The book profiles Montana from 1840, when Indians roamed about largely as they wished and there were few white men around, to the discovery of gold in 1862 and the immense changes it brought about, as well as much more, all discussed in exquisite detail.
You’ll learn how Montana went from a sleepy backwater of less than 700 people to a thriving territory of more than 20,000 residents. These were Indians and the priests they sought; road builders and the soldiers who helped them; gold prospectors and the men that robbed them; and politicians and the citizens they supported…and angered.
Like the first volume in this Montana history series, Tribes and Trappers, this second volume also takes a biographical approach. Montana’s history is told through the stories of the people who lived here, and from those stories we’re better able to understand how the state came to be what it is today.
Here’s what the Table of Contents looks like:
Part I – The 1840s
- The Flathead Indians Seek God
- Father Pierre-Jean De Smet Heeds the Call
- The Rocky Mountain Mission of Father De Smet
- Father De Smet’s Wagon Train West
- St. Mary’s Mission and the Start of Montana Settlement
- Father Pierre-Jean De Smet’s Last Years
Part II – The 1850s
- Fort Benton
- Montana’s Indian Tribes
- John Mullan Plans His Road
- Isaac Stevens, Washington Territory, and the Yakima War
- Building the Mullan Road
- John Mullan’s Long Road; Isaac Stevens’ Short
- Montana’s Early Settlements
- Montana Cattle Kings: Johnny Grant and Conrad Kohrs
Part III – The 1860s
- Francois Finlay and Montana’s First Gold Finds
- Bannack is Born
- Gold in Alder Gulch and the Virginia City Boomtown
- Henry Plummer and the Vigilantes
- Last Chance Gulch and Helena
- The Saga of John Bozeman
- Montana Territorial Politics
- Sydney Edgerton: Montana’s First Territorial Governor
- The First Legislature
- The Acting Governorship of Thomas Francis Meagher
- Nelson Story and the Texas-Montana Cattle Drive
- Green Clay Smith Arrives
- The Gold Rush and Montana’s Indians
- Picking Up the Pieces After Meagher
- A Quiet Close to a Tumultuous Decade
About the Author
Writing history isn’t easy and this second book was more difficult than the first, Tribes and Trappers. Honestly, there were many times when I really didn’t think I’d be able to finish the thing. But I got down to it and did just that.
It took me another six weeks after starting my initial outline to get going on the first few chapters detailing the 1840s. The first book had come out in April and by June I had the first section of this second book done and had progressed it well into the 1850s.
I moved from China to America at that point and didn’t get back on the book until mid-July. For the next two months I tackled Montana in the 1860s, a period with a lot of information on some things, but not too much on others.
When I had my basic manuscript I went to the Montana Historical Society and got a lot of photos, which you’ll find in the book. There are nearly 100 photos in the book, some of them of great quality, others not so much. We’re dealing with a period and a place that didn’t always have cameras, after all.
The book comes in at just over 40,000 words and more than 200 pages. On your Kindle that will come out as 231 pages. That’s about the same length as the first volume, though a good 100 pages less than the third volume, Braves and Businessmen.
You’re really getting detailed history with these books, which only cover three decades each. There are four more volumes planned in the series, with an approximate end date around 2016.
If you’re interested in some of the Montana articles you’ve been reading on this site – and I know you are – then check out this print and eBook history of Montana. It’s now available everywhere and I know the people and places and the stories they hold will keep you turning the pages.