The region was a winter encampment for both Cree and Assiniboine Nations. During the fur trade era, Métis buffalo hunters had wintering cabins in the River Valley at ‘the turn’ where the fur trail from Fort Garry forged Moose Jaw Creek.
The RM’s first major permanent settlement began in 1881 when James Ross and Hector Sutherland arrived from Winnipeg to speculate on land they felt sure would be the choice of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) for a divisional point. The juncture of Moose Jaw and Thunder Creek was the best place to cross the river valley and there was abundant water supply for steam locomotives. By 1885, Moose Jaw was a major settlement. In addition to the homestead population and railway workers, there was an adjacent Sioux Village four miles south in the River Valley. These Sioux had retreated with Sitting Bull from Montana and the battle with General Custer.
In the summer of 1885, Moose Jaw was provisional home for a battalion of 390 soldiers from Halifax who were sent West by the Dominion Government to quell the Northwest Rebellion led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.
The rapid settlement after the Turn of the Century brought Moose Jaw to prominence in Western Canada and ushered in a commercial and industrial boom period. The RM of Moose Jaw was established in 1911 and became quickly known for the industry in the region and for being a prime agricultural producer with an important rail infrastructure.