The Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History's third phase of its building restoration incorporates the story of the U.S. Army in the West in the new Frontier Gallery. The new room examines the history of struggle for the American West ranging from Ohio's Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1795 to the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1917. A variety of artifacts and presentations in between allow visitors a sense of perspective on our region's military heritage.
Exhibits specially emphasize Montana' major Indian battles: the Little Big Horn fight of 1876 and the Big Hole clash of 1877. The latter required Fort Missoula's only combat deployment during the Indian Wars. Two companies of the 7th Infantry under Major Charles Rawn were at both the Fort Fizzle confrontation in Lolo Canyon and the Big Hole battle near Wisdom in August of 1877.
There is also information on Fort Missoula's role in escorting Indian hunting parties past the territorial mining camps in the 1880's to the buffalo grounds in the easte.
The Frontier Gallery has a Lewis and Clark display. 2005 marked the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial with national events across the West commemorating the journey of the Corps of Discovery.
Several color-tinted prints from the L.A. Huffman collection of Eastern Montana depict the late frontier era. Huffman was Fort Keogh's post photographer for a time during the 1880's. He took several views of Custer battle participants and Fort Keogh's daily life. Huffman portraits of Native Americans are also featured.
Descriptions of inter-tribal warfare are also featured; period recollections of military encounters between Montana's frontier soldiers; and the First Nations that inhabited the land prior to the Louisiana Purchase.
Fort Missoula Postcards courtesy of Robert A. Svoboda