostile nature.”

“They can be evil or they can be good; it just depends on what you believe,” Northwest College employee Christi Greaham said. “In the dead of the night, you can be up [in the Pryors] sleeping and you’ll hear birds chirping. Well, birds sleep at night. But, it’s actually the Little People. [The sounds] sound like grunts and whistles that just sound like animals but it’s actually [the Little People] trying to lure you into the woods.”

In many Native beliefs, the Little People are said to be benevolent and kind to those they choose to help. Below, Christi Greaham recalls an unexplainable encounter:

“One night, we were shipping out and the truck was coming at about seven in the morning. We had about 60 cows in a corral up [on the mountain]. We hear this ‘bang, bang, bang’ on the side of the horse trailer…we got out and were looking around, there’s nothing there. We get back in [the horse trailer] and the bangs happen again. There was not a movement, nothing outside. What had happened was the cows had broken through and had gotten out. Still to this day, I think it was the Little People pounding on my door, telling me, ‘The cows are out; you need to go get them because they’re running all over our forest.’”

In many stories of interactions with the Little People, a common trait these mischievous little creatures possess is their love for playing tricks or spooking the humans they came across. 

“On the way to the mountain, my brother’s tire flew off his truck.” Feller said. “This was during the summer so every single day or during the weekends, we were up [in the Pryors]. My brother’s tire flew off his truck and it was perfectly fine. It [flew off] because the lug nuts were loose. We put it back on the truck and my dad went around and every single one of the lug nuts on my brother’s truck was loose.”

Little People are also often notorious for taking items from humans just to mess with them.

“A lot of our stuff would get taken,” Feller said. “We would have stuff in our saddlebags and we would stop somewhere just to eat or something and we would have little things missing, like candy.” 

While many people may try to logically explain these bizarre encounters, there is proof that the Little People existed at one time or another. In 1932, a skeleton, standing at only 14 inches tall, was found in the depths of a cave in Casper, Wyoming. According to, two gentlemen named Frank Carr and Cecil Main were originally looking for gold in the San Pedro Mountains south of Casper. Using dynamite to break apart a vein of gold they had found, Carr and Main uncovered a chamber in the cave, leading to the discovery of the small body, now known as the Pedro Mountain Mummy.

“I believe in the historical side of [the Little People],” Feller said. “There is evidence up in caves, there’s been mini skeletons found so I believe in the historical aspect of [the legend].”

Though the Little People tend to be elusive and are not often seen, their remains and imprint on the land can be found as clues that point to their existence.

“We were at camp one time and we were chasing these cows,” Greaham said. “We were [riding our horses along] and [I looked down] and saw this little fire and these little benches all the way around it. There were rocks on top of rocks around this little fire.” 

“[Liz Feller and I] both got into this really dark, dense forest…It just kept getting darker and we just kept getting deeper into the woods. All of a sudden, there were all these little benches next to trees. You could see them next to these trees everywhere.”

A small fire ring and makeshift stone benches are found beside a trail in the Pryor Mountains. The scene is believed to have been created by the legendary Little People of the Crow Tribe. (Christi Greaham)

Whether the sound of twigs snapping in the forest at night or whistling from a nearby cave is the result of animals passing through or from playful entities, the stories told are unexplainable. The next time you find yourself traveling through the mountains, don’t forget to watch your surroundings or you may miss an encounter with these prankish beings.