Explorers And Pioneers
Decades before the appearance of fur traders, missionaries and discoverers, their impact arrived as waves of disease decimated native populations on the plains and in mountain valleys. Westside tribes tolerated early trading posts and religious missions, although the Blackfoot nations were less accommodating on the east slopes. Military forces played both sides of the new order, subduing pockets of Indian resistance while restraining whiskey traders who exploited social breakdown. The wholesale slaughter of native wildlife, especially bison, and the introduction of cattle and railroads solidified the transition to a new society with a different economy.