Dinosaur 13 (2014) Movie Script

You go out in the field,
and you look up in the sky,
and you see the stars,
and some of that light
that's coming down to your eye
has been traveling
for millions of years.
So you look up, and you're
looking at the past,
and then you look down,
and you're looking at the past.
You know, those dinosaur bones
are, like,
millions of years old,
and that light left there maybe
at the same time that you're looking...
it's just you're kind of
sandwiched in that world,
and it's really...
really a wonderful place
being out in the field.
It was a brilliant story,
I mean, if you
didn't have to live it
like the Larsons did.
It's a good American tale.
it had a bad ending
for a couple real
brilliant paleontologists.
What does that
white line mean, Susan?
We'd been digging
at the Ruth Mason Quarry
since 1979.
The 1990 season,
I think we were
into the third month.
We'd been working north...
actually not working at
the quarry itself anymore.
We were actually prospecting
and looking for fossils.
We were looking for fossils
on Sharky Williams'
and his brother
Maurice Williams' ranch
and finding
some pretty cool stuff,
and we get up on August 12,
look outside the tent,
and it's foggy.
It's kind of a weird thing
to have fog on the prairie.
So we got kind of
a little bit later start.
We weren't in any big hurry,
because you couldn't see
very well,
and then went out to start
loading up the Suburban.
We have a 1975 Suburban
all rusted out.
And I look,
and the tire's flat.
So I say, "Oh, crap."
Well, almost flat.
Still had a little bit
of air in it.
So I go in the back
to get the spare tire,
and the spare tire's flat,
so I pull out the tire pump,
and the tire pump hose
is broken.
So we figure,
"I guess we better...
we better head in to town
while we still have
enough air in the tire
to get there."
We decided, well,
we're gonna have to go to town.
I'd been out there
for four of five weeks.
Going to town, that's okay.
I can take it easy
for half an hour,
an hour. That's fine with me,
but of course, Susan,
Susan just can't handle that.
You know, that's a waste
of time, right?
There was the flat tire.
I was like, "Great.
You guys go to town
and don't need me.
I've got this place
I want to look at."
Out there, you need landmarks
to find your way around,
and I said,
"Okay, it's foggy.
You can't see.
Make sure you don't walk
in a circle."
And, like, two hours later, I
was right back where I started,
and I could not believe it.
I just couldn't believe it,
'cause I was, like,
trying so hard to walk straight.
It was like...
I felt really stupid.
Believe it was the next day
we went back
with the video camera
and just kind of reenacted,
you know, how I found her.
Anybody who had any idea
what a fossil versus a rock was
would have seen it,
'cause there was
a lot of broken bones
dribbling down.
About eight foot
up the side of the cliff,
there were
three articulated vertebrae
and a couple other pieces
of bones sticking out.
From the debris pile,
I picked up scraps
that showed the hollowness
and took it with,
'cause I knew if I went back
to where they were working,
they wouldn't believe me.
We got back after
fixing the tire,
and we were at the dig site.
We were just finishing
up doing stuff,
and Susan comes up.
And she opens her hand,
and she's got two pretty
small pieces of bone,
only about this big,
in her hand.
And I'd never seen the inside
of a T. Rex vertebra before,
but I knew exactly that was
what she had in her hand,
and I says,
"Is there more of it?"
She said, "There's a lot more."
So we ran, literally ran
back to the site.
Crawl up on the cliff face,
and I see three
articulated vertebrae,
and from that point on,
I'm absolutely certain
this is going to be
the best thing we ever found
and it's going to be
a complete T. Rex.
He called up and said,
"Neal, I need you to bring
a lot of plaster two-by-fours."
Well, it took me a day
to get everything ready,
and I came up, and I got up
there with all these materials,
and he took me
over to this big cliff,
and he said, "Take a look."
And I looked at it,
and I looked at him.
I said, "Is that T. Rex?"
He said, "Yes,
and I think it's all here."
And we haven't started digging
or haven't moved
anything around yet.
We've just been looking at
it and taking some pictures
and trying to figure out
how to proceed.
There's a real mass
of bones here.
Some are caught up
in concretion,
but most appear to be really
excellently preserved.
And I believe that the
tail's going that way
and the skull is going this way,
but we're just going to
have to dig it up and see.
Collecting fossils
is something that's very timely.
Fossils are discovered because
they're weathering out,
because the forces of nature,
rain, winds, freezing,
thawing, even snowfall,
have an effect on that fossil.
Every day that it's outside
is a day that it's
going to destruction.
We started by picking up
all these thousands
of fragments of bones
and bagging them, labeling them.
Well, the plan of attack
is to protect the
specimen first of all,
and then you go above the
specimen and dig down to it
so that you can get
all the way around it
to remove it from the cliff.
We basically used
these ditch-digging tools,
picks and shovels,
to dig down that 30 feet
from where I thought
we could get back
into the cliff face
far enough to uncover
what I thought
would be the limits
of that skeleton.
Probably the hardest work
I've ever had to do in my life.
We were doing this all
in temperatures around
115 degrees every day.
It was very hard work,
but it was very easy
to put in a lot
of energy into it,
because we all wanted to see
what the skeleton
was going to look like.
Basically, we'd take
different sections
so we weren't
in each other's way
and just kind of worked
the specimen
until we could start
removing bones.
You know, and every time
somebody found a bone
or fragments,
they just said, "the S bone."
We wouldn't say, "Skull."
We didn't want to jinx it.
Pretty early on,
I hit something hard, and so,
I stopped.
"It's the 'S' word," I said,
"I bet I hit the skull."
When I got down digging
and then started really working
with the smaller knife,
we found, as we were going down,
is the back of the skull.
And we're getting down,
and here's this skull
taking shape,
and we get out on the side,
and I put Terry to work
on cleaning
the side of the skull,
'cause he's really
our best preparator.
Pete let me work
on part of the skull
in the field,
which was amazing.
He's working and uncovering
the teeth one by one by one.
It was spectacular.
Teeth like this
just sticking
right out of the skull.
We're going, "Oh, my God.
Look at this thing.
Look how huge it is.
This has gotta be
bigger than the one
at the American Museum.
It's huge. It's wonderful."
We had started a long time ago
naming particular dinosaurs,
and the name Sue,
for Susan Hendrickson,
goes down in history,
and I think that's
a kind of a cool way
to reward those amateurs
who make these discoveries.
We were all
experienced diggers.
You know, it was just
total focused effort.
We would just
work into the specimen,
remove things that we could,
protect the rest of it,
and then take it
out of the ground
and get it back
into the laboratory,
where you can have a more
controlled environment
to take care of the specimen.
The amount of new things
that we found and the amount
of scientific information
that we discovered
while finding Sue was enormous.
Beautifully preserved
articulated skull,
articulated vertebral column
up to the pelvis with the tail
and shoulder blade
and all this stuff,
and it's just like, "Holy cow."
And wonderful preservation.
Just fantastic bones
that were just
beautiful surface on them.
Every time we were ready
to take a bone out or every time
there was some new discovery,
Pete would take
this butcher paper out,
and he mapped each
and every bone one on one
that we found,
that was excavated.
Pete and I had
quite a few discussions
what would be fair.
$5,000 is the most that anybody
had ever given anyone
for a dinosaur,
for any fossil in the ground,
so Pete wrote
a check out for him
and a contract that he
wanted Maurice to sign.
And I showed it to him,
and he said,
"Well, we don't need to sign anything.
It's just something...
a handshake between friends,
and $5,000 is fine.
I'm happy with that."
And, you know, that was the most
that any landowner
had ever gotten.
We shook hands, and he
was pretty excited
about seeing it
set up in the museum.
Last phase of getting Sue
out of the ground,
we used basically
Egyptian techniques
to get this large block.
I mean, we had...
one of the blocks weighed
probably something
close to 10,000 pounds.
There was probably about
10 ton of material total
that we had to load up.
Once we had the skull
and pelvic block
and the tail vertebrae
and everything else,
we knew we could haul
a lot of the stuff
on our Bobcat trailer.
We had no idea how
we were going to be able
to get all these other things.
Well, my brother John had built
a tandem-axle trailer
earlier that year.
With that and the other
pickup truck that we had there,
we were able
to load the fossil up.
After we had built pallets
underneath the fossil,
we were able to scooch
some plywood underneath 'em
so that we could move it
with chains and come-alongs
and get it into the trailers.
It was and still is today
the most exciting,
the most wonderful excavation
we have ever done,
the most incredible thing
we have ever done.
Dinosaurs, for me, are still
one of the most amazing
creatures ever to have
lived on the planet.
You're touching something
that was alive
65, 100, or three or more
hundred million years ago.
When you pick up a fossil,
and you're
the first ever human being
to touch the remains
of that organism,
it's a remarkable feeling.
Dinosaurs are iconic animals.
They represent
paleontology in general.
They represent science.
Dinosaurs lived
for 150 million years,
and they dominated
the world for that long,
and yet humans have only been
around for three, four, or five.
What are our chances?
We seem to be approaching
these big problems.
Most of what is to be learned
about the history of life
is yet to be discovered.
What's still out there?
What's still in the ground?
What some kids might find
100 years from now
will contribute to that
greater understanding.
We know nothing about
the history of the planet
unless learning it through
a paleontologist,
and it's that sense of
deep time, real deep time,
that gives you
a sense of who you are
and how you fit in
to the scheme of things.
I first fell in love
with fossils when I was
about four years old.
I picked up this small tooth
down on my folks' ranch.
From then on,
I just was so fascinated
with fossils.
I just couldn't stop.
Every day that
the weather was good
and every day that
the weather was great
that was on a weekend
if we were going to school
or in the summertime,
Dad would always say,
"Let's go out rock hunting."
We ended up starting
this little museum,
and we'd charge the adults
in our family five cents.
We had little displays
where we set up the things
that we had collected,
and not just fossils and rocks,
but also what we thought
were antiques.
We had this horrible hobby
that started to captivate
every part of our life.
Eventually I decided
to really get into paleontology
and so went
to the South Dakota School
of Mines and Technology
in Rapid City.
Junior year, we went
to the Tucson
Gem and Mineral Show
and really saw how
specimens are purchased
by museums and purchased
by private collectors.
And by the time we graduated,
we started this business
called Black Hills Minerals
as this earth science
supply house.
my younger brother Neal,
who was also a student
at the School of Mines,
and Bob Farrar,
one of his classmates,
started working with us as well.
With the three of us
all going
to the School of Mines,
we were problems there,
because all of us chose
not to go into industry.
The first year was terrible,
the second year was not so good,
but it was sort of
turning into a business.
As we kept going,
we kept collecting
more and more fossils
and had the idea
of it probably would work
to sell these
as display specimens.
In 1978,
we were going pretty strong.
We were selling mostly fossils.
We were going out and doing
geological exploration.
So by 1979,
we created this new entity
called Black Hills Institute of
Geological Research, Incorporated,
in the center
of the Black Hills.
We got Sue back to Hill City.
We moved the big blocks
into the warehouse,
actually built a room
around where we had put Sue,
started working
on this wonderful fossil.
When I was prepping Sue,
I was cloistered like a monk
in the back corner
of the back building.
Doing preparation, you just...
"Just leave me alone," right?
But everybody was in there.
There would be
schoolkids in there.
Or another day, there'd be,
you know, some scientist guys
coming along in there.
I mean, Pete had,
like, 30 scientists
working on a major new monograph
on Tyrannosaurus rex,
so you got to suck it up.
Pete wants it this way.
He wants this specimen
available to everybody.
It was so beautiful.
Just the preservation
was incredible.
It was just, "Wow."
Everybody knew about Sue.
We hadn't made
any secret of the fact
that we'd collected her.
We had 2,000 visitors
sign this little guest book
that went way in the back
in our warehouse
to see the skull of Sue.
I was just totally flabbergasted
when I saw the specimen.
First of all, the size
is just so imposing.
But what I was more amazed by
was what a great job they were
doing preparing the specimen.
I'd heard inklings
that the Black Hills
Institute boys had
found something.
One of the first things
I saw was actually,
you know, part
of the skull of Sue
still encased in matrix.
65 million years later,
this animal really had the
power to give you goose bumps.
To see the look on
Pete's face and Neal's,
those guys were just like proud papas.
They would inform you.
They would go do classes
at school for the kids,
so it was very educational
for all of us,
and I learned a lot from that.
Ever since we created
that little museum
on our parents' ranch,
it's always been our dream
to have a museum here
in Hill City.
And finding Sue
the Tyrannosaurus rex,
here's the anchor
for the museum.
The whole town is behind us.
It's going to put Hill City
on the map
in a way that it's never
been on the map before.
Didn't matter how many other
projects we had going on.
With Sue, Sue took precedence.
We found out all kinds
of cool things
about this dinosaur.
Broken and healed bones
all over the skeleton.
This animal had a terrible life,
a terrible, rough life.
The skull of Sue
had actually had...
the left side of the lower jaw
had been literally ripped
out of the socket,
still held together
here at the symphysis,
where the two ends
of the lower jaw
come together in the front,
but it's been torn loose
from the socket
which allows the jaw
to open and close.
And the postorbital,
the bone
directly behind the eye,
was broken and pulled outwards
and laying
at sort of a weird angle,
so I think
that she actually died
from the attack of
another Tyrannosaurus rex.
That was a big job.
I mean, it took me a year,
literally a year
just to, you know,
remove individual bones
from around the skull
and then...
and then to take that,
the giant hip bones,
off of the nose.
We finally were able
to lift the pelvis
off of Sue's skull
in the beginning of May, 1992.
Okay. Let's go.
- Up?
- Let's go.
Taking that hip
off of Sue's skull was critical
to doing it right,
because you don't have
a second chance.
You okay there, Terry?
- Oh!
- Okay.
If you think
of two big ships, you know,
when you get those kind
of weights going on,
one little movement,
you don't what's going on.
It could be cracking it
all the way through inside.
- Okay, go.
- Go.
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go.
Yeah. That must be
where the weight is.
- Yep.
- Yep.
Okay, it's looking good.
We're at three here.
We're at three here.
What am I down to?
Hey, we're loose in
the front finally!
- All right.
- Yeah!
That moment,
when we made that separation,
that was probably
the highest point of my life.
- How was that?
- Champagne.
Hide it.
"Hide it."
There has to be a toast.
Who toasts?
This whole... I don't know.
- Cheers.
- Just, "Cheers."
- You ready?
- Ready.
- Sue.
- To old Sue.
- Sue.
- Sue.
- Sue.
- Yeah.
It's very good champagne.
Look at this.
I know.
We were riding
on top of the world.
We had everything going for us.
Less than a week after that,
all hell broke loose.
Bob and I were downstairs.
We were both in the prep lab.
We had a buzzer on our door
so that if anybody came in,
it would buzz
back in the prep lab,
and we could go meet them
in the front office.
It was about 7:00 in the morning
when the buzzer went off.
We were met by two FBI agents
with a search warrant
to take Sue
and all records
belonging to Sue.
They showed up
to seal off the building
and keep anybody from going in.
"Just wait here.
We have to get Pete."
They sent me to get Pete,
and I was running.
I lived in a trailer house
behind the Institute.
"The FBI's here.
They're all over the place."
They've got yellow police tape
around the main building.
"Do not cross.
Police line. Do not cross."
It was hard to know
what was really happening
at that point.
I go down to the office,
and there's two FBI
agents sitting there.
"You've stolen this
from federal land,
and we're coming
here to seize this."
I got a phone call
from Peter Larson,
because it wasn't just the FBI.
It was personnel
from South Dakota Tech.
It was personnel from
other federal agencies,
and it was the National Guard.
The U.S. Attorney at the
time, Kevin Schieffer,
got reporters together
in the Federal Building
in Rapid City
and announced that the
seizure was ongoing.
The purpose of our action
this morning
is to preserve...
the scientific knowledge
and integrity of these fossils.
Then of course
the entire press corps
hopped in their cars,
and we drove to Hill City.
They were supposed
to take things related to Sue,
but they took everything.
They went through
all of our offices,
all of our desks,
all of our mail trays,
taking mail opened, unopened.
Somebody called me
and said, "The FBI's
got crime scene tape
around the Institute,
and they're taking Sue."
I hung up the phone, and I went
as fast as I could
down to the Institute.
I don't know
how many agents they had,
30-some people or whatever.
It was just insane.
I didn't even think about it.
I grabbed the tape
and go under it.
I just went to the specimen.
That was my concern.
I could just see these idiots,
you know, just try
to pack up my dinosaur
and take it away and ruin it.
How dare they?
How dare these people do this?
Unconscionable. I can't imagine
somebody being able to do this
here in the United States of
America, in a free country.
In order to ensure
that this dinosaur
could be carefully packed up,
we helped.
It was pretty clear
that they didn't know
what they were doing.
These people
didn't know anything.
I mean, most of these guys
hardly go out
in the field at all.
What do they know
about preparing a fossil
or packing it or anything?
The Larsons were trying to do
a little bit of negotiating.
"Put Sue under lock and key
at our place to prevent damage."
I said to Kevin Schieffer,
"You just tell me,
and that fossil
won't go anywhere.
It's not like it's going to
disappear in a briefcase."
That request was denied.
It is clearly a violation
under the Antiquities Act
to remove antiquities
from United States lands
without the permission
of the United States.
The federal government doesn't
show up with the National Guard
and an Assistant...
or pardon me...
an Acting United States
Attorney in pancake makeup...
...with the intention
of working things out
somewhere down the road.
After we got over
the initial shock, those of us
who were packing the dinosaur
kind of went
into our packing mode,
but towards the end of the day,
it became obvious that something
was going on with the town.
People around town noticed.
They noticed all the cop cars.
They noticed the police tape.
All of a sudden,
there were people with signs
out in front of our building
It was clear that people
were not happy
with what was going on.
The protest developed
very quickly,
so there were a lot of
people on the street.
I was working
for "National Geographic,"
and we were gonna take
the skull of Sue and put it
into a CAT scan of what they use
for the space shuttles to see if we
could see inside the skull of Sue.
And Terry Wentz answered the phone, and
he said, "Well, I don't think so,"
so I got
on the next plane I could,
and the place was
surrounded by cops.
I mean, you thought
that there was, like,
a real T. Rex loose
on the property.
The next day in,
they brought reinforcements,
a lot more people.
The idea was that we were
going to load this stuff up
and haul it somewhere.
And when the Director
of Military Support,
one of the Colonels
got down there,
he called and said,
"Hey, General,
this is not what we expected.
This is a media event.
We got schoolkids out here.
We got parents out here.
What should we do?"
And I said,
"Well, just go do it."
...cruel! Save Sue!
Don't be cruel! Save Sue!
Don't be cruel! Save Sue!
Don't be cruel! Save Sue!
Don't be cruel! Save Sue!
Don't be cruel! Save Sue!
Save Sue! Save Sue!
Save Sue! Save Sue!
Save Sue! Save Sue!
All day long,
the protestors kept arriving.
Protesting about what
the government was doing.
Save Sue! Save Sue!
Save Sue! Save Sue! Save Sue!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you!
Shame on you! Shame on you!
Kids protesting,
adults protesting.
It was not the sort
of public relations event
that, you know,
law enforcement likes,
because they're
taking away this T. Rex
from a very small town
that really could use it.
On the third day,
the National Guard
had brought up
large equipment, including
forklifts and things,
and the crowd
had grown by this time.
Leave our Sue!
Leave our Sue!
Leave our Sue!
People were
so emotionally involved.
The amazing thing to me
was it wasn't just us.
The whole town,
entire town of Hill City
was in mourning
when they took
that dinosaur away.
Here was a dream
that the town had.
It was our dinosaur.
It was our museum.
It was our lives
that had been just
torn to pieces.
I was in France,
and they called me,
and, you know, I
thought it was a joke.
Couldn't believe it,
and I cried.
I was highly emotional,
but from that moment
that I heard
that the specimen
was going to be taken,
my focus was on the specimen.
Legally and all that other crap,
that's not my concern.
My concern was
make sure that dinosaur
was going to transport,
everything was going to be safe.
Sue belonged here,
and what happened was not right.
You know, it was like a funeral,
losing a family member.
It just felt like a nightmare,
like it just wasn't
really happening, just...
The place was a mess.
We, all of a sudden,
were a mess.
And they hauled Sue away.
I don't know how Peter did it.
One of the hardest
things to watch
and be a part of
was knowing that literally
Peter was in love
with that dinosaur.
? And the home?
? Of the brave.?
I grew up in Hill City,
and I lived in Los Angeles
at the time Sue was discovered.
In 1992, I was working
at "Unsolved Mysteries,"
a TV show on NBC,
researching cases where people
convicted of crimes
insist they were innocent.
And that first day
the dinosaur was seized,
Pete called me on the phone
in the middle of it all.
He said the FBI was here,
and it was dramatic and scary,
and he needed coverage.
He needed support.
So I thought, well,
I'll go cover the story
and take a hiatus
and maybe move away
from L.A. forever.
I didn't know,
but I just packed up
and bailed back to South Dakota
by the end of the year
to cover the story and see
what was gonna happen to it.
America's Indian tribes
have fought the white man
over many different
issues through the years,
but the newest fight
is over a dinosaur.
It was a big story
and a very unusual story.
To have the federal
government come in
and seize Sue,
- everything exploded.
- Controversy tonight.
Controversy surrounding
the Institute
and their most famous discovery.
It may be the custody
battle of the century...
scientists, Indians,
the U.S. government.
You find any fossils,
the government
may take them away.
Not only has he taken
this dinosaur away,
but he's taken our
research away too,
every photograph, every record
we had about this dinosaur
and the locality
where she was found.
Sue was seized pursuant
to a search warrant,
but there was never
a crime charged.
Pat and I talked
about filing suit.
You know, we sued the
federal government
for return of our property.
The Black Hills Institute
said it purchased the fossil
from Maurice Williams.
Originally Maurice
Williams said that too,
but then he changed his claim,
and he said he had
not sold the fossil
and that he owned it.
Mr. Williams...
Pete and Neal had
made a deal with Maurice
Williams for $5,000.
On that Saturday,
the day before we finished
getting Sue out of the ground,
that we gave Maurice
Williams a check for $5,000,
that said for "Theropod Sue"
on the bottom of the check.
Even though $5,000 may
not seem like a lot,
it was a lot of money for
our company to spend,
and no one had ever
paid that much
for an undiscovered
fossil before.
We had lots of conversations
with Maurice Williams
about what was happening
to the dinosaur.
He knew that we were going to
bring it back to Hill City.
He was completely
in favor of that.
He knew about the museum
we were building.
He knew we were going to
be preparing the fossil.
That's about the only
ones that we have.
Well, it's not the only one.
- Almost.
- Almost.
And it's not...
not completely...
Maurice Williams never intended
to sell that fossil.
Maurice Williams knew
exactly what he was doing.
Numerous people
said, "Had we known
you were on his ranch, we
would have warned you."
I had known people
who knew Maurice and Sharky,
and they were colorful
and controversial figures
in their own right
on the Cheyenne River
There began to emerge
some controversy
about Sue being
collected from Indian land
and the ownership issue.
You could not have
discovered this rex
in a worse and potentially
legally complicated place.
It was discovered
within the exterior boundaries
of the Cheyenne River
Sioux tribe
on land which was held in trust
for the benefit of Maurice
Williams, the landowner.
Wasn't tribal land.
It wasn't federal land.
It was a really...
Sue came out
from an absolute
legal netherworld.
Indian people were given...
heads of household
were given 160 acres
in what we call
the Allotment Acts.
And that was to try
and make people
who didn't understand
land ownership
be owners of land,
but they really
didn't own the land.
So there became this concept
of trust responsibility,
and nothing ostensibly is
supposed to happen to that land
without the approval
of the federal government
through the Bureau
of Indian Affairs.
On the reservations,
the United States holds
that land in trust
for the individual Indian
as the beneficiary.
And the United States
has a fiduciary responsibility
to individual Indians
and/or their families.
That they get the highest
and best use out of it.
All across the West,
it is a patchwork quilt
of laws and regulations
concerning what can
and can't be harvested
that's paleontological.
You can be all right in
this quarter section,
but if you get off
a little bit...
remember this is before GPS.
If you get off a little
bit to the wrong place,
you might be dealing with a whole
'nother set of regulations.
The tribe claimed that
because Maurice Williams,
being a member of the tribe,
had not purchased
a $100 permit to sell something,
the fossil should be forfeited
and therefore
they owned the fossil.
And of course
the government said
that it was government property
and that that was because
of the trust land issue.
The seizure and the subpoena
were the brainchild
of Acting U.S. Attorney
Kevin Schieffer.
He was a controversial
figure as a U.S. Attorney,
because he hadn't had lot of
experience practicing law.
He had the ability to
drive some people crazy.
I do have a fair amount
of litigation experience.
I have not had
courtroom experience.
It's a little unclear
as to why Schieffer
decided to seize Sue
or decided to become
interested in this at all,
whether it began
with Maurice Williams
or a complaint from the tribe.
Ultimately the decision was
Kevin Schieffer's, though,
to decide that this was something
that they wanted to do.
Also was shocking from a
scientific standpoint,
that anybody would
behave so recklessly
with the greatest paleontological
find of all time.
If that dinosaur seizure
wasn't a publicity stunt,
then I don't know what is.
There could have been
a gang in this town
with a warehouse
holding a ton of cocaine
and human bodies
hanging from the rafters,
and the federal government
would not have sent
35 agents
and the National Guard.
Just a few of 'em.
Bumper stickers?
There's some in every vehicle.
We would just like to gain
public support for our cause
of getting Sue
back to Hill City.
When you get the big foot
of the government come in
and do something like that,
you better answer
in a way that people
can understand
that this is wrong.
You know, they just protested
for three straight days
in front of the Institute
during the raid.
They weren't done.
"We want to protest."
Okay. Let's go protest.
Stay back.
Everyone stay back.
You'll be thrown to the
ground and arrested.
We got everything
under control here.
We don't want any trouble.
We had people from
all over the community,
all over the Black Hills
trying to help,
and it was amazing,
the support that we had.
We were fighting on every
front we could think of,
everything that you
could think of,
everything from
the Sue Freedom Run
to petitions we took
to the state capitol.
I would talk in front
of groups anywhere.
Terry was so involved
in this case.
I mean, he lived it.
One of the most moving
things in my life to see,
this wonderful group
of people here
supported us getting Sue back.
The U.S. Attorney,
Mr. Kevin Schieffer,
made a terrible error
in coming that tragic day
on May 14th to Hill City.
The right thing to do
in this case
would be to return the
dinosaur to Hill City.
Whoa! Yes, yes!
We got now
over 20,000 signatures
on the one petition,
the first petition
to bring Sue back,
and they're from all 50 states
and from 14 other countries.
Lot of people didn't have
a lot of money here,
so they wanted to contribute
any way they could do that,
and so there were a lot
of fund-raisers, parades,
buttons, posters,
a show of maybe there's justice,
because, I think, to me,
it was just a huge injustice
the fact they could even
do what they've done.
The custody battle
was in full swing,
and it was very dramatic
and scary for people.
And as I interviewed Pete
and talked with him,
I realized at that time I'd
never met anybody like him
in his single-minded pursuit
of what he believed was right,
and also, in the
flurry of emotions,
I thought that meant that he
was the perfect guy for me,
and so despite the fact that
I was writing about him
and he should be my subject,
I broke the first rule
of journalism
and fell in love
with my subject.
So we started dating,
and in our
emotional ridiculousness,
got married
really quite quickly,
within months of my moving here.
But it was okay.
It was okay for what
was going on there.
And so we
traversed this together,
and I had... created for myself
the additional burden of
trying to be a journalist
and separate my personal
feelings from my job.
Two federal courts have
sided with the government,
saying Sue should
stay in the box
because there's no proof the
dinosaur is being damaged there.
In another federal court,
they're still arguing over
who actually owns the bones.
The intensity reaction
while the court case
was going on
really surprised me.
There were people that I thought
were quite reasonable people
who basically...
said things about Black Hills
that just were not true.
There is a difference
between the academic perspective
of fossil collecting
and the commercial perspective.
There are some people
in this profession
that really, truly
believe that it is...
there's something morally
wrong with selling a fossil.
I was indoctrinated
as an undergrad
that if you don't have a PhD,
you have no right
to collect dinosaurs.
I heard about the BHI and Peter
Larson collecting fossils,
and I was told,
"These are pirates."
And I visited Pete Larson,
and I visited the Black
Hills Institute,
and they weren't pirates at all.
They had techniques
they taught my crew.
They were better than my crew.
You have academians, and they
have these little fiefdoms,
and now here's these really
great paleontologists
that don't need that system.
Back in the day,
in the early 1900s,
commercial collectors,
were filling museums
with specimens
and working hand in hand
with, quote,
academic people.
That was an okay relationship.
Around in the '70s
and '80s, that changed.
1980s, we're already seeing
this schism between professional
commercial collectors
versus professional
research collectors.
This race to discover
the Earth's past
is a very exciting one, and
people want a piece of it.
Sue had become
a living entity to me after
all our work in the field
and what were finding out
about her life,
and I really missed her
when she was gone.
So one way that I was able to...
sort of help that was
to go and visit her
and to talk with her
through the window,
looking at the container.
So I could see her,
see that that container's
still there,
not moved to some other place
in Timbuktu or something.
And just kind of had
some little
conversations with her.
It was precious. It was...
it was sweet.
She was his person,
and later I would realize
she was more of his person
than any other person
has ever been
and ever will be.
I got to say that dinosaur
and Pete Larson
were made for each other.
And so he had to go talk to her,
and that was what...
how it should be.
Mostly I was
trying to reassure her
that she wasn't going
to rot in that case,
that was going
to spring her free,
somehow was going
to get her out of there.
As that whole
custody battle unfolded,
firstly the tribe
lost its own case
in tribal court,
which is pretty surprising,
but evident that it
was a bad claim.
The government actually
retracted its claim,
because it realized it
couldn't claim trust property,
so then it comes down
to two people.
Is it Maurice's fossil, or is it
Black Hills Institute's fossil?
Every single filing
the Institute made,
I really believed would win,
because it was so clear.
They had purchased it.
He had accepted the check.
He had been on videotape
talking about it.
It was very clear that he
thought he had sold the fossil
at the time.
Judge Battey held
that a fossil,
unlike an archeological find,
had become... the bones
had become mineralized.
Therefore, the fossil was land.
An individual Indian
cannot sell land
that government
holds in trust for him
without the permission
of the federal government
to begin with,
so that's what ended it.
Fossils are land.
Judge Battey said
actually in his filing
that the sale was null and void.
The federal government
took the position
that he had no authority himself
to enter into an agreement with
the Black Hills Institute.
Peter realized
that he could not have
his fossil back.
He was devastated.
The judge decided that
Sue was real estate.
Sue the fossil was real estate.
I first got involved in the
dinosaur case, as we called it,
sometime late 1992,
early 1993.
Of course they're
not gonna like what we're doing.
That's the nature of what we do.
But hopefully
in a broader spectrum,
people can look at it and say, "Well,
I'm glad people can't just go out
into the forest
or go out onto the parks
and, you know,
take these fossils or..."
in this particular case...
"or steal stuff off from land.
And somebody's going
to do something about it."
Well, we're the somebody that
does something about it.
After the seizure
of the Sue specimen,
we continued to look
at this issue
not from a Park Service
jurisdiction perspective,
but more from the circumstances
of business practices
in terms of collecting
on public lands.
You really can't do anything
in any kind of a business
without money.
What monetary
transactions happened
during the time that this
enterprise had that fossil,
and then what did
they do with that fossil?
Sell it? What happened
to that money?
And then how we could
assemble the evidence
around that fossil to see
whether there's something
there that's wrong,
chargeable, what more
needs to be investigated.
FBI agents arrived here
in Hill City.
They presented
the Black Hills Institute
with a court order.
That order demanded
the release of more information.
But the people at the Institute
have another name for it.
They call it harassment.
This should not be
allowed to happen.
This is the United
States of America.
So far, no criminal charges
have been filed in the case.
Members of the Institute
say they're innocent
and are hoping that
a new administration
will put an end to their
legal fight over Sue.
Institute officials thought
their problems were over
when Kevin Schieffer was
replaced as U.S. Attorney,
but apparently
they continue to be
the target of
the federal government.
We have a federal search warrant
issued by the U.S.
District Court,
and we're serving
a search warrant.
Enormous amount of money that
the government's spending
to put one person out...
one group of people
out of business
that's so vital to a community.
It's been nearly 18 months
since Sue was seized
from this warehouse,
and still no charges have been
filed against the Institute.
Allow us some rights.
Charge us with something,
and let's go to court.
Let 12 people decide.
I couldn't give them
any information
to help incriminate people
at Black Hills Institute.
They thought I was
going to be able
to tell them all sorts of terrible
things the Institute did.
Well, they didn't
do anything wrong.
They talked to
my attorney about,
"You better get your guy
in and bring him on in,
or, you know, last chance,
happening pretty soon,"
and my attorney says,
"He just doesn't have
anything to tell you."
For three years,
I had no contact
with the Institute.
That's horrible. I mean, I
considered them best friends,
and I couldn't call them up.
Sue was probably the impetus
for the government following up
with a criminal prosecution.
Sue wasn't a part of
what we were looking at
or what was being looked at
as far as potential
criminal violations.
There were so many bones,
so many animals,
so many invertebrates
that were taken
off from public lands,
taken internationally,
sold internationally.
There was way more than we
ever could have investigated.
The case was never wanting
for not having Sue.
Because so much material
had been seized,
I think everybody thought
that there would be a
massive indictment.
Tell me a little bit
about today's indictment.
What alleged activity
are we exactly talking about?
This indictment charges
the theft of fossils
off a number
of different types
of federal land.
There are also charges in there
that pertain to
money laundering,
structuring of
currency transactions,
false statements made to
various government agencies.
The indictments were an
avalanche of charges,
and it was just
a massive document,
and it looked like a
deathblow to the Institute.
The government went
just nuts or something,
you know? I mean, they
tried... I guess they just
threw everything in and hoped
something would stick.
If you add up the time to serve
for each of those counts,
it comes to 353 years
for me, which is
longer than Jeffrey Dahmer
as sentenced to prison for,
and he killed and ate,
like, 13 people.
You know, it doesn't make sense.
A lot of these accusations
are things that
we know were legal.
38 felony indictments
for collecting fossils?
It totally blew me apart.
I'm used to fixing things,
and this was unfixable,
and it was so stupid.
Once you start to
understand the indictments,
basically this is
what they said.
Pretend we're in Wyoming
and we're standing in the
middle of the prairie,
and let's assume for a moment
that the fence
is in the right place.
You're standing on this
side of the fence.
The government says
right over there
on the other side of the fence
is this fabulous fossil,
and they're basically saying
that Pete and Neal and Bob
and whoever was out there
would go...
step over the fence,
wrongly, knowingly
pick up the fossil
that they're not
supposed to pick up,
carry it back over the
fence, put it in their car.
When they drive from
Wyoming to South Dakota,
they then have conducted
an illegal act which is called
interstate transportation
of stolen property.
They get back to the Institute.
They would make a phone call,
send a fax, maybe, to Japan,
and say, "We found the thing
that you were looking for."
Do you want to buy it?"
Well, that's wire fraud.
And then if the Japanese museum
were to purchase that fossil
and the guys would put
that money in the bank,
that's money laundering.
So basically the guys
were called conspirators
who were creating
this very elaborate scheme
to intentionally steal things
and sell them illegally.
As the months went by,
things seemed to get darker
and darker and darker.
For quite a while, we'd hoped
that they'll gain their senses
and this'll just go away.
Because it was so hotly
contested along the way,
I didn't think there
would be any chance
that this case would
settle before trial.
By late summer of '94,
there were serious discussions
that were going on with the U.S.
Attorney's office
for a possible resolution.
I go out on my step one morning
and bring the "Rapid
City Journal" in
and have a cup of coffee,
and right on the front page
is the plea agreement announced.
Somebody spilled their guts
in front of Hugh O'Gara,
and he might as well have
taken a gun and shot us.
The article itself
suggested capitulation
on the part of the government.
You never get a good deal done
if somebody is going to be cast
as having folded their tent.
Anybody who would publish
that should know better,
so I called Hugh O'Gara,
and I just said,
"What were you thinking?
How could you do that?"
And he was near tears
on the phone.
He would not answer me.
Hugh would never...
obviously would not tell
me who that source was.
I wouldn't even ask him.
The next morning,
the judge called all the
attorneys into chambers.
He went down the line
and made each of us
say that we were not
responsible for the leak.
He felt that the principals at
least deserved to go to jail.
He said that he would
not accept the plea.
He had prejudged the case,
and under two federal statutes,
a judge is obligated
to remove themselves
from sitting and hearing
the rest of the case.
So we filed immediately
our second recusal motion
asking the judge to step down.
The thing that seems to
upset Judge Battey the most
is not whether he's fair,
but to be challenged
that he's not being fair,
so he immediately
denied that motion.
I knew this case
was going to trial
the day the Hugh O'Gara article
was published in the
"Rapid City Journal."
I'm not afraid of 12 people,
a jury of 12 people
of our peers.
I know that they'll
look at this case
and they'll see
the ridiculous way
in which the government
is behaving,
and they will vindicate us.
We're innocent of all the
things that we're charged with.
So in the courtroom,
of course right in front
is Judge Battey and the bench.
Off to the left is the jury,
12 jurors, two alternates,
a large space in between
where the lawyers
get to pace and walk and
show exhibits and things,
and then we have
the prosecution,
which had at times
two or three lawyers.
On our side, there was a
lawyer for each defendant,
so there were six lawyers
and five defendants,
the sixth defendant, of course,
being the Black Hills Institute.
Our trial was...
and still is
the largest criminal case
that's ever been tried
in South Dakota.
You cannot say
the word "Sue" in the trial.
I mean, the jurors were going,
"What happened to Sue?
That's why they got these guys
in the court system, right?"
The logistics of this trial
were incomprehensible.
The Institute has collected
maybe a million fossils.
This indictment
covers 14 of them,
and those 14 fossils
were collected from seven sites.
In seven cases,
in all the years these guys
have been out in the field,
they are accused of being
in the wrong place.
The government would simply
have their officials come in
of whatever agency
was going to be
taking the lead
for that particular site
and would say, "I found where
the specimen was collected.
I knew, therefore,
it was on government land."
And to me, it just emphasized
the ridiculous nature
of this whole thing.
You know, I mean,
if it's 200 feet over
and you don't know where you
are, it would have been okay?
His job had been
to appraise the fossils
that had been seized
in the case,
and his evaluations would
be incredibly important,
because they determined
whether a given count
was a misdemeanor or a felony.
It was pretty easy
in cross-examination
to discover that the man
had not opened
the field jackets.
He was telling us
the values of things
he had not even looked at.
Pete and I, on one of
our trips to Peru,
we were taking $15,000 in cash,
because down there,
you can't use credit cards
or anything else.
And he withdrew $15,000 from
the bank, and we split it up.
Just in case
one person got robbed,
at least they
wouldn't lose everything.
Susan Hendrickson carried 8,000.
I carried $7,000 down
one of the trips of cash.
We were building a museum,
paying for the bricks and mortar
and doing the work ourselves
with our Swiss colleagues.
In Japan, they...
the museums pay in cash.
They always have.
Didn't want to carry
bundles of cash on the
plane, so we went
to a bank and put it
in traveler's checks.
They were all restrictively
endorsed traveler's checks,
all stamped for deposit only,
deposited in the bank.
Paid taxes on them.
Prosecution had four
different witnesses,
all of whom testified
that restrictively endorsed
traveler's checks do not
need to be declared.
What struck me about
the prosecution's case
was how complex it was.
People had to understand
the arcane ins and outs
of bringing traveler's checks
into the country
and latitudes and
longitudes on public lands.
And I think they did it
in an organized way,
but it was a very, very
complicated argument.
When the prosecution rested,
I felt we had put on
the evidence that we had.
We had their own pictures of
them taking these fossils.
We had their own field notes of
them collecting these fossils.
We had given it
100% of our effort
to show what they did.
As the defense
proceeded to present
many fewer witnesses to say,
"Look, it's not
that complicated.
We were collecting fossils.
We thought we had
permission to be there.
In this case, we weren't
where you thought we were.
In this case, we were.
It's that simple."
As we were approaching
the end of the trial,
Neal and I both felt
that it was important
for him to testify.
3 1/2 days, I was
on the witness stand,
and for 3 1/2 days, I swore
to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the
truth, so help me God.
Pete ended up not testifying.
State had not proven its case.
The state doesn't
prove their case,
your client doesn't
take the stand, period.
And so on the advice of counsel,
I did not testify.
The jury came back today
in the Hill City fossil hunter
federal criminal trial.
The jury said
over and over again
either not guilty
or no unanimous verdict
could be reached.
Of over 150 charges,
the jury agreed to convict
only 13 times,
and five of those convictions
are for misdemeanor crimes.
So here is how
the convictions break down.
Pete Larson, co-owner and
founder of the Institute,
is convicted on two counts
of misdemeanor thefts
and two felony counts
of illegally transporting money
in and out of the country.
Brother Neal Larson found guilty
of one misdemeanor theft.
The jury either acquitted Neal
or couldn't agree
on a verdict for the others.
Bob Farrar, a third
co-owner of the Institute,
convicted of two felonies,
making false statements
to customs officials.
And the Black Hills
Institute as a corporation
is convicted
of two misdemeanor thefts,
a felony theft
and twice making
false statements
to customs officials.
The jury also
found the Institute
guilty of bringing goods
in the States
by making a false statement.
Defendants Eddie Cole
and Terry Wentz
were not convicted
on any charges.
As the verdict was announced,
it was almost
impossible to believe
that the defense hadn't
scored a great victory.
However, there were
some fairly significant
felony convictions
The expression, "you could have
knocked me over with a feather"...
you could have knocked
me over with a feather.
I talked to some jurors
after the trail.
Some of them were near tears
when I interviewed them
about how they
had hoped they could acquit
on every single charge.
I believed they had to have
something to take this to trial,
and I spend the whole trial
waiting for that something.
Without a doubt,
the majority of the jurors
wanted this whole case
dropped and put away.
Maurice Williams,
the rancher who found Sue
has received at least six offers
to purchase the T. Rex.
Since the courts determined
that the fossil is part of
Williams' trust property,
any purchase must be approved
by the federal government.
Since Sue was seized
by federal agents in 1992,
the fossil has been stored
at the School of Mines.
My first contact with
Mr. Maurice Williams
was when he came to Aberdeen
for a series of meetings,
to discuss
what he should do
with this fossil.
The idea that I had
was to convene, like, a
panel of paleontologists
to do an in-depth study
of this fossil
with the hope that it would
end up in a museum somewhere.
But in the meantime,
while this was being discussed,
Mr. Williams decided that he
would rather sell the fossil.
Maurice Williams
had a stack of proposals
from all sorts of people
all over the place.
I mean, everybody wanted it.
I called up Maurice,
and I said I'm going to come out
to South Dakota if you want,
and I'll visit with you,
and he said great.
And I actually visited
the boxes
in which Sue was located
in the South Dakota
School of Mines
with Maurice's family,
who had never
actually been there.
This was the first time
they'd actually seen Sue.
What one really saw inside
that sort of garage area
was this extraordinary,
almost "Citizen Kane" vision
of boxes and boxes and boxes.
Maurice and I had
numerous conversations.
We talked about the
responsibility involved
in dealing with this
extraordinary fossil.
Nothing quite like it
had ever been sold before.
It had to go to the right place,
but adjudicating which place
was the right place
was complicated,
and the auction process, in
fact, could help resolve that.
We're going in to court.
We'd already had an indication
that the judge wasn't
too pleased with us
because we asked him
to recuse himself.
It was pretty clear
that Judge Battey was
irritated by the defense.
We had to go back
to the same tables
with our attorneys
and sit there and then stand up
as Judge Battey sentenced us.
He also wanted to hear
that we were sorry
for what we had done.
For Peter Larson,
recommended guideline range
for the two felonies
of which he was convicted
was zero to six months.
It really looked
like the sentence
would be minimal,
probably probation.
When he did come down
with his sentence,
he enhanced it, so instead
of zero to six months,
he sentenced me to two years in
prison and two years probation.
To send him to jail,
to prison for two years
for this offense,
was absolutely
no justification for it.
It was indefensible,
ugly behavior.
It just took my breath away.
How could they do that?
This is America?
This is justice?
This is, you know, the
country we live in?
Every "Geographic" photographer
in the last 30 years
would be in jail.
You know, you're
coming back with $10,000.
Well, you reported it going in.
You come back out.
Do you report it?
No, 'cause they're
not countersigned.
The reason the judge did
is because he had been urged,
he had been convinced
by guys with PhDs
at university museums
it had to be done
for the safety of our
science and our fossils,
and that was so totally wrong.
Peter Larson was
made an example...
...with that sentence.
I don't...
have a real good recollection
of those...
...those next few hours,
I guess you might say.
Federal Judge
in Rapid City today
sentenced Peter Larson
to two years in prison
and a $5,000 fine.
Larson was found guilty
last year of charges
connected to his commercial
fossil-hunting business
in Hill City.
It's the final chapter
in the case that began
with the discovery of Sue,
the most complete
Tyrannosaurus rex...
I was to turn myself in
at the gate,
the same prison that
Timothy McVeigh was
and John Gotti.
And I was using a cane.
I could barely walk.
Just a few months before that,
broken my leg quite badly.
When I surrendered at the gate,
they said, "We're going
to take your cane."
I said, "If you take my cane,
I'm going to fall over,"
because I really couldn't
stand without my cane.
And they would say,
"Well, let me see."
And so he's stumbling around,
and it was pitiful.
It was so insulting,
I just felt so bad for him.
And I was totally powerless.
There's nothing you can do.
She was not next to tears.
She was way past that.
I just... it broke my heart.
There's finally a time
when the man
said, "Get out of here,"
so I drove around him,
and then I couldn't
see him anymore.
And the only choice you have
is to go out the driveway
and turn on the desolate road
and drive 10 hours,
you know, home.
I think I screamed
for about 10 minutes,
It was wild.
I didn't have any other choice.
I had to get it out.
It was hard.
It was the hardest thing
I ever did ever.
The guard who was there
filling out the paperwork
said, "Have you seen this?"
And I said, "Seen what?"
And he said,
"Come here," and he looked
at the piece of paper,
and it said, "Reason
for incarceration:
Failure to fill out forms."
And he said, "Man, you must have
really pissed somebody off."
Prison was very surreal.
the thing about prison
is not the fact that
you're in prison,
so much as you are kept
from your family
and your friends.
After a couple of weeks,
I said, "I have an idea.
They used to have
a little thing here
that they called Saturday
morning lectures
and people who
would give lectures.
They aren't doing that anymore.
I'd like to start that up again.
We've got lawyers.
We've got doctors.
We've got physical therapists.
We've got Realtors.
We've got drug dealers
too and counterfeiters
and all kinds
of things like that,
but these drug dealers
who've never had a different
job in their life,
I think would be helpful
for them to learn how to
do these other things."
We went down there.
You have to get clearance,
and, you know, it's like
you're surrounded
by all these... you know,
he's got a uniform
with, you know, the
numbers on it and stuff.
He says, "Well, I'm, you know,
leading the debate club,
and I have a paleontological
club that I'm working on.
They have some great, you
know, minerals around here."
He was teaching
the prisoners how to,
you know, do paleontology
right there
on the prison grounds.
That's what it's like with Pete.
I mean, he will find the beauty
in everything around him.
The other inmates loved him,
and it was very clear
that they protected him.
They... not like,
you know, in a movie where
they beat people up for him,
but just they took care
of him in some way,
like they just felt
a proprietary interest
for him, like he was special,
and it was very sweet to see
that they saw who he was.
When finally the day came,
I'm riding all night long
on this bus that stops
every five minutes.
I couldn't go pick up Pete.
He had to get on a bus,
a public bus.
'Cause you're still
technically in prison.
I'm still serving my sentence.
Riding in the bus,
even though it was
driving all night long,
was great.
It was my first taste of freedom
for 18 months, where I'm
out of this prison.
It was great.
It was great.
He was back home. I mean,
he was under house arrest,
but he was back home.
We could see him.
Eventually I'm released
from the halfway house
to home confinement, where I
can only go from home to work,
so I get to walk across
the alley every morning
and across the alley back
home at night, and that's it.
When Pete got out of prison,
he was not the person
he was when he left.
He was very reclusive.
He was very withdrawn.
He had to reorient
to normal interactions
with people.
The Institute was
a little gloomier.
We still didn't know
how the long-term effects
of this would leave us.
We just had to keep
plugging along
and try to cope
as well as we could.
While I was in prison,
Sue was also still in prison,
and there were rumors
that Sue was going
to be auctioned off
to the highest bidder.
It really was obvious
to me by that time
that the only way
to get her away
from Maurice Williams
was through Sotheby's.
All of us were aware that the
auction was taking place.
It would probably sell for
a million or $2 million.
The big fear was that
it was going to be sold
to some private individual.
I know there were
a lot of people
concerned that it
might be bought
by an institution
in a foreign country.
That was a big concern
with the media,
was that it was going to be
sold and lost to science
and sold and put in a
private room someplace.
We always felt an
extraordinary obligation
to get this fossil
to the right home.
Clearly there were a lot
of really interested parties
that were hoping and
praying they had a shot.
We had dreams
after the auction
started developing
that perhaps
we could buy her back.
A wonderful philanthropist
from our area
Stan Adelstein,
really wanted to help get
Sue back to South Dakota.
In visiting with Pete,
I was fascinated
with the possibility
that we'd have
this fantastic dinosaur
back in the state
where she belonged.
Stan came ready
and willing to spend
a million-point-two
of his own money.
I just had hopes
we could make it work.
There's still hope Sue
will make it back home.
Stanford Adelstein
will bid on Sue
and try to bring her home
to the Black Hills.
Sue, the dinosaur that goes
on the auction block tomorrow
has traveled a rocky road
since she was found.
Right now,
Larson's heart is broken.
He's lost
his most important find
and cannot even see her sold
because Larson
is under house arrest.
And I'm still
only on work release.
So they asked me
to go out there.
So they flew me out to New York,
and I helped them kind of
unpack some of the bones.
So much was still in jackets.
We left those in jackets.
We thought that was,
first of all, the right
thing to do scientifically,
but also it looked fascinating,
absolutely fascinating,
and of course
the centerpiece of it all
was that astonishing skull,
absolutely amazing.
Kristin and Stan Adelstein
are there. They're going to try
to buy the dinosaur for us.
And Terry Wentz
is there, you know,
the guy who fought for
this dinosaur forever.
Susan Hendrickson is there.
Everybody's anticipating
this auction.
I'm thinking, you know, "We have a chance.
We have a chance."
The day of the auction,
the place is just absolutely
full of excitement.
Television cameras everywhere.
A lot of reporters.
The room was completely full.
Maurice Williams
was in a private room
up above the auction area
so he could watch
everything going on.
Sotheby's had arranged
for one of the people who
would normally be taking bids
to give me a running
detail on the telephone
about what was happening
at the auction.
I was at the Institute too.
I could not bear
to listen to the phone.
It was too much.
Good morning,
ladies and gentlemen,
and welcome to Sotheby's.
We have for auction today
the fossil
of a Tyrannosaurus rex
known as Sue,
the property of
the United States of America
in trust of Maurice Williams
of Faith, South Dakota.
And now let us,
if we're all ready,
begin competition
for Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex.
And I begin with a bid
of $500,000.
Now bidding at $500,000.
Now bidding at 500... $600,000
$700,000. Now at seven,
at $700,000.
Now bidding's to $800,000.
Now bidding eight.
$900,000. Now bidding at nine.
At $900,000,
Now bidding at nine.
At $900,000 now.
Two bids at $1 million,
one in the center,
one in the back.
It's in the center halfway up.
At $1 million.
Now bidding at one million.
At $1 million.
Now bidding at $1 million.
Now 1.1 million. 1.1 on...
...on the telephone up here.
At 7.4.
At 7.4.
Is there any advance over 7.4?
on the telephone up front then.
$7,400,000 then.
Fair warning.
- 7 million...
- 7.5.
Aw, man.
7 million, six.
Fair warning then
at $7,600,000 up here.
Once the bidding was done,
you didn't know
immediately who it was.
Everybody's looking
around, saying, okay,
who's going to come forward?
The bidding was exciting
despite the fact
that I was horrified
that it was happening.
Raised my paddle twice,
and then I was out of it.
There it went. Pssh.
Completely shocking
Sue sold that fast and the
price went that high.
I wasn't shocked
that it went that high.
I think it's worth
more than that.
It's the most by far any
fossil had ever sold for,
and although I'm sad, I'm
very sad we couldn't get it,
I'm thinking, okay,
this, this is a statement
about Black Hills
Institute and the people.
"You guys did a good job."
...your new home
on the shores of Lake Michigan.
That is of course in Chicago
at the renowned Field Museum
of Natural History.
Sue's bones
went on the auction block
at Sotheby's auction house
in New York.
Bidding started at 500,000
and ended at 7.6 million,
but totaled 8.4 million
after a fee
to the auction house.
McDonald's and the Walt Disney
Company helped foot the bill,
and the Field Museum of Natural
History reaps the benefits.
South Dakotans say she
should have stayed here.
Maurice Williams was
there in the building,
and I glanced up
at him, this man,
supported by our government
in receiving seven-point-whatever-it-was
million dollars,
but that fossil
should have stayed
in her hometown museum.
If she wasn't going
to be in Black Hills
where she morally should be,
Field Museum was a good place.
This was just the kind of place
that we felt Sue had to go to.
My reaction was relief
that that specimen
wound up where the public and
the scientific community
will have access to it.
I think it's, you know, probably
the second-best place
she could have been.
It's going to go where millions
of people would see her.
She's not going to be
in prison anymore.
Sue is free,
and people can see her,
and they can get the same
excitement that I have for her,
and they can love her
just like I do.
To me, that dinosaur
still belongs in Hill City.
Pete's the kind of guy
that can go out
and then find, you know,
another half a dozen T. Rexes,
but there was only one Sue.
In your lifetime, you don't hope
to find something that good,
but we did,
and it's still
unbelievable to me.
It was time for Sue's
unveiling finally,
which, of course,
you can imagine,
Pete's most exciting moment,
to be able to be
reunited with Sue.
He wasn't invited.
Six, five,
four, three,
two, one!
We go through what happened
and the negative of that,
but there's another negative.
It's the negative
of what never happened
and what could have happened,
and it's a damn shame.
Chicago has a wonderful dinosaur.
They love it,
but they don't love it
the way South Dakotans
would have loved that dinosaur.