Terry (population 611), the county seat of Prairie County, is located in southeastern Montana near the Yellowstone and Powder Rivers. Prior to white settlement, the area was a hunting ground for the Crow, Cheyenne, and Sioux Indians. In 1806, Lewis and Clark traveled near what is today Terry as they traveled on the Yellowstone River.
During the mid- to late-19th century, Terry grew from a steamboat landing to become the largest livestock shipping point in the northwest. Ranching was the major industry in the area, and wool was a major export. The town was named after General Alfred H. Terry, commander in charge of the U.S. Army expedition against the Sioux Indians that led to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Late 19th-century life in Terry and the surrounding area was chronicled by photographer Evelyn Jephson Cameron. Her work was unknown until 1978 when her photographs were discovered in a basement in Terry. Annual Lady Cameron Heritage Celebrations are now a major heritage tourism event, and, in 2005, a PBS documentary on Cameron premiered at the celebration.
Historic buildings in Terry include the 1915 State Bank of Terry building, which now houses the Prairie County Museum, and the Powder River Depot, a state monument. The historic Grandey School (1906) remains in use, and the Evelyn J. Cameron Foundation has partnered with students to create a digital inventory of Cameron’s photographs. Terry has also worked to preserve the Old Milwaukee Bridge, a one-lane bridge restored by volunteers for continued automobile use.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2006.