Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Mark Hebert

Wilma Plouffe talks MRWT, set to celebrate 49th wedding anniversary on 50th annual


August 28, 2019

Wilma and Gary Plouffe will celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary this Thursday, August 29th, while participating in one of the things they love the most: The Milk River Wagon Train.

When the 50th Annual Milk River Wagon Trains hits the trail in Zortman on Thursday, August 28 for their yearly, end of summer event, the Plouffes will be in tow, ready to go.

“We started going in 1976,” Wilma said. “We always had wanted to and we still didn’t have a wagon then, but we went by horse that year.”

On August 29, 1970, the couple wed and six years the duo rode horseback for their first two wagon trains before getting their hands on the steel-wheel wagon that her grandfather, Miles D. Henry, homesteaded with in 1916. That old steel-wheel wagon kept the Plouffes on the trail for many years before purchasing a bigger wagon from Dodson’s Art Warren in the mid-1980s and then restoring it before taking it on many more trips.

“It was a bigger wagon and allowed Gary to upgrade his team (of horses),” Wilma said. “We have only missed three wagon trains since then, the last three, but we are going on the 50th because it is important to honor those who aren’t with us anymore, Craig Mangis especially because he was a very good friend of Gary’s. But we also want to honor all those people from the past and keep this tradition going.”

Though the Plouffes no longer use great-grandpa Henry’s old steel-wheel wagon, it will still join the 50th Annual wagon train as the couple’s son, Bill, will be driving a team with his wife, Delci and children Josiah, 6, Hadassah, almost 4, and Jozee, 21, will be in tow.

Wilma said having everyone around and tradition are what makes the Milk River Wagon train so special.

“It is just the family-time and the tradition that I enjoy the most,” Wilma said. “It really lets you appreciate what our forefathers did for us when they came to this country.”

The 50th Annual Milk River Wagon Train hits the trail starting on Wednesday, August 28 to begin the six-day trek from Zortman to Malta and crossing nearly 50 miles in the process.

This year’s Wagon Boss is John Hasler (406-390-0930) and Trail Boss is Les Gray (406- 945-7098) and you can direct questions to those two or MRWT Secretary Tasha Hines at 406-654-7157 or via email at [email protected]


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