The area also holds a prominent place in the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In the 1870s Mounties were dispatched from eastern Canada in an attempt to bring order to the area and put an end to the whiskey trade with the Indians. White traders, mostly from the Fort Benton area, were doing a brisk business trading whiskey with the Blackfeet. Eventually successful the Mounties were at first woefully unprepared and somewhat ignorant of the challenges before them. One account tells a harrowing tale of the troops being hopelessly lost and near death in the country north of West Butte. Knowing Fort Benton was somewhere to the south, two were dispatched in a desperate attempt to get help. Ironically the very traders the troops were sent to end the whiskey trade, sent supply wagons north and the party was rescued.
Not long after the whiskey trading days, gold was discovered in the vicinity of Middle Butte. The town of Gold Butte quickly sprang up and boomed for a time. Eventually the town was abandoned, cattlemen bulldozed the buildings and all that remains today is a cemetery and scattered mining debris.
The public land is primarily BLM, and a few scattered State sections; the BLM land is managed as a Special Recreation Use Area.