At the close of the war he was appointed by President Johnson secretary of Montana Territory, and there, in the absence of the territorial governor, he acted as governor from September 1866 until his death from accidental drowning in the Missouri River near Fort Benton, Montana, on the 1st of July 1867.
To the west of this stream and almost parallel with it is the James or Dakota river, which rises in North Dakota and follows a general course southward until it joins the Missouri river near Yankton.
Political interest in the Territorial period centred mainly in a fight for the capital, waged between the towns of the Missouri river front, Bellevue, Brownville, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Omaha and Florence, those of the North Platte interior, and of the South Platte.
First St Louis, and then other towns on the Missouri river in succession westward, as they were settled and became available as depots, served as the outfit points for the Indian trade up the Missouri and the trade with Mexico through Santa Fe.
But William C. Quantrell, after sacking various small Kansas towns along the Missouri river (1862-63), in August 1863 took Lawrence (q.v.) and put it mercilessly to fire and sword - the most ghastly episode in border history.
East of the Missouri river this region is covered with glacial drift, and is noticeably different from the more level lands of the lower plains.
This included, roughly speaking, all of the land between the Missouri River and the Black Hills and between the White River and the Big Cheyenne and a strip extending north from the Black Hills to the North Dakota line between the 102nd and 103rd meridians.
West of the Missouri river the drift gives place to a fine soil of sand aid clay, with deposits of alluvium in the vicinity of streams. Though lacking in vegetable mould, these soils are generally capable of producing good crops where the water-supply is sufficient.
The portion of South Dakota east of the Missouri river is dotted with numerous lakes, ranging from small ponds to bodies of water from Io to 15 m.
As far north as the gorge of the Missouri river in Montana, the Front range, facing the Great Plains, is a rather simple uplift, usually formed by upturning the flanking strata, less often by a fracture.