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Deer Lodge, Helena, Butte, and Missoula were the most significant Chinese marketplaces during the late 19th century. Ceramics, dried and pickled foodstuffs, clothing, opium and related paraphernalia, and countless other sundries were imported and carried by Chinese markets in Montana. Chinese miners in German Gulch, for instance, imported a variety of exotic goods and food discovered by archaeologists including dates, sheepshead and flounder fish, soy sauce, opium, and ceramic tableware.
Supplying traditional goods to immigrants made Chinese merchants extremely wealthy during the 19th and 20th centuries, allowing many shopkeepers to make several journeys home to their families in China. Chinese immigrants in Montana relied heavily on imported goods, but also made due with locally available Euro-American replacements. The Chinese preference for their own goods is well-known among historians and archaeologists, though the exact reason seems unclear. The most likely explanation is that traditional goods provided some comfort by reminding the Chinese of their original homeland and the family and friends they have left behind to make their fortune in the United States.