Gold was first reported in Montana in 1858, near Drummond. A few years later, word spread about a major gold strike near present-day Bannack and by 1862 thousands of prospectors where heading to the hills and stream beds of western Montana, hoping to strike it rich. Some became very wealthy, most did not.

Credit: bodnarchuk

Mining for gold is hard work.

The first prospectors to the area found the "easy" gold first, usually by panning stream beds and operating basic sluice-boxes. Mining towns begin to pop up almost overnight and as the rush for gold continued, mining operations quickly became much more sophisticated. Thousands of miles of tunnels have been excavated underneath the mountains of western Montana. You can still see the rusting hulks of massive mechanical gold dredges around Virginia City and Bannack. If you spend much time in the hills and hollers of Montana, you've likely encountered images like the one below.

Credit: Gold Rush Expeditions

American Gold: The Legend of Bear Gulch

A new gold mining reality show debuted this week on Fox Business called 'American Gold: The Legend of Bear Gulch' and I'm planning to check it out when I get a chance. It's filmed in the Tobacco Root mountains, near the quant mining town of Pony. Fox's synopsis reads,

Featuring the Dale brothers, Rick, John, Tad, Paul and Kitt, the hour-long series will follow the family as they attempt to mine 800 acres of previously worked land for gold in the wild mountain valley of Bear Gulch, Montana.

The Dale family has been involved in the mining industry for years and an interesting legend is part of the show. Supposedly, their grandfather reported stories about a hidden mine in the area that remains filled with millions of dollars of gold. I guess we'll have to tune in to see if the brothers strike it rich.

20 Montana Distilleries You Have to Visit

The Montana distillery scene is certainly taking off, and with the access to local ingredients, you can feel good about supporting these establishments all across the state. Here are 20 distilleries that are worth a visit.

LOOK: Here is the richest town in each state

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, luxury cars, and ritzy restaurants. Read on to see which town in your home state took the title of the richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows—your hometown might even be on this list.