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Winnett, a county seat, was named for Walter John Winnett, who was born in the Crytal Palace—now Queen's Hotel—in Toronto. Winnett ran away from home as a boy, seeking adventure in "Indian country." His excellent marksmanship abilities helped him get jobs with outfits who were always looking for someone who could keep them in fresh meat. When he was captured by Sioux Indians and later adopted into the tribe, he was given the name Eagle Eyes because of his remarkable shooting skills.

Winnett established a ranch in Montana Territory in 1879 near an active trading post and the Hangman's Tree used by vigilantes in the area. The massive ranch house, which he built in 1900 housed his own family and served as a gathering place for the community. Dances, weddings, funerals, church services, and school were all held here. Billings was the closest town, so Winnett built up a freight line business to haul supplies. Each of his outfits consisted of ten to twenty horses and huge wagons. In 1910 he built a store and petitioned for a post office—and with that, Winnett became an official town. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)

You'll find fishing opportunities southeast of Winnett at Petrolia Reservoir or southwest of town at Yellow Water Reservoir. Access to Crooked Creek Recreation Area and fort Peck Lake can be found nearby from Montana Highway 200. See also the James Kipp Recreation Area and War Horse National Wildlife Refuge.

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