US Nursing: Montana
US nurses will read that the discovery of gold brought many prospectors into the area in the 1860’s, and Montana became a territory in 1864. Gold led to boomtowns that grew and shrank rapidly when the gold ran out. Cattle ranches began flourishing in western valleys during the 1860’s as demand for beef in the new mining communities increased.
Those in the nursing profession can note that during the 1880’s railroads crossed Montana, and the territory became a state in 1889. Hardrock mining also began at this time. Butte became famous when silver and copper were discovered. The Anaconda Copper Company, owned by Marcus Daly, became one of the world’s largest copper mining companies and exercised inordinate influence in the state. In parallel nurses will see that cattle and sheep ranches take advantage of Montana’s abundant grasslands.
Post-war or “modern” Montana (1945-2000) has been characterized by a slow shift from an economy that relies on the extraction of natural resources to one that is service-based. Such traditional industries as copper, petroleum, coal, and timber have suffered wild market fluctuations and unstable employment patterns. Agriculture — while dependent on weather, a declining workforce, and international markets — has remained Montana’s primary industry throughout the era.