Missouri River Montana

Wolf Point

Nobody knows for sure where Wolf Point got its name. The most accepted account is that during a late cold 1860s winter, wolf hunters (Wolfers) killed hundreds of gray wolves. Before the hunters could skin the pelts, the carcasses froze. They stacked them in piles in their campsites along the Missouri River waiting for the spring thaw. 

Before spring came around, Indians ran off the Wolfers and took over the campsite. The putrid piles remained as a visible landmark to the steamboats coming up the river in the spring. Thus the name Wolf Point.

It's difficult to find documentation of Wolf Point’s birth. It was probably first settled as a trading post for the fur trade. When the huge cattle herds came from Texas to graze on the rich tall grasses of northern Montana, it evolved into a cow town. The early town was a genuine frontier outpost featuring a dugout hotel along the river.

In 1914, homesteaders flooded the area creating a growth spurt. When Congress opened the Fort Peck Reservation to non-Indians, the town took another spurt. Today the town is part of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. This mix of residents hasn’t changed much since the early 1900s. It is still about 50% Indian and 50% non-tribal residents. The Fort Peck Reservation is the home to the Nakota (Assiniboine) and the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota (Sioux) nations.

 

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