People & Place

  • Butte Will Rise Again!

    By Sherman Cahill
    You already know the story: thousands of immigrants, arriving at Ellis Island, carrying signs bearing the name of their intended destination. They read, not "Butte, Montana," but "Butte, America." Because Montana, one of the biggest states in the Union, was too small to contain the legend of the Mining City. 
  • Warrior Spirit: Celebrating Native American Veterans

    By Ellen Baumler
    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.
  • 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.
  • The Beartooth Highway: Then and Now

    By Holly Matkin
    At nearly 11,000 feet, the sprawling alpine tundra at the height of the Beartooth Pass has been referred to by many as the “Top of the World.” What better way to experience the harrowing thrill of driving one of the highest-elevation roadways in the United States than from the back of a motorcycle?
  • The Rowdy History of Miles City's Bucking Horse Sale

    By Renee Carlson, with photos by Todd Klassy
    Pristine horses led to the creation of the World Famous Bucking Horse Sale, a weeklong “apocalyptic extravaganza of horsemanship” which includes a kick-off concert, mutton busting, trade shows, fast-talking auctioneers, multiple street dances and much more.
  • Get To Know Powder River County

    By Bryan Spellman
    With the exception of 1970, Powder River County has lost population every decade since 1930, when 3,909 folk lived in the county. That count placed it at number 46 in the state, but somehow the county ended up with 9 on its license plates. 
  • The Tradition of Spring Branding Lives On

    By Todd Klassy
    Hugely popular television shows and movies have made cowboy culture popular again, but branding is more than just a passing fancy found in Hollywood scripts. In Montana, it is tradition.
  • The Bison Hunters

    By Joseph Shelton
    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." 
  • Through the eyes of Native American Women Warriors

    By Maria Munro-Schuster
    All around were reminders of her Crow Reservation upbringing: sheep and wells, tall dry grasses, houses not that different from her own. “It helped me identify with the place,” she recalled, “...even on the Rez you have to be careful.”
  • The Sacred Tradition of the Sweat Lodge

    By Joseph Shelton
    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.
  • Yellowstone Brokers Presents: Behind the Scenes of Montana Dreams

    As a freelance photographer and cinematographer, Jimmy Michaels has traveled worldwide working on documentaries for The History Channel, Discovery, HGTV, and MeatEater. Then he met Jackie Wickens and Trecie Wheat Hughes of Yellowstone Brokers on the set of their HGTV show Mountain Mamas. 
  • A Scratching Post for Bobcats

    By John Phillips
    Forgive me if this is indelicate, but brown trout are carnivorous. Brown trout eat other brown trout. Also mice. Also anything that wiggles, including fish being retrieved by an Orvis rod. Little freshwater sharks is what they are.
  • 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 Daniels County

    By Bryan Spellman
    On August 30, 1920, the Montana Legislature took the western part of Sheridan County and the northeastern portion of Valley County to create Daniels County. Named for local rancher Mansfield Daniels, the County covers 1,426 square miles, almost all that land.