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Covering the time period from 1807, when John Colter first discovered the wonders of the Yellowstone Plateau to the 1920s when tourists sped between luxury hotels in their automobiles, these tales of Wonderland come from the letters, journals, and diaries kept by early visitors and later tourists. The earliest stories recount mountain men’s awe at geysers hurling boiling water hundreds of feet into the air and their encounters with the native inhabitants of the region. The latest stories reflect the “civilizing” of the park and reveal the golden age of tourist travel in the area.
M. Mark Miller is a fifth-generation Montanan who grew up on a ranch in southwest Montana about 90 miles from Yellowstone Park. His interest in early park travel began when he was a small boy listening to his grandmother’s tales of such things as baking bread in hot springs and tossing red flannels into geysers so their next eruptions would be tinted pink. His articles on Yellowstone Park and Montana history have appeared in the Big Sky Journal and the Pioneer Museum Quarterly. Globe Pequot published his first book, Adventures in Yellowstone: Early Travelers Tell Their Tales, under its Two Dot imprint in 2009. He is working on a narrative history of the encounters between Yellowstone tourists and the Nez Perce Indians who fled through the park in 1877.