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This small town founded in the 1870s takes its name from the Bruneau River; however, some folks claim the name came from Bruneau John, an old Indian who warned several white people of an Indian uprising and saved their lives. The opposite is true, in fact. The old Indian was named after the town.

During the town’s early years, the area’s desert-like terrain was ideal for spring animal grazing, but accessing water was an ongoing problem for local ranchers. For those who wished to make a profit at ranch living, water had to be hauled in over twenty miles to the sheep herds dwelling in the desert. The Air Force ended sheep grazing when they began using the area for aerial gunnery and bombing practice missions.

Today, interestingly enough, a tiny snail unique to the area has been classified “endangered” by the government, and residents have been placed under fairly strict orders to protect it. Think snails are cute? Not if you ask the locals. Most are not impressed by the restrictions placed on their hometown.

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