People & Place

  • 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.
  • Get To Know Big Horn County

    By Bryan Spellman
    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.
  • Charlie Chaplin’s Butte, America

    By Joseph Shelton
    Chaplin’s autobiography lingers on a particular stop along his tour, an American city which, even from the distance of a half a century on and a continent away, he was able to recall vividly: Butte, Montana.
  • Miles City: Friendliest Town in the West

    By Donnie Sexton
    MC is a welcome break from the long stretch of I-94 that runs across southeastern Montana. It’s an ideal jumping off spot for a quick bite, filling the tank, stretching the legs or perhaps spending the night in one of the chain hotels. But to understand the heart of the city and why it’s sometimes referred to as the “cow capital of the world,” give yourself the gift of time to explore Miles City. This is best done by heading over to Main Street and checking out what makes the city tick.
  • Race for the Capital

    By Lindsay Tran
    Daly spent about $2.5 million on the Anaconda campaign, while Clark spent $500,000 on his own campaign for Helena. Helena won the second referendum, helped out by 40% of the Butte vote and overwhelming support from eastern Montana.
  • Get To Know Wheatland County

    By Bryan Spellman
    It should surprise no one that a county named Wheatland has agriculture as its primary industry. Fully one-quarter of county workers are involved in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, according to the most recent statistics, and that applies to both males and females.
  • Dishing Up Community At Montana's Diners

    By Michael Ober
    Over in Glendive, GiGi’s Café makes the list. So does Shellie's Country Café in Helena, open 24 hours. Jordan has its Summit Corral. Even tiny Lima, Montana has Jan’s Café. And though there is not a tree anywhere nearby, Denton boasts its Shade Tree Café.
  • The Day Jack Dempsey Cheated Shelby

    By Sherman Cahill
    If Dempsey had it made, then Shelby, Montana was on the make. The little Hi-Line railroad town had been on the map since the late 19th century, but had fallen on hard times when homesteading in the region went bust. But in 1921, oil was discovered north of Shelby. Within months, the town filled with oil field workers, geologists, and drillers.
  • The Petrified Man of Livingston Goes East

    By Nick Mitchell
    So, amid the larger profusion of oddities like two-headed animals, conjoined piglets, Fiji mermaids, ancient Viking runestones found buried in midwestern fields, bearded ladies, pickled punks, "savages", and other bizarre traveling attractions, there emerged a very specific and surprisingly popular variety: the petrified man. 
  • Get To Know Chouteau County

    By Bryan Spellman, with Photos By the Author
    Of special note is the Chouteau County Court House.  Built in 1883, to replace the original court house destroyed by fire that year, today the building is the second oldest court house still serving that function in the state of Montana.
  • Remembering John Quigley's Frontier Town

    By Joseph Shelton
    When someone ordered a whiskey ditch at the bar, the "ditch" part was almost literal: the water was collected from a small spring running through the scene in between small trees (cut from the very tops of junipers and then treated with glycerine and formaldehyde).
  • 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.