Between 1850-1870, North Dakota was a war ground between the white man and the Dakota Indians. The Dakotas were pushed into the Badlands, west of the Missouri River, and the Dakota Territory was opened to homesteading on January 1, 1863. Railroads reached the Red River of the North from Duluth and Saint Paul, resulting in the emergence of Fargo.
Between 1878 and 1886 was the Dakota Boom, but settlement west and north of the Missouri River was stalled until Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881. Gen. George Custer led an exploratory expedition into the Black Hills in 1874, an expedition that discovered gold. New towns sprung up, and with new settlers conflicts with the Sioux intensified. Although Gen. Custer and his troops were defeated in 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Indian resistance was finally crushed in 1890 with the massacre at Wounded Knee. North and South Dakota were admitted as states on November 2, 1889.