Charlie Russell: Painting the Frontier

One of my favorite Charlie Russell stories comes from an essay by Rick Newby called “Bookmen of the Montana Frontier:” “Early in the twentieth century, Montana folklore has it, a Helena couple visiting Paris stumbled upon Charlie Russell in the galleries of the Louvre. Russell greeted them warmly but begged them not to mention to … Read more

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Montana Fall Roundup

  Did you know that today is the first day of fall? Of course you do. Turns out, so do the people at Montana’s official tourism regions. Back in the old days, fall meant roundups. the big ranches would bring their cattle in from their summer pasture to winter them closer to home. Today, fall … Read more

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Montana’s Missing Scots

I have been thinking a lot about the Scots. Were there Scots in Montana? If so, why did they not leave a lasting mark on the Montana identity? Why, for example, do Montana Universities offer Irish Studies, but no Scottish Studies? Turns out, this is a theme across the West. While many Scots and Scots-Irish … Read more

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Aboard the Empire Builder

  The lounge car of the train, with its arching tinted windows, chrome inlays and sturdy vinyl seats evokes a mid-century glamour. Occasionally a conductor will stroll through, stomach straining the buttons on his vest, one thumb tucked into a vest pocket, importantly checking the big round face of the watch at his wrist, calling … Read more

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Life on the Plains: The Museum of the Northern Great Plains

My favorite thing to do in fort Benton is to stroll along the levee eating ice cream from the Freeze. Unfortunately, weather doesn’t always cooperate. The weekend we went was muggy, windless and clinging on the verge of 90 degrees. On such days, the best policy is to visit one of the town’s five museums. … Read more

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