Wild West

PIONEER, MONTANA

n 1852 French-Canadian Métis prospector Francois Finlay (aka Benetsee) first discovered ore deposits on Gold Creek, in what would become Montana. But prospectors didn’t venture to the upper reaches of the stream for well over a decade. When they did, they discovered considerable gold dust in a tributary they named Pioneer. As Pioneer Creek was a freshet, however, the placer miners were bedeviled by a dearth of water, alleviated to an extent when the more

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