7 Montana Towns That Never Existed!

Heaven Only Knows
  • Glacier, Montana - Heaven Only Knows (1947)

In this not-quite-classic Western comedy/family film, a heavenly mistake results in a man named Duke being born without a soul. Where he was to be a pious preacher who made a difference in people's lives, he became a saloon owner instead—in the little fictional mining town of Glacier, Montana. The archangel Michael goes to correct his mistake, but has to shirk his immortal powers to do it. In the end, Michael is almost lynched, Duke is redeemed after shooting the villain, and Michael takes a stagecoach to heaven, accompanied by the soul of a child who died in town. The New York Times generously said that "On the whole 'Heaven Only Knows' is tolerable entertainment." Yet it is interesting to note that the heel of the piece is an outlaw named Plummer, not unlike our own corrupt sheriff of yore.

Screenshot from "Far Cry 5"
Screenshot from "Far Cry 5"
  • Hope County - "Far Cry 5" 

Not a film or novel but a video game, the fifth entry in Ubisoft's long-running open-world action game franchise took place in a fictional county explicitly based on southwest Montana. The player is able to spray bullets, fly attack helicopters and otherwise maraud over a more or less photorealistic microcosm of Montana. Consequently, the game allows one to splatter fictionalized versions of such real Treasure State locations as Stoney's Kwik Stop in Greenough, the Lutheran church in Melville, and even Flathead Lake Brewing Company with great gouts of blood. You can also hunt and fish, approach bison too close, and other simulations of Montana activities. The game manages to be oddly beautiful in its quieter moments, before ending with a nuclear apocalypse.

Red Harvest
  • Personville/"Poisonville" - Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammet

Although clearly based on Butte down to fairly specific geographic details, the great noir writer Dashiell Hammett covered his bases by mentioning Butte as a nearby city. Since he had spent time in Butte himself while in the service of the Pinkertons, he may have had some urge to use poetic license in his depiction of a Butte-like setting; by the end of the novel, dozens of bodies have piled up in the Mining City. The novel's protagonist, a detective himself in the service of a Pinkerton-like agency pointedly not named the Pinkertons, really doesn't mind stepping over those bodies. The book is one of the great hardboiled crime novels, preceding Hammett's better-known The Maltese Falcon and helping to establish the genre. Later adapted as both Akira Kurosawa's samurai epic Yojimbo and as the perhaps justly forgotten Bruce Willis vehicle Last Man Standing.

  • Langville - Ghostbusters (2016)

You may love it, hate it, or have already forgotten that it exists, but the all-girl remake of the 1984 classic has left at least one indelible mark on pop culture in the form of a throwaway line about mysterious goings on in a rural Montana town: "The entire town of Langville, Montana [went] missing." Ever since, the number of mentions of and searches for Langville, Montana on the internet have only grown. In the manner of web lore, it has since acquired new layers, such as the idea that town didn't just disappear, but that its residents were "turned inside out." While some erroneously claim there really was a Langville, the story of a disappearing town is a well-known piece of late 20th-century American urban legend. See also Doveland, Wisconsin and Ashley, Kansas.

  • Green Hills - Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Rural sheriff Tom Wasachowski of Green Hills, Montana is shocked, in the very popular Sonic the Hedgehog films, to find that an electric blue alien hedgehog has moved into a cave outside of his town. The creature can run so fast that it sets off an EMP charge, drawing the attention of a scenery-chewing villain named Dr. Robotnik. Did any of you readers of a certain age ever, while playing the original Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog game, imagine that its first level, entitled "Green Hills Zone," took place in Montana? Probably not. Too many palm trees and loop-de-loops. Incidentally, hedgehogs are not native to North America, and though they've been introduced to New Zealand through travel, they've never made a foothold in the Rocky Mountain West.

Best of the West
  • Copper Creek - "Best of the West" (1981 - 1982)

In the early eighties, ABC surveyed the televisual landscape and tried to cast the bones. What, in the era of Post-It notes, Princess Di, and DeLoreans, would Americans want to watch on TV? Finally, their augury completed, they decided it was a Western sitcom set in the Wild West town of Copper Creek, and populated by a fitfully amusing cast of oddballs. With Joel Higgins as a Civil War veteran turned unlikely U.S. Marshall, who must contend with the likes of the Calico Kid, played by guest star Christopher Lloyd. During the year in which it graced the airwaves, "Best of the West" would see supporting turns by Andy Griffith, Slim Pickens, and the late great Betty White. Unfortunately, the show's pilot was pre-empted on the West Coast for a special Thursday night football game between the Dolphins and the Steelers, and it struggled to find its footing thereafter. The show, and indeed the town of Copper Creek, disappeared from the airwaves in August of 1982. If you try hard enough you can still watch two of the episodes on YouTube as of the time of this writing, and hear the tinny laugh track for yourself.

Open Range
  • Harmonville - Open Range (2003)

A pre-Yellowstone Kevin Costner returned to the Western with Open Range, directing and starring in the story of a former gunslinger turned old-fashioned cowboy who has to take up his violent ways again when the town of Harmonville, and his way of life, are threatened by a megalomaniacal English cattle baron. At first, Harmonville is a stand-in for every Western town you've ever seen, the occupants all noble if sometimes hapless townsfolk, beautiful spinsters who might just redeem our hero, and black-hatted villains ripe for a lead slug or two. But, like Brigadoon or Twin Peaks, Harmonville is also a town where magical, impossible things can happen without anyone seeming to notice, like when Costner fires his six-shooter 16 times without reloading, and no one declares it a miracle.


7 Montana Towns that Never Existed

Leave a Comment Here

joe (not verified) , Mon, 09/18/2023 - 07:57
I always wanted one of Kevin's 16 shooter.
Molly Petersen (not verified) , Fri, 03/29/2024 - 07:53
That Ghostbusters installment wasn’t “all-girl.” They were women.
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