Section 3: Across the Prairie
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. Heading west across North Dakota they leave the wheat fields and enter "the arid plains, the prairie dog towns, cactus, buffalo grass, jack rabbits, wild life and the Missouri River." Once home to the Plains Indians, now the realm of the Great Northern Railway, the only privately funded transcontinental railroad ever built. No federal grants were used. The caveat lies in just how much influence J.J. Hill exerted in passing federal legislation, such as the Dawes Act of 1887. The Great Northern Railroad is known as "one of the most Indian susidized railroads in America". July 31, after some 700 miles Twain's party arrives in Great Falls, Montana.