The Legend of Bear Gulch.

American Gold: The Legend of Bear Gulch

      Produced by FOX Business, American Gold: The Legend of Bear Gulch follows the Dale brothers, Rick (71), John (70), Tad (68), Paul (63) and Kitt (59), as they pursue a family legend about a lost gold vein in the Pete and Joe Mine of Bear Gulch, in the Tobacco Root Mountains of Montana.

Fox Business: American Gold Episode List

September 23: Oly's Gold
September 23: Chilling Setback
September 23: Investigating the Ice Adit
September 30: Dig for Lost Portal / Adit Collapse
September 30: Bracing Damaged Portal
October 6: Unforeseen obstacle
October 6: Fire in the Hole (Water Hose)
October 17: Search for Old Mill
October 17: Disaster Strikes
October 23: Rush to Construct
October 31: Nothing Comes Easy
November 6: Old Mining Tunnel
November 13: Major Setback
November 14: Winter Sets In
November 20: Shifting Weather
November 20: Frantically Searching
November 27: The Clock is Ticking
November 27: A Storm Moves In
December 4, 2021: Struggle and Mapping
December 5, 2021: The Quest Continues


Bear Gulch Mine is in the Tobacco Root Mountains in southwestern Montana.

Where is Bear Gulch?

      Bear Gulch is located 16 miles northeast of Twin Bridges, Montana on the west slope of the Tobacco Root Mountains:

Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/45.590918,+-112.131154
Google Earth: https://earth.google.com/web/search/45.590918,+-112.131154


Order Maps and Books about the Tobacco Root Mountains


More about the Pete & Joe Mining Claims at Bear Gulch

      Public documents provided by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality:

- Small Miner Exclusion Statement (PDF)
- Receipt of Small Miner Exclusion Statement (PDF)
- Small Miner Exclusion Annual Report 2021 (PDF)


Montana Historical Novels.

Montana Mining History Comes Alive

      "All three books, meticulously researched, provide insight into the gold-fueled creation of the unruly, unruled Montana Territory. The books satisfy in the way iconic Western films satisfy, evoking our love for adventure, romance, triumph against adversity; offering us other people's adversity even when it does not end if triumph; engaging our longing for a time that seems simpler (even if it wasn't). But they are more than that. Elpel is a writer committed to understanding how and why things happen, who the players are, what the truth of history is, how the dynamics of history evolve. I think it is exactly that kind of attention--a deep interest in the real world that produced her fictional characters--that pulls the reader into the reality of that world."

--Ruth Rudner, Lewis & Clark Journal, March 2019


Historical Novels


Set in Montana Territory, 1866 - 1879
Trilogy by Jan Elpel

      Berrigan's Ride is a love story that unfolds in the gold rush days of Sterling, Montana Territory, 1866 - 1868. Kent Berrigan heard the call to go West in the company of other Confederates seeking peace and a new identity after the Civil War. He pursues the one woman who captures his fancy, Marion Patton of Coloma, California, who has a vision of the future of the country if not her own destiny. Berrigan's Ride is first in a trilogy exploring attitudes and relationships at a time of sweeping changes in the Territory and across the newly unified expanse of the United States. [Read more...]

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Five Months on the Missouri River Book Awards.

Have you ever dreamed of adventure?
      Thomas J. Elpel had the rare opportunity to carve a dugout canoe with Churchill Clark, the great-great-great-great grandson of Captain Clark. Together they whittled a 10,000 lb. Douglas fir log down to a 500+ lb. canoe.

      Enlisting friends with additional canoes to join the adventure, Tom led a five-month "Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery Expedition," paddling the 2,341-mile Missouri River segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail from Montana to St. Louis. A stray puppy joined the five-man expedition en route, growing up on the canoes as the adventurers proceeded downriver.

 Gates of the Mountains Pictographs.       Instead of racing to the finish line, Tom and friends paddled the Missouri River much like Meriwether Lewis and William Clark did, as a conduit for exploring the land and meeting its inhabitants. Every campsite offered a new opportunity to hike and explore the geographical landscape and geology, identify plants, and forage for wild foods.

      They enjoyed a leisurely pace paddling through the heart of America while diving into natural history, the fur trade, Lewis and Clark, and the history of Native American tribes along the route. They were assisted by many gracious River Angels who reached out to help portage the expedition around the dams.

      Throughout the journey, Tom wrote a weekly column that was published in newspapers in Montana and across the Midwest. He fleshed out the story for the book, filling in additional details and whole new essays, accompanied by seven hundred stunning color photos from the adventure.

      The finished book is both an uplifting adventure story and a coffee table book, making an easy read and an inspiring page-turner. Five Months on the Missouri River is tantalizing in its imagery, and anyone who picks up the book to look at the pictures will quickly be captivated by the story, following the expedition from the beginning until its conclusion.

Five Months on the Missouri River
Paddling a Dugout Canoe from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri
Winner: 2020 Writer's Digest First Place Award for Nonfiction!
Winner: 2020 National Indie Excellence Award for Best Travel Book!
Finalist: 2020 Best Book Awards for Travel Guides and Essays

11"H x 8 1/2"W. 270 pages, 700+ photos, full color throughout.
ISBN: 978-1-892784-50-6. March 2020.

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Five Months on the Missouri River: Paddling a Dugout Canoe
Five Months on the Missouri River
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