In 1853, renowned Metis hunter Pierre Bottineau was charged with the task of guiding an expedition by Captain James Fisk from Fort Abercrombie, on the Red River, to Fort Benton, on the Missouri River in Montana. The expedition experienced some adventures, including several spirited buffalo hunts led by the expert Bottineau.
During one rather exciting hunt, Bottineau was trying to impress Fisk by coursing down a rather large cow buffalo along the edge of a lake. Just as he was aiming to shoot, Bottineau's horse inadvertently stepped into a badger hole and he was thrown violently from his horse, which fell on him -- crushing him completely.
Bottineau was severely injured and was quite comatose. He was placed into the company's wagon and languished for 4 days on the verge of death. After much hope and prayer, Bottineau came out of his daze and eventually recovered. After this miracle, the company dedicated a nearby butte as "Bottineau's Butte".
Today, Bottineau's Butte is known as Pilot Knob, located northeast of present-day Valley City, North Dakota.
Kade M. Ferris, MS
(Adapted from Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Volume 2 (1908) Tribune State Printers)
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities