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5 Fun Facts About December 2 In Montana History

---Learn Every Day: MT Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history mt To: 618-270-4005---

1. On December 2, 1864, the Battle of the Washita River took place in southeastern Montana, during which a detachment of the United States Army under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer attacked a village of Cheyenne Indians. The battle resulted in the deaths of dozens of Cheyenne, including women and children, and became a controversial event in American history.

2. In 1911, Montana became the first state in the United States to elect a woman to Congress, when Jeannette Rankin was elected to represent the state's At-large congressional district. Rankin would later become a prominent peace activist and the only member of Congress to vote against both World War I and World War II.

3. On December 2, 1929, the first film ever made in Montana, titled "The Big Trail," premiered in Billings. The film, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring John Wayne, was a critical and commercial failure upon its initial release, but is now considered a significant piece of American cinema.

4. In 1954, the first official ski area in Montana, Big Mountain (now known as Whitefish Mountain Resort), opened for business near Whitefish. The resort has since become one of the premier winter sports destinations in the Western United States.

5. On December 2, 1996, Montana governor Marc Racicot announced that Montana had become the first state in the country to completely eliminate its backlog of DNA evidence collected in criminal investigations. This achievement helped pave the way for the widespread use of DNA evidence in law enforcement, and has since been replicated in other states around the country.
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