The U.S. Government established Montana's largest military post in 1879 following Custer's defeat at the Little Bighorn and the capture of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph at the Bear Paw Battlefield at Snake Creek.  Fort Assinniboine was the most important military post in the Northwest because of its strategic location at the conjunction of major Indian trails. 


Midway between Fort Benton on the Missouri River in Montana and Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills of present-day Saskatchewan in Canada, the trading post complex at Fort Assinniboine was both a supply destination and stopping point.  Freight wagons and Metis Red River carts kept the trail to Fort Assinniboine well trodden.  The advent of the railroad ushered in a new era and homesteading brought new significance to the northern route.  By 1911, Fort Assinniboine was obsolete.