From Boom to Bust: The Tragic Story of America’s Ghost Towns

Bannack Montana

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Nikolay Makarov

Bannack, Montana

Founded in 1862 and named after the local Bannock Indians, it was the site of a major gold discovery and served for a while as the capital of Montana Territory and at its best, had a population of around 10,000. Extremely remote, it was connected to the rest of the world only by the Montana Trail. Unfortunately it suffered from extreme lawlessness with murder and robbery commonplace. A new sheriff, Henry Plummer, was hired to tame the mess, but he soon fell under suspicion of being a gang leader was hanged by local vigilantes. By 1870 the mining industry went into decline and the population shrunk dramatically. By the 1940s it was a ghost town.

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