A born storyteller, Ballie and artist Charlie Russell naturally became close friends, with the two sharing their love and memories of their days on the open range before the West was fully civilized. Both of them mentioned each other in tales...
With the creation of Montana Territory in 1864, all land east of Bozeman Pass was called Big Horn County. So few settlers lived in this vast area that the entire eastern part of the state fell under Gallatin County's jurisdiction.
As you approach it, the shape becomes houses. Lots of them. A couple of water towers join the skyline. It looks like you’re coming up on a little Montana town, out here in almost-no-man’s-land. And it is a town, or rather, was.
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.
Names were given to ways of life that would have seemed fantastic at the dawn of the previous century: hobos, tramps, yeggs or yaggmen, bums, bindlestiffs, gentlemen of the road, knights of the tie and rail.
They seemed oddly out-of-place in the landscape, as if they had been dumped out of the sky and onto the forest floor below. Their rusty color contrasted with the drab gray of the boulders lying outside the perimeter of the pile.
A popular theory is it’s the measurements of a grave,” Evalyn Johnson, author and archivist at the Thompson-Hickman County Library in Virginia City, said. “But no one knows for sure,” local writer Angela Mueller added.
From the Aztecs to the Innuit, sweat lodges were and are employed for their curative, therapeutic, and spiritual effects. And here in Montana, which enjoys a privileged relationship with its old ways, the traditional sweat lodge is vividly alive.
A dozen passengers were aboard Gilmer, Salisbury & Company’s stagecoach as the six horses trotted leisurely up a long, wooded hill. Just as the road emerged from the timber a large gentleman with an enormous gun arose from the brush and ordered the driver to “hold up, sir!”
There was a market for their tongues in the trendy restaurants of the East, selling for $8 - $9 for a dozen. And "buffalo hump" was also a Christmas tradition for many in the West - an 1846 holiday feast at Fort Edmonton served "boiled buffalo hump," "boiled buffalo calf," and "whitefish browned in buffalo marrow."
These so-called "patent medicines" thrived during the frontier era. Part of the reason is that the tent shows, presided over by colorful and theatric charlatans, were as much entertainment as medicine.
Every state has their unsolved murders, of which they are justifiably proud (or is it ashamed?), and Montana is no different. Here, then, are six of Montana’s most enigmatic cases. May they send a wintry chill down your spine, and make you glad of your hot cocoa.
While some of Montana’s Indian veterans have been individually honored, the contributions of many others remain unrecognized. The Warrior Spirit Project Consortium, created in 2019, aims to change that.
The name Montana conjures up cowboys herding cattle on the open prairie, and gunfighters hiding out in canyons to hide from rope-swinging vigilantes. But does Montana summon images of the lone sheepherder tending his flock and enduring days of solitude, bitter cold and the intense summer heat?