National Register of Historic Places - Lewis & Clark's Camp Disappointment
Camp Disappointment was listed on October 15, 1966.
History and the Lewis & Clark Expedition
The Town of Browning, incorporated in 1919, is the Agency Headquarters for the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and has been since 1895. Browning was named after Daniel M. Browning, who was then the Commissioner of Indian Affairs working in Washington D.C.
On the return trip in late July of 1806, Capt. Lewis, George Drouillard, and the two Fields brothers ascended the Marias River. The
explorers were hoping to find a tributary of the Missouri that went far enough north to cross the 50th parallel. If the mission proved successful; more territory to the north could be claimed by the United States under the Louisiana
The northernmost point reached by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Camp Disappointment,
is approximately 12 miles northeast of Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
On the Cut Bank River, east of present-day Browning, Lewis could see the river exiting the mountains. He called this northern-most campsite of the expedition ‘Camp Disappointment’
since this meant the Marias did not reach 50 degrees north latitude.
This historic site is marked by a monument erected by the Great Northern Railway in 1925 and a sign at milepost 233 on US Highway 2 between Browning and Cut Bank, which is four miles directly south of the actual camp site reached on July 23, 1806. (Access by permission from private landowner only).
According to most history books, on the return trip in 1806 Lewis, Drouillard and the Field brothers also encountered eight members of the Blackfeet Tribe (Pikuni) and made camp for the night.
During this first day and night, Lewis explained the United States’ intent to bring about a comprehensive peace between all the Indian tribes of the west. He went on to add that the Shoshones and Nez Perces – mortal enemies of the Blackfeet – had already agreed to this peace and would be receiving guns and supplies because of it.
To the Blackfeet, American plans represented a direct threat. As far as the Indians were concerned, giving guns to their adversaries only could result in a weakening of Blackfeet power. That night, the Blackfeet attempted to steal the expedition’s guns. Their plans went awry and in the chaos that ensued Lewis and Reuben Field each killed a Blackfeet warrior.
The surviving Blackfeet returned to their tribe and communicated what they had learned of America’s goals for the region. From that point forward, the Blackfeet regarded the Americans with hostility and acted toward them similarly.
The Two Medicine Fight Site, where they encountered eight members of a Blackfeet Tribe (Pikuni) and made camp for the night, is about 25 miles southeast of Browning, Montana in Pondera County on the eastern edge of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and was listed on October 6, 1970. (Access by permission from private landowner only).
"Blackfeet recollections differ from those recorded in Lewis' journal"
By Eric Newhouse, Great Falls Tribune, April 23, 2003
"Commemoration a Chance to Tell Different Stories"
By Fred Tasker, Knight Ridder News Service, Salt Lake Tribune, January 26, 2003
President Jefferson instructed Lewis and Clark to make friends and develop trade relations with Indians as well as collect scientific and military information about them. When Lewis and Clark traveled through Indian Country and encountered the Plains Indians on their journey, they provided the Tribes with a symbol of fellowship in the form of a Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, known as a peace medal from the clasped hands of friendship. Nearly 200 years later, the
Blackfeet Nation in Montana continues this tradition and commemorates the expedition of Lewis and Clark by offering Blackfeet Commemorative Coins. These symbols
recount the expedition of Lewis and Clark with the Blackfeet Indians in Montana and share in the heritage of the great Blackfeet Nation.Montana ranks highest as the state with the most miles of
the Lewis & Clark Historical Trail.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center,
where you can experience the incredible story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06 with special speakers and costumed interpreters year-round and outdoor programs each summer on a bluff overlooking
the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana.
Pompeys Pillar National Monument is located thirty-five miles east of Billings, Montana, off Interstate 94. Captain William Clark
signed his name on the sandstone cliff that makes up the Pillar on July 25, 1806. His signature is the only remaining evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which appears on the trail today as it
did 200 years ago.
Explore! The Big Sky was the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Signature Event held in Fort Benton and Great Falls, Montana
from June 1 – July 4, 2005, commemorating Lewis and Clark's Expedition and the Plains Indians they encountered.
"Clark on the Yellowstone" was a National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Signature Event that took place in Billings, Montana from
July 22 - 25, 2006, honoring the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Images of the Past     Images of the Present
Copyright © 2004-2013 Town of Browning
, Montana. Design by CCC.