Montana History in 9 MORE Easy Lessons: The Rise and Fall of Open Cattle Raising on the Montana Plains

Montana Historical Society (MHS) staff members and other subject matter experts will lead a two-month exploration of the last twelve thousand years of Montana history. Every Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, between April 3, 2019, and May 29, 2019, a presenter will discuss a major theme of Montana history. Individually, these programs will offer compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they will provide a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. Come for one—or come for all! OPI Renewal Credits will be available and presentations will be live-streamed for those who can’t make it in person (and ultimately archived).

Contact Kirby Lambert at the Historical Society for more information.

This week’s lesson is the Rise and Fall of Open Range Cattle Raising on the Montana Plains. The Montana cattle industry began in the 1850s with the arrival of high-grade cattle driven north from the Emigrant Road in what is now Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Texas Longhorns and other lesser known types of cattle arrived next, leading to the open range boom of the 1880s and the devastating consequences of the Hard Winter of 1886–87. About the speaker: Vic Reiman, who recently retired from the Montana Historical Society, has done extensive research on firearms in the Society’s collection. He is the author of the article “‘Whoa, Blue, Whoa!’: Cowpuncher Teddy Blue Abbott, We Pointed Them North, and Montana’s Open-Range Era,” published in Montana The Magazine of Western History.