Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
How Cattle Were Marketed Before the Coming of Railroads
After the first cattle were brought into this community in the late seventies, a problem presented itself as to how to market the beef steers in eastern Montana before the completion of the railroad in 1881. There were not a great many beef steers produced in that period and most of those were either sold to the government to fill the army and Indian contracts or were trailed overland to Bismarck, which was then the end of the railroad. But there is a story told about one shipment of beef, and possibly others, which was made in a way that will never occur again. George W. Dearing used to recall how he helped load a consignment of beef steers on a steamboat on the Yellowstone in 1881. Mr. Dearing was a step-son of William Strong, and both Dearing and Strong came to Miles City, according to Sam Gordon, in 1877. Mr. Dearing's story is that temporary pens and loading chutes were built on a cutbank on the Yellowstone, where the boat could be brought in close to the shore. He stated that it took a lot of cowboys to pen those "snuffy" old longhorns, but once safely on board the boat, they went down the river in good condition and without any further trouble. It is a safe bet, however, that those old river men had some pretty strong pens ready to receive the beef on the boat. The Mr. Strong mentioned lived for many years on two lots which were on the corner where the Federal Building is now situated. Both Mr. Dearing and Mr. Strong had ranches on Tongue river, just south of Miles City, on what is now known as Becker Lane and were extensive operators in cattle and horses.