I received an email from someone that currently lives in this area, which prompted me to look further into its history. Of particular significance, especially in regards to current land grabs effecting Native Americans of today, and everyone else that needs to drink the water here, is the Horse Creek Treaty of 1851 - officially known as the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.
Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) has spent two days in Salt Lake City, en route to Carson City, and now recognizes that he is, indeed, in a new land. He experiences a form of culture shock based on the economic realities of long distance freightage.. He discovers he is an emigrant in a foreign land.
These two explorers crossed the Great Plains of North America one year apart, Burton in 1860 and Clemens in 1861. I have clipped large sections of Burton's book, "The City of the Saints, and Across the Rocky Mountains to California" for my web site project "Mark Twain's Geography" as Burton visited the same Overland Coach stations as did Clemens. Mark Twain, in "Roughing It", is very sparse in his descriptions of the stations and mentions only a few by name.
Twain's party crossed the Cascades, on the switchbacks, in about two hours. It took six more hours to reach Seattle. Native Americans were pretty much gone from the area, the Treaty of Point Elliott was one of the major instruments in their removal and confinement in reservations. Some did, however, retain fishing rights. Seattle had become the western terminus of the Great Western railway, reaching the city in 1893. Four transcontinental railways jostled for position along the waterfront.
August 6th, Twain's party departs Missoula on the Northern Pacific railway. This particular train had two special cars attached carrying the newly appointed receiver for the bankrupt railroad and the Supreme Court judge who had appointed him. Twain did not join them. They traveled through the Bitterroot Valley, ancestral home of the Salish people. They passed the site of the "starvation winter" of 1883-1884, and on through the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Twain's party departed Great Falls at 7:35 am, Thursday, August 1st, 1895. They rode the Montana Central Railway, part of the Great Northern Railroad owned by J.J. Hill. Hill needed to connect his interests in Great Falls with the mining operations in Helena, Butte and the smelter in Anaconda. The railroad followed part of the old Mullan Military Road. Along the way we examine the fate of Egbert Malcolm Clarke and one of the most egregious actions taken by the U.S. Army against Native American peoples, the Marias massacre. Twain gave a lecture that evening in Butte.
Departing the Great Lakes region, July 22, 1895, Twain's party heads for the Great Plains. First though, into an area of tourist attraction, no small part due to to the fantasy world created by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his Song of Hiawatha, Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Falls. Twain gave lectures in Minneapolis July 23rd and 24th, rested on the 25th then headed to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Returning from Winnipeg, July 28, they traveled through "that wonderful wheat ocean" and stopped in Crookston, Minnestoa. Twain's name is the first in the register of the Crookston Hotel.
Mark Twain left Cleveland, Ohio July 17 on board the SS Northland. They sailed across Lake Erie to the Detroit River, across Lake St Clair and along the St. Clair River. July 18th they crossed Lake Huron and landed in Sault Ste. Marie. Here he gave his third lecture of the tour. On July 19th, they took the sreamboat F.S. Faxton to Mackinac Island for a lecture in the Grand Hotel. On July 20th, Twain and Major Pond traveled to Petoskey, Michigan by boat and train, the Northern Arrow. Petoskey is the site of the extermination of the last major breeding colony of passenger pigeons, in 1878.