The year is 1874, and the southwestern corner of Alberta is quickly becoming a hotbed of lawlessness as the Blackfoot, Blood, and Piegan Indians do business with American whiskey traders at a location aptly nicknamed “Fort Whoop-Up.”

Ironically, at that same time a well-educated Scot by the name of James Alexander Farquharson Macleod was hard at work trying to bring order to the area. The Dominion of Canada had signed its confederation in 1867, and its government was keen on settling the still-wild North West Territories. Shortly thereafter Macleod, a North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Assistant Commander, led two contingents to establish the fi rst permanent police post in western Canada. From this post, built on an island on the Old Man River west of Fort Whoop-Up, Macleod and his men opened the Canadian west to settlers, signed historic treaties with the established Indian tribes, and, later, welcomed 4,000 men into the area to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Today the area is rife with Canadian history, including Fort Macleod and the First Nations Interpretive Centre museum, all lying in the shadow of the majestic Canadian

Rocky Mountains.

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WHILE YOU’RE IN ALBERTA: Southwest of Fort Macleod is the town of Cardston, the

beginning of Alberta’s Cowboy Trail. Officially known as Highway 22, this 435 mile-long

historic trail tracks northward along the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

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