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Fort Benton in Chouteau County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Open Range Cattle

 
 
Open Range Cattle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
1. Open Range Cattle Marker
Captions: (top) This cowboy had probably just arrived in Montana from a Texas drive; his dress and particularly is hat were not meant for windy Montana weather.; (middle) Waiting for a Chinook 1886-1887; (bottom) An Unexpected Guest for Roundup Breakfast.
Inscription.  In the late 1870's after the gold rush, stockmen began to move cattle from the mountains to the northern plains of Montana and utilize the free grass on the open ranges. Montana's short grass prairies had the best grass of the entire Great Plains. Soon large cattle drives from Texas flooded the Montana range until the hard winter of 1886-1887 caused tremendous losses, and the beginning of the end to the open range cattle business
Local cattlemen banded together in associations to protect their herds from wolves, rustlers and Texas cattle. There were two associations headquartered in Fort Benton. Members of the Shonkin Stock Association ranged south of the Missouri to the foothills of the Highwoods and east to Arrow Creek. The second association was the Teton-Marias Association that was north of the river to the Canadian boarder and west to the Rocky mountains.
The associations hired cowboys to ride the range for roundup, branding and moving the herds to market in the fall. Cowboys were free-spirited wanderers who worked by the season and owned only the guns they carried and saddle they rode.
 
Erected by
Open Range Cattle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
2. Open Range Cattle Marker
Fort Benton Community Improvement Association.
 
Location. 47° 49.052′ N, 110° 40.028′ W. Marker is in Fort Benton, Montana, in Chouteau County. Marker is on Front Street near 15th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Benton MT 59442, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "George Montgomery: Rider of the Purple Sage" (a few steps from this marker); Old Fort Benton Bridge (a few steps from this marker); June 6, 1908 (a few steps from this marker); Stream Flow Monitoring (a few steps from this marker); Fort Benton Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Culbertson House (a few steps from this marker); Pacific Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); First Fire Engine House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Benton.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located in Fort Benton's riverside park.
 
Also see . . .  The 1887 Blizzard That Changed the American Frontier Forever -- Smithsonian. Through much of the late 1870s and into the 1880s, cooler summers and mild winters meant that feeding the animals was relatively easy: grass and feed was typically pretty plentiful. But everything changed in the disastrous winter of 1886-1887. (Submitted on November 8, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
Categories. DisastersNotable Events
 

More. Search the internet for Open Range Cattle.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 8, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 8, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 8, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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