By Rick and Susie Graetz
University of Montana Department of Geography 

Montana's greatest wonder: the Missouri River

(Part 5 of 5)


November 23, 2018

Rick and Susie Graetz

The Missouri River flows near its confluence with the Yellowstone.

"... by every rule of nomenclature, the Missouri being the main stream and the upper Mississippi the tributary, the name of the former should have been given precedence, and the great-river should have been called Missouri from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico."

Many people, especially Montanans, agree with this unknown author's statement. However, the Mississippi was explored first and thus designated the primary stem, leaving the Missouri to receive tributary status. Also included in the argument is whether or not the Yellowstone River, the Missouri's other major partner, should...

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