History buffs got a taste of Western Montana, as it might have been 165 years ago.
It was rendezvous day at Fort Connah.
The fort was an important Hudson's Bay trading post, built and booming, long before Montana was a state.
The fort is now a national historic site.
Much of it has been restored, with more restoration planned.
Project director George Knapp said the post is the oldest wooden structure in Montana.
"It was moved here from Thompson Falls by Hudson's Bay Company because they wanted to be closer to the buffalo trade," said Knapp.
The trading post dates back to 1846.
Here on this weekend, people came from all over the country to see a kind of re-enacted rendezvous as it might have happened in the mid 1800's.
It was a time and place to visit, catch up on news, and trade.
"The essentials like lead, sugar, salt and powder," said craftsman and trader, Tom Lukomski, " plus beads," he said. "People like pretty things."
Lukomski displays Hudson's Bay blankets.
He has made capotes (coats) from those blankets, as well as otter skin caps.
Black powder would have been an absolute essential.
Russ Harben not only looks the part of a mountain man from 165 years ago, in his capote and big hat.
He also can handle his own with an authentic original Hawken Rifle, a primary weapon of the mid 1800's wilderness.
Harben practices his shooting skills at a target and does very well.
The historic weapon weighs about 20 pounds.
"It has a twist in the rifle ball," said Harben," that helps the ball, the projective, rotate in the air and steady it."
Angus MacDonald, a Scotsman, and his Nez Perce wife, Catherine, were factors, or managers at the post.
"Their children married into Salish and other ethnic groups,"
said their great great grandson, Al Williams,"and down through the years it's grown to over 1,500 descendants."
"To come here to this four acres," said current factor, Chris Poloynis,you can see the way the west was forged.
The restoration crew built an authentic river rock chimney and fireplace on a house that was built in 1871.
There are plans to rebuild the original corral, plus a sawmill and blacksmith shop.