Our Family's Montana Heritage
Beginning with their pioneer arrival by wagon train in 1864, six generations of the Rich Family have called Montana home. Their first 95 years were spent in the upper Yellowstone and Missouri River Country. Then in 1958 C.B. and Helen Rich found their way to the scenic Blackfoot/Clearwater Valley of western Montana - establishing an outfitting and guest ranch operation next to the renowned Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Today their children and grandchildren carry on a forty-plus year family tradition, graciously sharing their rural country lifestyle, Montana history, and knowledge of the outdoors with friends and guests from near and far.
Hunters Hot Springs
Andrew Jackson Hunter (great-great grandfather of Jack, Peggy, and Mary Anna Rich) was a southern doctor from Virginia. In April of 1864 he left the war-torn south with his wife Susan and 3 young daughters- traveling by wagon train to Montana Territory. While in route he discovered a mineral hot springs on the Yellowstone River near the present day town of Livingston.
The family moved on - but after 3 years of practicing medicine in the ruff and tumble gold mining camps in the upper Missouri (including Virginia City, Bannack, and Helena) they returned to the springs - and built a home/boarding house - which was the first permanent white settlement in the Yellowstone Valley. Dr. Hunter and his family survived years of Indian troubles and isolation – and by the late 1870’s his health-spa (Hunter’s Hot Springs) had became the gathering place for many of the west’s famous travelers. In 1879 his daughter Lizzie married Frank Rich - a young teamster from Bozeman.
Frank Rich - Mule Team Freighting Business
Frank Rich, born in New York State, left home in 1866 at the age of 18 and traveled by wagon train with legendary guide Jim Bridger over the “Bloody Bozeman” Trail to Montana. He proceeded to put together a freighting business with long-line mule teams - and for over 20 years hauled supplies from Corrine, Utah back to Bozeman – and on to the other settlements and gold mining towns in the new Montana Territory. In the early 1900’s Frank, Lizzie and their son Clarence, with his wife Anna, homesteaded the first “Rich Ranch” – and began raising horses, cattle and grain in the Stillwater River Valley just north of Yellowstone Park.
Outfitting, Guiding, and Guest Ranching
In 1945, C.B.Rich (son of Clarence and Anna) returned home from World War II and bought the family cattle ranch. That same year – to supplement the ranch income – C.B. began guiding hunters and fishermen into the Beartooth Mountains north of Yellowstone Park. In 1958 his love of packing and guiding led he and his wife Helen to move from the Yellowstone country and into the Blackfoot/Clearwater Valley of western Montana – establishing an outfitting and guest ranch next to the spectacular Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Today, C.B. and Helen’s son Jack - along with his wife Belinda and other family members - operates the 2nd generation guest ranching and outfitting business - and they continue to share a pioneer Montana legacy and love of the out doors with friends and guests from all walks of life.