A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Liver-Eating Johnson’

Hot Springs, MT

Posted by graywacke on November 30, 2008

This is my landing from 11/27/08.

Dan –  The misery continues.  As long as the misery is continuing, it might as well come from the evil M&M&M.  Of the three, it’s most likely to be . . . . MT; 96/76; 2/10; 9; 167.3. 

For the 8th time, I landed in the Flathead R watershed, on to the Clark Fork (13th hit); on to the Pend Oreille (14th hit); on to the Columbia.  The only time I landed in the Pend Oreille watershed without landing in the Clark Fork watershed was a landing in NE WA back in November of 2004, when I landed in the watershed of a creek that flowed directly into the Pend Oreille.

Anyway, I landed near the town of Hot Springs (2000 pop. 531), in NW MT.  From the town’s website:


The Story of Hot Springs goes back long before the establishment of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai (CS&K) Reservation, and the opening of the reservation to homesteaders in 1910. The Pond d’Orielle Indians knew of the healing waters even before trappers and settlers discovered them, and called them “Big Medicine.”

 The town itself has a checkered history, having begun life as Pineville in the 1890s, literally cheek to cheek with another small town, Camas. The Hot Springs post office was opened in 1913, and as Hot Springs grew, Camas shrank. As the fame of our wonderful hot mineral springs grew, accommodations were built to house our international visitors and in 1948 the tribes completed their beautiful new bathhouse and swimming pool complex. At our peek, our population was over 1,000 residents.


 But hard times hit the town. Fire destroyed most of main street in 1918, and again in 1931. The sawmill also burnt down. The hospital was closed. Finally , in 1985, the tribes closed the bathhouse, dealing a devastating blow to our economy. Shortly thereafter the Hot Springs Mercantile burned to the ground. To top off the bad news, cattle prices sagged the area logging was severely curtailed. The population of the town dropped to about 400 by 1990.

Back in the day . . .




They say, “Close only counts in horseshoes,” but we know better. We still hope the CS&K Tribes will see the economic possibilities of reopening the bathhouse under professional management in the near future. Meanwhile, our quiet community has attracted painters, potters, jewelry makers, and other craftsmen to become permanent residents. The population is up to about 600 happy people, and growing. Every year thousands of people find relief from stress, soothe their aches and pains, meet old friends and make new ones, while soaking in our mineral waters and mud.


 We still stand behind our motto:   “Limp in, leap out.”


The picture below is apparently taken in Hot Springs.  Note the names under the photo identifying who’s in the picture.


Cool picture, bogus ID's

It seems pretty apparent that the names of the people are bogus.  Teddy Roosevelt with Wyatt Earp and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid??  I don’t think so . . .although a guy named Jason Leaf has spent half of his life studying the photo and has done a side-by-side comparison of actual pictures vs. the above, and thinks that a couple of people are correct, including Butch Cassidy and Liver Eating Johnson.  We all know Butch, but who the heck is Liver Eating Johnson? (he’s pictured below and is the 3rd seated gentlemen from the left in the above photo). 

Liver-Eating Johnson

From DamnInteresting.com:

From the cloudy reservoir of history it is often difficult to separate legend from reality, and such is the case with the story of the infamous American mountain man John Johnston. It is certain that throughout his life he was known by many names, but most famously he came to be known at the time as “Crow Killer” and “Liver-Eating Johnson.”

Soon the scalped bodies of Crow warriors began to appear throughout the Northern Rockies and the plains of Wyoming and Montana. Each had had his liver cut out, and presumably eaten by the killer. Eventually other mountain men and Indians learned of Johnston’s ongoing vengeance slayings, and he soon became known as “Liver-Eating Johnson” . Also known as “The Crow Killer,” he was waging a mortal, solitary battle against the whole Crow tribe, and no Crow warrior was safe from his wrath.
The story goes on and on, and becomes less believable, so I’ll think I’ll spare you.
I like a landscape shot, so here ’tis (from Mt. Baldy, near Hot Springs):
From Mt. Baldy, near Hot Springs
Oh, all right, I also like to show old abandoned cars near my landing:Old Plymouth near Hot Springs




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