Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Work was a British fur trader who traded with the Flathead Indians in 1824 and later became leader of the Snake Riverbrigade. In 1831, he entered Montana over Lolo Pass and ascended the Clark Fork to the Blackfoot River. He then ascended this river to present day Ovando and crossed over to the Little Blackfoot. He descended the Little Blackfoot River to the Clark Fork and then moved up this valley crossing the divide into the Beaverhead Valley (Figure 5) where he and his men wintered. He eventually left this valley by way of Lemhi Pass and returned to the Snake River country. Work's journal contains a fascinating account of the wintering abundance of bison in Montana's southwestern valleys and how this species was pursued by trappers and Indians. His journal makes it clear that bison were chased from one valley to another. Work was methodical at recording numbers of bison killed and beaver trapped. His expedition followed in the footsteps of an American expedition and was a total failure due to the near local extirpation of beaver by the Americans.
Elliott, T.C. ed., 1914. Journal of 1824, John Work. Washington Historical Quarterly, 5. Lewis, W.S. and P.C. Phillips, ed. 1923.. The journal of John Work, a chief-trader of the Hudson's Bay Co., during his expedition from Vancouver to the Flatheads and Blackfeet of the Pacific Northwest. The Arthur H. Clark Co., Cleveland, OH.