1864 - Gold discovered in Montana territory

Prospectors panning for gold near the early gold field town of Bannack, Montana

       Gold is discovered near Virginia City in the same place Pierre deSmet found it twenty years before.  Good to his word, and fearful of what would happen to the Indians if the news got out, deSmet had recorded his find in his journals but never revealed it to anyone.  It was only a matter of time before prospectors discovered his secret.

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         The road to the gold fields became known as the 'Bloody Bozeman' trail.  Unfortunately, the Bloody Bozeman fell inside the lands promised to the Teton Sioux.  Nevertheless, the trail was opened by the eponymous prospector who cut tracks for a wagon road from the North Platte River to Montana, across the Yellowstone, eventually reaching to the gold camps at Alder Gulch near Virginia City.  The famed Fetterman's Massacre, in which a young warrior named Crazy Horse led a successful raid against U.S. Cavalry troops, took place on the Bozeman Trail, as did many other attacks against white men illegally crossing Indian territory.