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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Lewis crosses the plains to reach the Marias River near present Tiber dam. Clark continues down the Yellowstone River in Stillwater county. Ordway is plagued by black flies and Gass finds tobacco in a cache below the Great Falls.

6 ms. from its junction with Maria's river where we found some cottonwood timber; here we halted to dine and graize our horses. the bed of this creek is about 25 yds. wide at this place but is nearly dry at present, the water being confined to little pools in the deeper parts of it's bed. from hence downwards there is a considerable quantity of timber in it's bottom.

Meriwether Lewis

Dugout Coulee

Wide Montana coulee with a single cottonwood tree

we passed immence herds of buffaloe on our way in short for about 12 miles it appeared as one herd only the whole plains and vally of this creek being covered with them; saw a number of wolves of both speceis, also Antelopes and some horses.

Meriwether Lewis


Small herd of buffalo grazing on the plains

Photo by the U.S. Forest Service.

many prickly pears now in blume.

Meriwether Lewis

Prickly pears, Opuntia polyacantha

Profile of a Plains Prickly Pear yellow blossom

the bottoms of the river are narrow. the hills are not exceeding 200 feet in hight    the sides of them are generally rocky and composed of rocks of the same texture of a dark Colour of Grit well Calculated for grindstones &c.

William Clark

Sunrise on the Yellowstone River near Columbia, Montana

Early morning light on the Yellowstone River

I set out and proceeded down the river through a butifull bottom, passing a Indian fort on the head of a Small island near the Lard Shore and Encamped on a Small Island Seperated from the Lard Shore by a very narrow Chanel.

William Clark

Evening on the Yellowstone River near Columbia, Montana

Rocky shores of the Yellowstone River

There was another plesant day.

Patrick Gass

Missouri River at White Bear Islands

Flooding Missouri river on a sunny day

I went down with three of the men to the lower end of the portage to examine the periogue and deposit there, and found all safe. We took some tobacco out of the deposit, covered up all again, until the party should arrive with the canoes, and returned to camp.

Patrick Gass


Tobacco twisted into ropes

a clear cool windy morning. we set off as usal and proceeded on down the gentle current

John Ordway

Missouri River near Smith River

Calm, blue Missouri river