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Twin Bridges is a town with a population about 400 in an area of Southwest
Montana (Gold West Country) rich in history and western lore. The
town sits along-side Montana Highway 41 some 50 miles south of Butte
and 26 miles north of Dillon at an
elevation of 4632 feet near where the Ruby and Big Hole rivers surge
together with the Beaverhead to form the Jefferson River.
The Jefferson and Beaverhead rivers
provided the water route by which the
Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-05 traveled this part of Montana
in its quest to explore the Northwest
and reach the Pacific Ocean. And it was along the Jefferson River that
12-year-old Shoshone girl, was captured by a war party of Hidatsa Indians
and taken to the Hidatsa-Mandan villages near modern Bismarck, North Dakota.
Five years later, at the age of 17, Sacajawea and her husband Toussaint
Charbonneau and infant son Baptiste were members of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition traveling up these same rivers to Horsetail Creek and an eventual
meeting with her family and tribe near Lemhi Pass.
Sacajawea recognized the
surrounding landscape as one frequented by her people when
she saw a rocky outcrop known as Beaverhead
Rock. Her recognition of this landmark assured the
expedition that it probably would contact the Shoshones soon. The
Shoshones were counted upon to provide the much needed horses necessary for
the expedition to pass through the Bitterroot
Valley and cross the Bitterroot Mountains.
Years later settlers would arrive
to establish cattle and sheep ranches, sow crops, found schools, and build a
community that today makes a living from cattle, agriculture and a budding
recreational industry based on fly-fishing.
Each of the rivers near Twin Bridges, the Beaverhead, Ruby, Big Hole and
Jefferson, is said to be a "blue ribbon" trout stream.
Proximity to such outstanding fly-fishing has given rise to accommodations,
outfitters, guides, fly
shops and other services supporting fly-fishing and
catering to the sportsman. Twin Bridges also is home to the R. L.
Winston Rod Co., a highly respected manufacturer of quality fly-fishing
While fishing may be the primary attraction for
traveler and sportsmen,
the mainstay of the economy still is ranching and agriculture. There are a
number of working ranches in the area with cattle being the primary
livestock and alfalfa being the major crop. For more on Twin Bridges,
browse the links below:
Best selection of books on the
by W. C. McRae, Judy Jewell
February 2002, 5th edition, Paperback,
480 pages, (guidebook)
Filled with upscale resorts and restaurants and
more low-to-mid-priced lodgings and dining options, this guide also contains
vignettes on the theatrical career of Calamity Jane and how Meriwether Lewis
named the prairie dog.
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