People & Place

  • Get To Know A County: Beaverhead

    By Bryan Spellman
    One of Montana’s nine original counties, Beaverhead is the state’s largest county in area. Excepting minor boundary changes with neighboring Madison County, Beaverhead is the same size and shape as when it was first created.
  • Dorothy M. Johnson's Recycled Cinema

    By Sue Hart
    In the 1940s and early ‘50s, a double feature always included at least one Western, usually depicting Hollywood’s version of what Johnson claimed as her West—the frontier on which she set the majority of her stories.
  • Montana's Mutilation Mystery

    By Sherman Cahill
    Along with Washington D.C.’s famous summer of the saucer sightings in 1952 and Point Pleasant, West Virginia’s hallucinatory year spent in the shadow of Mothman in 1966-1967, whatever really happened in Montana during its sustained ”flap“ constitutes one of the strangest episodes in the history of America’s long, intimate dance with the just-plain weird.
  • Old Red and 27 Seasons of Calving

    By Holly Matkin    
    Her body’s muscling and fat cover rival those of cows one-fifth her age, but the reality of time is less hidden in the telltale angles and shadows of her fa
  • A Coward's Guide to the Scariest Ways to Die In Montana

    By Joseph Shelton
    They say freezing to death can be quite pleasant once delirium starts to set in. That is, pleasant enough at least when stacked up against nastier alternatives. We’re talking the real doozies. And since Montanans need little impetus to brag about the peculiarities of our state, the editorial staff of Distinctly Montana have prepared a very short list of the absolute worst ways to die here.
  • Beautiful Montana Roads for All Seasons

    By Todd Klassy, Photos by the Author
    These are some of my most favorite drives in Montana, regardless of the season. But I think they can be appreciated even more so in the colder months of the year. So, grab your Thermos of hot cocoa, an extra warm blanket or two, and your best winter tires. Let’s go for a drive.
  • Montana's Snowmobile Clubs

    By Lacey Middlestead
    With over 4,000 miles of groomed trails, Montana is a true snowmobilers' paradise. Every winter these trails deliver sledders to the sweeping mountain-meadow playgrounds, deep untouched backcountry, rugged ridgelines, and frozen alpine lakes they seek their thrills from.
  • Get to Know a County: Mineral County

    By Bryan Spellman
    On August 7th, 1914, the Montana Legislature created Mineral County, taking the western end of Missoula County and placing the seat at Superior.
  • For the Love Of... Chinook Horses

    The great American writer Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, proved he knew horses nearly as well as whales when he said, "No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses." That comprehension shows itself in remarkable ways—horses will sidle up close, nuzzle you, even lovingly nip at you.
  • From Cowboys to the Cold War:

    By Joseph Shelton
    But while the Cold War never escalated beyond proxy wars and nuclear proliferation, it did change Montana, and the landscape of the West, forever. As author Ian Frazier writes, the nuclear missile silo has become "one of the quintessential Great Plains objects," along with the American bison, the prairie dog, and the outhouse.
  • Duct Tape and Barbed Wire: The Story of Dave Brown

    By Hallie Zolynski, with photos by the author
    At first glance, he wouldn't make for a Fred Astaire, but he's better than a lot of men half his age, and he likes to show it. He says the old ladies he dances with have knee issues, and can't twirl because if you spin them around they get dizzy.
  • Digging Montana's Yogo Sapphires

    By Hallie Zolynski
    Jewish traditions hold that the Ten Commandments were engraved on sapphire tablets. Some may be legend or myth, but there’s no denying that sapphires have an air of mystery and magic, not unlike Montana. 
  • Boomtown Saint

    By Christopher Muhlenfeld
    One could be forgiven for thinking that a city so drenched in decadence wouldn't have hosted one of North America's earliest saints. Yet in the midst of this hedonism and chaos, an Orthodox Christian priest named Sebastian Dabovich played a significant role in Butte, and the fruits of his labors have endured for generations.
  • Montana on The Move!

    By Rob Rath
    Historically, agriculture has always been Montana's foremost economic engine from jobs to exports. Because of the Great Depression and World War II, only 30% of working farms used gas-powered equipment into the 1940s, while the rest still relied on horses to work in the fields.
  • Leo J. Cremer: the Rodeo King of Montana's Historic Cremer Ranch

    By Todd Klassy
    The Cremer Ranch served as headquarters for his traveling rodeo, which he called "Leo J. Cremer's World Championship Rodeo Company." Though it was a working ranch that raised livestock, the Cremer Ranch also raised the best string of bucking horses in the entire state of Montana. Perhaps the world. 
  • Butte, Montana: J. Edgar Hoover's FBI Siberia

    By Sherman Cahill
    In the end, Shaw had his gun and badge taken away. But the worst insult was yet to come: Hoover transferred Shaw to Butte, Montana—as close to Siberia as he could muster. 
  • When UFOs First Came to Great Falls

    By Nick Mitchell
    He whipped the camera into place, sighted the craft through the viewfinder, and began shooting. He managed to follow them as they passed behind a water tower, losing sight of them after they went behind the tower and into the blue sky to the southeast. He produced about 16 seconds of footage.
  • How Bobby Became a Legend

    By Sherman Cahill
    Bobby's leg broke, and for the first time, but certainly not the last time, Bobby was lucky to be alive. Unrepentant, perversely obstinant in the way that only Butte can be, Bobby bought another bike as soon as he could and took to racing the police around the town, popping wheelies and raising hell.
  • Get To Know a County: Carbon County

    By Bryan Spellman, with Photos by the Author
    Carbon County has sixty-six listings on the National Register of Historic Places, including eleven in Red Lodge. The county courthouse and the former Carbon County Hospital and Sanitorium are both part of the Red Lodge Historic Commercial District.