James W. Schultz was an author, explorer, hunting guide, trapper, trading post operator, and historian of Indian lore. He was born to a wealthy New York family, and his future was to include military school and then West Point. At the end of his junior year, Schultz set off a cannon during graduation and was asked not to return. His military “career” was over! He left home at 17 years of age to live with his uncle in St. Louis and learn the hotel business.
Schultz was fascinated by the people he met and stories of the wild west, so he wrote a letter to his mother asking for $500 to go on a buffalo hunt, promising to return to New York at the end of summer. His mother did indeed send him the $500 for his adventure, but Schultz did not return. James boarded a steamboat and traveled 2,000 miles before arriving at Ft. Benton Montana Territory in 1877. It was there he began his love of trading with the Pikuni Blackfeet Indians. He visited their villages, learned their language, and hunted bison and other game with them. He was 19 years old when he married his first wife, a fifteen-year- old Blackfeet maiden, Natahki.
Schultz loved exploring the wilderness that eventually became Glacier National Park. George Bird Grinnell, the founder of Glacier National Park was a good friend of Schultz. Together they explored the entire area, naming many of the landmarks known today. Years later, Schultz took his journals and wrote 37 books along with many articles and stories that were published in magazines. Most were about his life with the Blackfeet Indians.
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