Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Francois Antoine Larocque, a Canadian fur trader, persuaded Crow Indians trading at the Mandan village to take him, and 2 companions, to the Crow homeland along the Yellowstone River. Between 2 June and 17 October 1805, he traveled cross-country crossing the Little Missouri, Powder, Tongue, and Little Bighorn Rivers to reach the Bighorn River and Mountains. His return trip was down the Yellowstone River, crossing a divide to the Little Missouri River and then on to the Missouri River. The purpose of the trip was to asses the value of the region for fur trade. LaRocque included natural history notes relating to bison and other wildlife, vegetation, and stream conditions in his journals. Although these natural history notes are not detailed, they provide an early glimpse of this area. Figure 2 shows the approximate route taken.
Brown, M.H. 1969. The plainsmen of the Yellowstone: A history of the Yellowstone Basin. Bison Books, Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. Burpee, L.J., ed. 1910. The journal of Larocque from the Assiniboine to the Yellowstone, 1805. Publications of the Canadian Archives, Ottawa: No. 3, 17. Hazlitt, R., ed. 1934. The journal of Francois Antoine Larocque from the Assiniboine River to the Yellowstone River - 1805. Univ. of Montana historical reprint no. 20, Missoula. 26 pp. Thompson, L.S. 1985. Montana's Explorers: The pioneer naturalists. 1805-1864. The Montana Magazine, Helena.