ride in country first seen by Lewis and Clark in 1804 and 1805, near the
Headwaters of the Missouri River and its upper reaches. The Missouri
River begins with the confluence of three mountain rivers, named Madison,
Jefferson, and Gallatin by Lewis and Clark. It flows northerly, parallel
to the Big Belt Mountains. Most of our cattle drives are on ranches
in the southern half of the Big Belts. The mountains form an impressive
rocky "gate" at the northern end, which Lewis and Clark named The Gates
of the Mountains. As the river continues north, it is next joined
by two others, the Dearborn and the Sun. These rivers drain the vast
snowfields of the famous Rocky Mountain Front Range. We round up
and drive horses from the foothills into the spectacular canyon where the
Sun River begins.
Take a look at a
map of Montana. Find Yellowstone National Park, at the corner of
the boundary between Wyoming and Montana. Look northwest to
the capital city of Helena. Then draw an imaginary line east to the
town of Lewistown, and on south to Yellowstone Park.
mountain ranges and surrounding valleys cover rich grazing country that
was the premier hunting grounds of Native Americans for centuries.
Early fur trappers found a bonanza of prime pelts in their creeks and rivers.
They were followed by gold miners who panned for fortunes in the clear
streams. Sheepmen and cattlemen soon followed. Many of the ranching
families whose livestock graze these mountain ranges today are living on
ranches founded by their ancestors well over a hundred years ago.
When you ride with them, you are riding back in history.