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The story of the colorful and adventurous life of Colonel William H. Norton is told. His character was forged on the battlefields of the Civil War, etched on the perilous Bozeman Trail and honed on the Montana frontier as it transitioned from its rough and tumble gold rushing days to mature statehood. Taciturn by nature, Norton’s impact on Montana’s history is derived from his deeds and not from his words. How a seventeen-year-old Civil War veteran survived the ordeal of being left afoot on the banks of the Bighorn River when the wagon train’s mules were run off by marauding Indians, tried his hands at mining and freighting and finally as a trader and city builder is recounted against a backdrop of Montana state history. Credited with playing a critical role in the in the publication of the first account of General Custer’s defeat to reach east coast readers, Norton’s rise from Illinois farm boy, to merchant, to legislator and philanthropist is a story of perseverance, courage and intelligence.