Two Medicine River

Bryan D. Spellman

Plains, United States

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Artist's Description

In the three years it took the Corps of Discovery to travel from St. Louis, Missouri to Seaside, Oregon, and back, there was only one occasion where their encounter with the indigenous people turned lethal. On July 26, 1806, two groups camped near this spot on the Two Medicine River. One was the explorers traveling with Meriwether Lewis on their return trip, the other a band of Blackfeet Indians. On the morning of the 27th, one of the Blackfeet took a gun from the explorers, and apparently urged his companions to do the same. As the explorers woke to see their guns and horses being taken, they fought back, killing one of the Blackfeet. Another native shot at Lewis, barely missing him, and Lewis returned fire, shooting the Indian in the stomach. On Kathleen Dahl’s Lewis and Clark Trail Watch website she writes:

Farther to the south on the Two Medicine River is the location of the fatal altercation with some young Blackfeet in which two Indians were killed, one at Lewis’ own hand. That fight is now known as the Two Medicine fight and is distinctive in the expedition’s history for being the only incident of direct and lethal violence between expedition members and Native Americans.

Apart from the fence and the power lines, this scene is little changed from what Lewis found over two hundred years ago.

Photo taken 4/24/2011 on the Two Medicine River, Pondera County, Montana.

Nikon D80 DSLR, Nikkor 16-85 mm wide angle/tele/zoom lens set at 70 mm.

ISO 200, f /16.0, 1/250 second, finished in Photoshop CS4.

Featured in the Pacific Northwest Group, 5/10/2011.

Artwork Comments

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