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Survivors return to Mann Gulch after tragic day

In late July of 1978, while Norman MacLean was doing research for his book "Young Men and Fire," he organized a trip to Mann Gulch with Bob Sallee and Walter Rumsey, the only remaining survivors of the Mann Gulch fire at the time. It was to be the first time the survivors would revisit the scene of the tragedy.

When they arrived to the Gates of the Mountains Marina to take a boat to the gulch, Bob Tubbs, manager of the marina, recognized the men and phoned the Great Falls Tribune. The newspaper staff couldn't send anyone so they asked Tubbs to photograph the visit. These are two of the images, unearthed from the Montana Historical Society archives, from that day.

According to John Tubbs, son of Bob Tubbs, he and Mike Bullock bribed the men with beer and soda to let them photograph the trip.

Thom Bridge can be reached at


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