Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century

Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century

Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century

Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the Nineteenth Century

Synopsis

Focusing on the Clark's Fork Bottom, a twenty-five-mile stretch between present-day Park City and Billings, Montana, this path breaking study examines the successive stages of capitalist development in Billings and the Yellowstone Valley during the nineteenth century.

Excerpt

Capitalism on the Frontier: Billings and the Yellowstone Valleyin the Nineteenth Century is about the meaning and significance of economic change in the Yellowstone River valley during its first century of exploration, settlement, and development. Stretching from headwaters high in the Two-Ocean Plateau of Wyoming until 'meeting the Missouri River at the Montana and North Dakota border, the Yellowstone River valley possesses a striking, distinctive beauty. As it winds eastward, the valley is narrow and barren at some places but wide and fertile at others. My story focuses on one of those broad, productive places, a twenty-five-mile stretch of the valley, roughly between the present-day towns of Park City and Billings, that the pineers called "the Clark's Fork Bottom." Here, during the nineteenth century, Crow Indians, fur hunters, pioneer homesteaders, audacious entrepreneurs, railroad executives, and eastern tycoons all played significant roles in laying the economic foundation for a future urban center of the northern plains, the city of Billings.

The Yellowstone's history of economic activity did not suddenly begin in the nineteenth century; rather it has amazing chronological depth, dating to the centuries of barter, subsistence transactions be-

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