In 1864 an alternate route to the goldfields of western Montana was needed due to frequent hostile actions along the Bozeman Trail. Though the Civil War raged on, the Nation continued its westward expansion through the efforts of men like Jim Bridger. A trapper, explorer, trader, hunter, scout and guide, Jim Bridger led miners north from the area we now call Fort Caspar. From there the trail led northwesterly through the southern Big Horn Mountains, across the Big Horn Basin, crossing the Shoshone River, into Montana through what was known as Pryor Gap, and finally rejoining the Bozeman Trail. The Bridger Trail reduced the threat of hostile actions against emigrants heading north and proved an important route in the settlement of the Northwest.
The Bridger Trail crossed the Big Horn River approximately 12 miles southwest of here, near where the community of Heiber stands today. The original Bridger Trail passed very close to this location as it paralleled the Big Horn River on its way north.