People in the photo are Little Warrior, Pemmican, Little Soldier, Dewey Beard, High Eagle, Iron Hawk, Comes Again, and Nicholas Black Elk. Groethe was the only professional photographer who came to the 1948 reunion of the Battle of the Little Big Horn survivors. The picture hangs in the Smithsonian Institution, and Bill still sells autographed copies from his store First Photo in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Groethe resides in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Over many decades, beginning in the 1930s, he took photographs of the construction of the Mount Rushmore National Monument, the South Dakota Badlands, the Lakota prophet Black Elk, and the Native American survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Bill was mentored by fellow Rapid City photographers Carl Rise, a neighbor who gave Bill his first camera, and Bert Bell, who Bill apprenticed with at age 12.
Groethe began selling his work at age 16. He served in the Second World War as a photo reconnaissance technician for the Army Air Force.
Bill Groethe"s pictures are housed and displayed at the Rapid City Airport, the Smithsonian, Mount Rushmore, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Visitor Center, a theme park in Imachi City, Japan, and many other museums and private collections.
On August 17, 2009, Bill was honored by the City of Rapid City and the State of South Dakota, which declared September 2, 2009, as William M. Groethe Day in honor of the 61st anniversary of the Little Bighorn photo.