The Old West is still alive and well in Miles City—the Cow Capital of Montana. With the world-famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, the annual Beef Breeders Show, the Fort Keogh Days, the Range Rider’s Museum, three historic districts, and impressive collections of historic photographs, Miles City keeps the Old West alive through events and exhibits.
The confluence of the Tongue and Yellowstone rivers has been an important spot for centuries. Native Americans, early explorers, and trappers all camped in the area and the spot was an excellent place for fording the Yellowstone and for trading. The military set up a temporary base in 1877, and after the battle of the Little Bighorn, Col. Nelson Miles established Fort Keogh and soon a civilian settlement sprang up nearby.
In 1887, the new community was named Miles City in honor of the commanding officer. As the city became established and began to grow, it developed into an important stopping place for the long cattle drives from Texas. Soon, cattlemen began establishing large ranches in the area.
In 1881, the Northern Pacific arrived in town, and from then on Miles City had rail access — the thread that stitched the early West together. The railroad also helped Miles City become a center for the cattle industry in the region.
Now, 100 years later, Miles City is still a regional center, a cattle ranching and agricultural hub, and a thriving community. Events and activities are planned throughout the year. It’s home to Miles Community College, a two-year school with a solid reputation. The Livestock and Range Research Station at Fort Keogh conducts important research on swine, poultry, sheep, horses, and dairy cows.