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.