Date of Award

Spring 1963

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Clinch


The cattle industry has played a very dominating role in shaping the history of Montana. From very humble beginnings it has developed to a position of importance rivaling both mining and farming. It has been characterized by men of integrity and wisdom, broadminded men for the most part, who held the better welfare of the entire state foremost in their minds.

Like any other industry, cattlemen developed their own organization. Though existing sporadically at times, the Montana Stockgrowers Association had evolved from a local to a regional, and finally to a unified state-wide level by 1885. Its purpose then, and still in the present day is to advance the interests of stockgrowers, protect them against frauds, swindlers, and thieves, and to enforce the stock laws of Montana.

However, a realistic portrayal must be presented. Cattlemen had their problems, which at times threatened the very life of the industry. Stockmen were not always unselfish in their actions. The life of the stockgrower was a difficult one.

In an historical treatment, astute accuracy, honest evaluation, and reader interest must hold positions of primary importance. This thesis traces the cattle industry and the Montana Stockgrowers Association from their initial beginnings to consolidation of the association in 1885. Of necessity background factors, problems, and difficulties have been included. Care has been taken to insure accuracy, honesty, and interest, I hope these goals have been achieved.